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Moving from one house to another, or from state to another, can be a blend of excitement and anticipation merged with a healthy side of upset and worry.
Even if the move is for positive reasons (relationship change, a better job, or escape to warmer temps), it can also be one of the most stressful and overwhelming times in a person’s life.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to take months to prepare for a move to a new community, state or country, but those who do will also have the opportunity to be intentional about which possessions will be making the trip with them.
The rule of thumb is to begin your planning-to-move-project six weeks before the actual day.
But if you are adding in the element of some hardcore decluttering, it would be best to start the process a good 90 days in advance if possible.
Declutter Whatever Isn’t Serving a Purpose Anymore
If the thought of reducing your worldly possessions makes you shudder in your shoes, look at it this way; moving forces you to make final decisions on items that aren’t serving a purpose anymore.
These are the items in your home that are broken or damaged, something you don’t like, extras that you have been hanging on to “just in case,” or things you feel guilty about getting rid of.
Keep Only What Sparks Joy
Organizing guru and best-selling author, Marie Kondo sums up the declutter process in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by encouraging readers to focus on keeping only the items that truly “spark joy,” and get rid of anything else.
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” –Marie Kondo
In this book, Kondo recommends a very thorough decluttering of everything in your home and what better time to do that than when the deadline of a move is very soon.
We all know of stories of friends and relatives who moved the same five mystery boxes during multiple lifetimes moves only to discover the contents had zero value when finally opened.
Imagine knowing that every single item that is voyaging with you to your new destination is one that has a purpose, is a necessity, or just makes your heart sing.
Sounds pretty appealing, right?
Don’t Let Guilt Make You Hang On
The reality is that guilt is what prevents us from getting rid of many things we don’t need.
From long-ago vacation mementos to gifts from a relative that we secretly loathe, but feel too weird about getting rid of, it’s far easier to shove these things back into a drawer or closet instead of dealing with them.
Moving or relocating is the perfect opportunity to see those items for what they are and “bless and release” them to be passed on to someone else who may have a use for them.
Declutter By Item Type, NOT Room By Room
In Kondo’s book, she instructs readers organize by type/category of item and do it in a purposeful order as opposed to decluttering room by room.
The first step is to declutter all clothes, then books, then paper, then miscellaneous items and finally mementos and keepsakes.
The things that no longer have a purpose can be sold, donated or thrown away.
The result is not only sweet simplicity but a healthy way to reduce the amount of “stuff” that needs to be moved.
And the side benefit is that we all know that packing can be pretty dull and tedious. But by de-cluttering and doing some mindful purging adds a satisfying element of freedom to the packing process because you not only know there will be less stuff to relocate, that same excess “stuff” will no longer weigh you down as it has in the past.
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Moving away from the familiarity and comfort of a cherished home can be stressful for both adults and children.
Children take cues from adults when it comes to coping with new life changes, so if mom and dad remain upbeat and positive, they will be as well.
By taking the time to organize, identify and simplify what is making the journey with you as a family is a valuable lesson in understanding that stuff is just “stuff,” and the idea of experiences over possessions is an empowering and eye-opening lesson for adults and kids alike.