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Decluttering Before a House Move

Moving house can be one of the most stressful times of our lives – or so we’re led to believe. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you add prep and organisation to the equation, you really will see the stress levels go down and be pleasantly surprised by how in control you feel.

To help, we’ve asked professional organiser, declutterer and author of Start with Your Sock Draw Vicky Silverthorn for some tips to make you feel at ease.

Make a Moving Folder

As soon as you know you’re going to move you need to start your moving folder. One main folder, stored in one place with neatly labeled sections within it.

Use headings like:

  • Mortgage paperwork/ Rental paperwork
  • Moving schedule (great to store on your computer as it may change)
  • Addresses to change
  • Contact details
  • Dates to remember

The main schedule will help you feel total clarity as to what is happening and when. Keep this folder in a memorable place within your home, somewhere where you’ll be able to get to easily.

Make a rough schedule – alongside each and every date leading up to your move, list what is happening or needs to happen that day. This keeps your head clear and organised – there is always more to do than you think! Your moving folder will be your ‘go-to’ for your entire move. 

Declutter Your Belongings

What an opportunity to declutter!

You don’t want to pay a removals service to move items you won’t need or use anyway. It’s a waste of money.

  • Work day by day doing little and often as soon as you know you are moving. You can’t get everything done right away, but keep calm and only start a job you can finish that day. Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting too big a job.
  • Put time aside in advance and stick to the schedule to get through. It’s essential.
  • Remember new home means new layout, one that’ll be much different to your current home – so think about what’s going to fit. What will no longer work?
  • Don’t forget the loft and garage – if you are tight on time, work on these areas bit by bit.
  • Trust your gut feeling when deciding what you want to keep and what you don’t. Can you live without it? Have you used it lately? Is it still essential to your life?
  • Constantly keep that image in your mind of a beautifully organised, clutter-free new home!

Declutter Your Furniture

People often to forget to declutter their actual furniture as well as what is stored in or on it. If there are any larger items to go or pieces of furniture you no longer want then pre- arrange collection/disposal/resale and add to your schedule.

Have a good look in your new property – what is going to work and what will be made redundant? If you have the time, you could even start browsing new and replacement pieces.

How to Pack

Because the layout of your new home will differ from the old, your belongings will end up living in different locations. Bearing this in mind:

  • Pack ornaments and decorative photographs from all over your home together – they may not fit in the same rooms as before. These are the enjoyable finishing touches you’ll add at the end of the move.
  • Put neat labels on boxes rather than scrawling in marker pen. Keep consistent in where you label each box, so it’s easy to see and refer to. For example, in the top right-hand side of every box label the ROOM the box is going to and list the CONTENTS beneath it.
  • If you have people helping you unload, put corresponding signs on each door in your new home so there are no mistakes.


Start early with making your list of companies who send you things in the post. You will find over a month or so you keep adding to it with companies which may not be immediately obvious! When the move comes, you’ll need to let all of them know.

Time Off

If you think you need two days off work to move in, take off four. People underestimate how long it takes to unpack properly and many of my clients who unpack in a rush find it affects them for a long time to come. Be realistic – if you unpack in a rush only to ‘do it properly later’ will later ever come?

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