Decluttering before your big house move

Whether you’re a student moving flats for the umpteenth time, an expanding family shifting to a bigger abode, or a couple downsizing from the family home to your smaller retirement haven, you should probably consider some decluttering and junk removal before settling into your new Auckland castle.

Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, particularly for children. Not only are you faced with packing up all of your belongings (and perhaps your children’s too), you’re usually faced with time and space constraints that impact what you choose to pack and what you’re obliged to leave for rubbish collection or otherwise.

Before you pack up your things it’s worth considering what should be kept, sold, donated, or thrown away. Relegating your belongings to these four piles (before you make the effort to pack it all up and find at the other end there isn’t any room in your new space) is really the best way to eliminate some of that moving stress.

But how do you decide what goes where?

Keep – deciding what’s junk and what’s not

Even those of us with impeccable housekeeping skills manage to accumulate junk and clutter, so working out a way to sort your belongings pre-move is the first step to curating a decluttered home, or preparing your property for sale.

Many decluttering experts believe that physical clutter in your home is symptomatic of clutter in your brain and they generally agree that phase one to any clutter clear out is the walk around.

Do a walk through of your home to assess where you regularly walk and spend time – take a moment to consider what parts of your home are tricky to navigate or slow you down due to there being one too many things on the shelf or resting in the hallway. If it gets in your way, do you really need it? Consider whether there’s room for these items in your new home, and whether you really want to continue juggling all those pots and pans about to get to the lovely big soup pot at the bottom of the kitchen cupboard.

Whether you consider yourself a minimalist or a maximalist when it comes to home décor, each of us has our own definition of clutter. But ultimately, this comes down to whether or not you deem something useful to you.


Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/herbrm/4602630300/

Sell your unwanted items

If you’ve held on to it for this long and not found a use for it then chances are it fits the profile for junk. But if you think it could be worth an easy dollar then it can’t hurt putting it up on Trademe or your local community Facebook page to see if someone else can’t find a need for it. Afterall, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Donate clothing, furniture and household goods

We tend to think of donating to a cause when it’s front page news. But New Zealand charities are constantly seeking donations of clothing, furniture, and other household goods. The Salvation Army accept donated goods at many of their stores, whilst others like Women’s Refuge welcome donations of clothing and domestic items to their local branches.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ambernectar/4738645422/

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ambernectar/4738645422/

Throw it out

If it’s broken beyond repair, plays VHS, has an irreplaceable charger, or hasn’t been used in over a decade then we’d bet it’s time to throw it away.


Those important documents from the job you had when you were 21 that you’ve been saving ‘just in case’? Scan them and throw away the paper copy.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/443918201/

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/443918201/

Sentimental Items

That pile of crayon drawings and finger paintings your 30-something year old son did as a child aren’t really too vital to your wellbeing. It’s OK to let them go! Be ruthless and keep your absolute favourites – you could even frame them, take scans or photos of them.

Old Clothing and Accessories

If you’re thinking of donating that stretched out 1995 high school leaver’s jersey to charity think again. It’s well documented that people recovering from natural disasters don’t want tired second-hand clothing, that and it turns out that not all our donated clothing is actually going to needy recipients.

Books and Magazines

Anyone who has ever run a book drive will know that some books just can’t be shifted – not even if they’re offered up free of charge. And as for last year’s women’s magazines, unless you have a few doctors’ waiting rooms at your disposal they’re best sent elsewhere.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/canonsnapper/1414486102/

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/canonsnapper/1414486102/

Appliances and Tools

Rusty bicycles, cracked helmets, broken table legs, and your childhood VCR aren’t going to come in handy anytime soon – for you or anyone else. Move them along! And the paint from your 1980s kitchen refurbishment can probably go too, along with the spare section of the benchtop you were holding on to just in case you needed it.

Junk sorted – now what?

Shifting house is a stressful business, we have checklists full of things to do before the big move: turning off the utilities, changing insurance, packing, storage, transport, and the dreaded cleaning.

It’s even harder to clean when the moving truck is yet to come and there’s piles of stuff everywhere. Hiring a skip bin just creates more clutter and more liaising with contractors to manage drop off, collection, and payment.

So how can you making moving house easier?

Rubbish and recycling removal

The hardest part about decluttering is the end of the process – junk removal.

It’s hard to lift, awkward to move, too much for a carload, need to borrow a car with a tow bar, too far to the dump, another week til rubbish or recycling collection day… the list of excuses often gets bigger and bigger. So big that you are feeling so exasperated you just decide to pack up all that clutter and deal with it at the other end. But that just makes the job bigger and more expensive.

You’ve made the big step to sort your clutter now let Junk2Go collect your rubbish right from your doorstep. We charge for collection by volume, so if you haven’t quite managed to clear out the truck load full of stuff you’d anticipated, we won’t sting you with costly base rates.Junk and clutter free wardrobe organisation with hangers and baskets

Further Reading