A Step-By-Step Guide To Clearing Your House Before Your Big Move

By  //  July 28, 2020

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This
Life can be a challenge, and change is here to stay. The best mindset to have is that life is an adventure. Moving house is one such thing. It can occur for several reasons: Perhaps the house is too small for the number of children living there. Someone may be moving away because of work.

Life can be a challenge, and change is here to stay. The best mindset to have is that life is an adventure. Moving house is one such thing. It can occur for several reasons: Perhaps the house is too small for the number of children living there. Someone may be moving away because of work.

A dream house or nicer area may be the goal. One may be moving to a town with better schools. There may have been a change in circumstances following the loss of a job, or a relationship breakdown or bereavement. 

Whatever the cause, moving house can be quite an undertaking. It’s a case of gathering up all one’s worldly possessions and arranging to transport them to a new location. This can feel like an overwhelming task when there is so much to do. 

This article is here to guide and assist, so the process can become structured, organized, and even fun. 

Start as early as possible

It’s a huge mistake to leave everything to the last minute. This is even more so if there are young children involved. The whole process is probably going to take longer than expected, and it might be a surprise how much stuff there is to sort and take.

There will no doubt be lots of things to do as the legal process transpires. This will include completing documents and communicating with the estate agents, lawyers, and new buyers. Alongside this, one should create a home moving list.

This should be an inventory of each room. Check them one by one, and write down what is to be kept and what is to be disposed of – and how. Do the same for any items in the garden, greenhouse, or garage. 

It’s also important to create a moving timetable. One could set deadlines for sorting a room at a time. Days off work could be considered.

It might be best to choose days when any children are either at school or with friends. Hopefully, there are people close by who can take them off one’s hands while the house is being sorted. 

Obtain storage boxes

Many people have spare boxes and suitcases they can put things in. They may also be able to get some free ones from local grocery stores and the like. These are unlikely to be strong enough for everything, however. It was helpful to learn from the people at The Gaylord Box Exchange that professional box suppliers often help with moving them as well as selling them.

A house mover will likely need varying sized boxes to meet their needs. The boxes’ strength also has to be considered. Some companies sell previously used ones to help reduce costs for their customers.

They may even buy them back after they have been used. Breakable items will need particular care, such as glasses, plates, and vases. Bubble wrap or the newspaper can help reduce how much the packed items will move in transit. 

Another thing to be aware of is the weight for lifting. It may be logical and convenient to put all one’s books into one box, but the result can be enough to put anyone’s back out. It’s important to think of oneself and any friends or professionals who will be transporting things. 

Sorting the junk

It is strongly advisable to go through one room at a time, putting things in boxes and labeling them. There is some tension here, as the earlier one does this, the more likely there may be of needing something that’s already been packed. The other thing to do is to police the boxes.

It’s not helpful if children or adults keep ‘temporarily’ removing items and not returning them. When it comes to throwing away junk, it’s very important to first check with the owner! They may place more value on the item than you do! 

If children are involved in this stage of the process, they may feel more part of the whole journey. They might be excited if told ‘We need to throw this away because it’s old, but don’t worry: I’ll buy you a new one at the next home!’

This can help children look forward to the new location and be more willing to cope with the disruption and preparation time that is needed. 

Move or lose?

As we have discussed, we often discover we own more things than we realized. It’s particularly crucial to sort through junk when downsizing to a smaller home.

That’s because there will be less room to store things. Someone may have an old fridge that still works ok, so they plan to move it with them. It may still be worth thinking about getting rid of it, however. New ones are more effective and therefore result in lower electricity bills. 

It’s worth checking costs with the removal firm, as sometimes it is cheaper to get rid of something and buy a new one than to transport it. Some new homes include certain items as fridges, cookers, and cupboards within their inventory. It’s therefore important not to duplicate things.

A good question to ask when looking at stuff is ‘when did I last wear this?’ or ‘what was the last time I got this out of the attic?’ Clothes unused for over six months or attic items unused for two years should contend for possible disposal.

This is a good time to look at the food in the fridge and freezer. Also, check out any tinned food that has never been used – and never will be. The tins may even be rusty. Old spice bottles may be well out of date too, alongside other cooking or cleaning products. 

Finding a good new home for things

No doubt, some broken or old items will only be good for landfills. Such items as fabrics, carpets, magazines, or electronic goods can be recycled, however. It’s important to always think of the environment. Children can outgrow toys and clothes at great speed.

Parents often exchange each others’ items because of this and save money. It may be that some friends will be delighted to take some stuff off your hands. If one has a yard sale, children are often excited to be involved – particularly if they can have some of the money! It’s another way of making children feel part of the journey. 

Charity shops are always asking for things, and many collect large items like mattresses and furniture for free. It’s great when things can go to a good cause rather than be taken to a rubbish tip. 

These days paper books are less essential to own or keep. Ebooks can be bought, stored, and read on phones, tablets, laptops, and computers, saving space in the home.

They are also cheaper in most cases. It’s also easier than ever to sell things online, through such channels as eBay or Craigslist. The extra money may come in handy for the house move. 

Sentimental items

If everything we own is sat in a removal van, it’s quite telling as to what is essential and what isn’t. Almost everything can be replaced, except sentimental items such as photos. If a large item means a lot even though it is of little use, it may be worth taking a photo for posterity and then finding a new home for it.

Many people keep some of their kids’ stuff for their future grandchildren. This can be a good idea provided there’s not too much, and if there is plenty of storage space at the new home. 

A box for key paperwork

This is very important. This could relate to the house move and key guarantees and documents. It may be a good time to get rid of out of date guarantees and paperwork.

How about binning those ‘how to use’ manuals on things that have long since gone? Old bank statements could be disposed of as well.

It’s important to seriously consider shredding any sensitive personal and financial information. Old tax documents can also be disposed of, but one must be aware that the authorities sometimes ask for old documents and information. 

A journey and an arrivals box

The new home may be literally around the corner, or it may be in another state or country. As everything gets boxed up, less becomes available to use.

If the journey will be a long one, it may be worth having some sort of bag to contain traveling items. This could be stuff for an overnight stay if the journey is being broken up into segments.

If children are involved, they will need access to items to keep them happy during the journey. A book or electronic device may keep them content whilst the parent is driving.

An arrivals box is a great idea. On entering the new home, there will be so many boxes, it may be days or even weeks before they are all opened. It’s crucial to have the essential items in a clearly labeled box. This could include medication, documents, and so on. 


If there is a lot of stuff to be moved and it takes up a lot of space, it may be worth putting some of it into temporary storage. This could be near the old or the new home. Valuable space can then be freed up and it’ll be easier to sort the remaining things and get the house clean.

This will have a price tag on it, but it may be worth the option. A free alternative could be to put some boxes in a friend’s house or garage. Needless to say, it must be all put together so that none of it is forgotten on a moving day. 

Cleaning the house

One reason for saying at the beginning that the whole process should be started as soon as possible is that the moving day is not just about getting everything out. The home and garden need to be clean and tidy too. On the day of moving, the garden and garage should be empty.

The house should be clear of items and rubbish as well. If things are left behind for instance in the loft or attic, the new occupants can take legal action. It can be a very stressful and tiring day when one moves everything out. The need to then clean the house becomes an added burden and energy drain.

The fact is, a journey lies ahead, and then the unpacking task begins at the new location. When going through each room and packing at the preliminary stages, it’s wise to clean each room at that time. On the day of the move, there may still be cardboard and items to clean up.

Any carpets may have taken a hit with everyone coming and going. If friends and family can help on the day, this will help ease the burden. If one can afford it, professional cleaners could be employed. They could step in once everything has been removed. That way you can focus on the journey and the new house.

One reason for saying at the beginning that the whole process should be started as soon as possible is that the moving day is not just about getting everything out. The home and garden need to be clean and tidy too. On the day of moving, the garden and garage should be empty.

As we have seen, there are a host of different things to think about when preparing to move house. A checklist and timetable should be drawn up to create some sort of structure to the process.

Valuable and sentimental items can be packed, and rubbish clearance should be performed. Unwanted items can be donated to friends or charities.

Some items could be recycled, or sold online or in a yard sale. One should go through each room one at a time. Everything should be packed in a suitable container.

There should be a bag or box for the journey and an essential items box for arrival at the new destination. The home should be left clear, clean, and tidy.

The benefits are that one doesn’t have to do everything at the last minute. Things will feel more under control, and there will be more space for anything unexpected.

Unwanted items will have been responsibly disposed of, with many finding a good home. Everything that has been packed well should survive the journey. 

In the new home, there will be less duplication and maximum space. The whole process will have become fun, with the prospects of unpacking and buying new things to look forward to.

All the planning and preparation will have paid off, to help create this exciting new chapter. 


Leave a Comment