One of the best things about the home moving process is that you get the unique chance to declutter your current house or apartment by going through your things, one by one, and getting rid of anything you don’t intend to use in the future. A good opportunity to purge your home may not come again soon, so use the upcoming house move to pare down your possessions.
Before the beginning of the packing job, you should decide what to keep and what to get rid of when moving across country. And to be able to do just that, you should first understand why you are not supposed to move all the items you own at the moment.
It’s time to answer the WHY, HOW, and WHAT questions when deciding what to keep when moving to a new home, regardless of the move distance.
Why you should NOT move every single item you own
If you happen to be thinking that you will actually save valuable time by skipping the sorting process and packing up all the items found in your current home, then you should know upfront that that approach is considered to be a serious moving mistake.
In reality, failure to sort out your things prior to packing them for a move will increase the final relocation bill and will cause you to lose extra time when packing, as well as lose space when unpacking in the new home.
- Money. The more items you choose to keep with you when moving, the higher the transportation costs will be due to the increased overall shipment weight.
- Time. Yes, the task of sorting out your stuff will take time, but that time will be nothing compared to the hours and hours of wasted time when packing up things you should have left behind in the first place.
- Space. Will your new place have enough space for all the household items you plan to move there? Unless you’re moving to a bigger home, keep in mind that space management is something you will have to deal with as soon as you start unpacking.
- Money. Money again? Yes, this time it’s about the missed opportunity to pocket much-needed cash from the sale of no longer needed items.
Good to know: Why hire professional movers
What things NOT to keep when moving
In the next section, we will give you more info about what to keep when you move home – anything that you regard as important, essential, useful, expensive and valuable. But now, let’s focus on a little different decluttering approach and tell you more about what things not to keep with you when moving to another home.
Why? Guess what: once you eliminate the things that are not worth moving with you, you will be left with all the stuff that you just have to take to the new home.
- Broken items. Things break with time, and if there’s no way to repair a broken item, then toss it. What’s the point of packing up and moving a toaster that doesn’t even work?
- Worn out items. Don’t bother moving worn out clothes, shoes, and furniture only to wonder what to do with them after the move.
- Clothes and shoes that don’t fit. Don’t just throw them away if they are still in good condition because they will fit somebody else.
- Duplicate items. It’s useful to have spare bed sheets and bath towels, of course, but storing an excessive amount of items that serve the same purpose will only inflate your relocation bill.
- Books you have read. Some books are worth keeping for a lifetime, others are not. Use the upcoming house move to reassess your personal book collection.
- Items you never use. Anything you haven’t used in years is not really worth the transportation costs – even the most useful things become useless when not used over time.
- Non-allowable items. Some items are deemed too dangerous or too perishable to move to another part of the country, so they are forbidden for transport. Refer to the general list of non-allowables.
See also: How to get rid of stuff when moving home
What things to keep when moving
The above list should help you decide what to keep when moving by eliminating all the things you shouldn’t keep during the house move. Now, let’s turn our attention to all the items you shouldn’t part with during that rather transitional period in your life.
- Important documents. Important personal documents should always stay with you during a house move. You surely don’t want to give such essential pieces of documentation to the movers because anything can happen on the road, and the only person you can really trust is you. Besides, some of those documents you may need during the move itself. So, make sure passports, driver’s licenses, medical records, certificates, bank documents, insurance policies, etc. stay with you at all time. How to organize documents when moving house
- Essential items. You shouldn’t forget to prepare an essentials box that will contain items of absolute necessity for the road trip and the first day(s) at the new home. This emergency box, or boxes for that matter, should stay with you during the entire relocation. Some of the vital things in there should be prescribed medications, basic kitchen utensils, a change of clothes for each family member, toiletries, basic hand tools, kids’ items, pets’ items, etc. What to pack in an open-first box
- Electronics. Most electronic devices are rather expensive, so the last thing you’d want is to see any of them damaged during the move. It’s always a good idea to keep the smaller (portable) electronic gadgets with you: cell phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, portable DVD players, portable game consoles, etc. Of course, you’ll probably need to trust the bigger and heavier pieces of electronics such as TVs, stereos, DVD/Blu-ray players and large game consoles to your movers, but not before you consider purchasing adequate moving insurance. How to pack electronics when moving
- Jewelry. Jewelry pieces and other valuables should stay with you no matter what – they are expensive and usually have high sentimental value. The good news is that jewelry pieces are relatively small and can be transported easily provided that you know the best way to pack jewelry for moving. How to pack jewelry for a move
- Family heirlooms. Remember that movers have no business handling and transporting family heirlooms unless those priceless items are too bulky to transport on your own (a grandfather clock, for example). Again, trust nobody but yourself when moving irreplaceable items to a new home. How to pack valuables when moving home
- Antiques. Various antiques also fall into the category of items with high sentimental value. Again, consider keeping smaller antiques with you while leaving heavy and bulky ones (antique furniture) to top-rated furniture movers. How to move antique furniture
- Artwork and collector’s items. You won’t have a hard time deciding what to keep when moving when it comes to pieces of artwork and collectibles simply because those are the types of possessions you just must move to the new home. However, you may need to consult professional packers in regard to using the best way to pack framed artwork for moving.
- Items you will use. Ultimately, your decision about what to keep and what to throw away when moving should be based on this simple question: do you intend to use that item or items in the foreseeable future? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to haul things between homes just to store them away for years to come.
It’s simple, really: keep it if you’ll use it, get rid of it if you won’t use it.
Read also: Should I hire professional packers?