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Moving - Do it The Right Way: Step 3 Purge Before You Pack

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

You know what time it is! Part 3 of our guide Moving - Do it The Right Way is here! If you've been following along, you already understand the importance of getting a head start and space planning before your move - if not, I got you, catch up here.

So, what's next? Now, that you have a layout for your new space it is time to prepare for the packing phase of your move. Regardless of whether you’ll be hiring professionals to assist with packing or going the DIY route some preparation is still involve. Before filling up those boxes, it is very important that you purge your belongings. Identify personal and household items, including furniture that you are no longer using or loving.

What Does it Mean "to Purge"?

Think of purging as a more intense version of decluttering. To purge is to clear out, get rid of, eliminate, or remove anything unnecessary. As you’re preparing to pack it is easy to become overwhelmed. Remind yourself of your intentions to relocate with organization and ease. The best way to purge is systematically. It is best to establish a set of criteria. Keep it simple and focus on 3 major categories- Pack, Purge, or Discard. If you don’t use or love something anymore, then why keep it? Odds are you won't suddenly be inspired to start using it in your new space. Grab a box or two and a garbage bag before you start to work. Items that are unusable should be discarded in a responsible manner. Later, you will decide if the quality items that you no longer want should be sold or donated.

So, let's get into why and how you can purge before you pack.


Why You Should Purge Before You Pack

There are a variety of benefits to purging and decluttering. While it may be difficult to get rid of long-held items at first, you'll reap the satisfaction of it later. Instead of allowing the task of maintaining your possessions to fluster you, now is the time to establish boundaries and a healthier relationship with your belongings .

You Save Money

One of the biggest benefits of decluttering and purging before your move is that it saves you money. We all work hard for our money and relocating can be expensive in its own right, don't add to that expense by paying for the transportation of items and furniture that you don't really want or need.

This is especially true if you’re moving to a different state or a different country. The charges associated with long distance moves are often based off of the weight or volume of items that are being moved.

Plus, you can actually make money by selling some of your items that are in good condition. Or, if you decide to donate them, you can claim the value on your tax returns.

You Save Time

Our time and energy is precious. Though, relocating in itself will take time and effort, you will expend even more if pack up everything without sorting through it first. Even if you have family, friends, or hired help, purging through your items will save you time in the long run.

Imagine not having to unpack or store unwanted items once you arrive in your new home. You will be able to focus more on the organization & function of each space rather than simply storing items.

You Get More Space

Ridding yourself of clutter will help to ensure you are use each space in your new home in the best possible manner. You’ll find that your relationship with your space will improve, and you may realize that you don’t need more space, having less stuff will do the trick just as well. The goal is to keep an adequate amount of what you need and love, while leaving space for what may come.

You Get Ease of Mind

If your space is overcrowded it's unlikely that you'll feel settled in and fully enjoy spending time at home. The physical condition of your home environment can make you feel better or worse. In fact, a clean and organized home is linked to increased productivity and improved mental health.

Pro Tip: Relocating is the perfect opportunity for a renewed approach. Why move into a new home in a new phase of life but bring old, bad habits? Use your move as a facilitator to help you intentionally create and maintain organizational habits.


How to Purge Before You Pack

Ready to jump into it? Here at The Modern Steward, we have developed a system we've named the 4 Ds to help make the process of purging your items and preparing to move easier.


Involve family members. The burden of decluttering a whole house can be don't try to do it all on your own. Each member of the family can be responsible for sorting through the items in their personal spaces while the whole family can work together to tackle larger, common areas like the garage or attic. Delegating the work among the entire family will help to reduce stress.


Start decluttering by removing the no brainers items that you know you will not want or use in your new home. What can help you to decide? I always advise my clients to take the time to envision their life in their new home, what furniture, items, or other décor do they see? Once they've visualized how they want their new space to look and function, it helps them figure out what is essential...what really belongs, then we can begin the process of removing unwanted items.

Discard & Donate

Once you've identified the items that you don't want to keep, you have to choose what to do with them. If your items are in good condition and can be used by someone else, look into local centers that are in need of donations. We recommend calling ahead to make sure that they are accepting the items you are trying to donate. As for old and damaged items, we discard responsibly. That means recycling when possible and researching materials that may need to be discarded in a specific manner. We offer discard and donate services to help make this process as easy for you as possible.

Pro Tip: There's a right and a wrong way to approach decluttering - in terms of ecological footprint. We encourage all to discard and donate responsibly so we've provided some tips for how to donate and discard sustainably.


Areas To Begin Your Purge

You can approach the purge in a variety of ways. I always advise to start small but in advance, don't attempt to declutter your whole home at once because it will leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. We are all about being efficient and attaining quick wins. Here are some clutter zones that we've helped our clients to declutter and where we've seen the most substantial amount of progress.

Paper Clutter

Have you ever hired professional movers? From my experience I've learned that they pack everything...and I mean everything. So that junk drawer that you have in your kitchen - you know that one with old mail and takeout menus - well all of that is going to be packed up and sent to your new home if you don't sort through it beforehand.


Many of us own so many clothes that we never actually wear. Now is the time to sell, discard, or donate it. A tip that can help you decide what you should keep is to consider the weather and climate of where you are going to live. For example, here is PA we experience all the seasons but when a friend of mine decided to move to Florida, she donated her coats, boots, and other heavy winter items since she knew she wouldn't need them anymore.


Furniture is not only the heaviest of our items to move, but also the bulkiest. That makes furniture a pain to move and to fit in the moving truck. Be selective with which furniture items you actually want to bring to your new home. Ask yourself: "Will I use it? Will it fit in my new space?"


Most home come with some of the larger appliances included, but if yours doesn't, decide if it would be better to replace some of your appliances once you arrive at your new home or if it is worth it to transport what you currently have. As for smaller appliances, if you haven't used it in over 6 months, you probably don't need it.


If you have children, it can be hard to help them appreciate the need to declutter their toys. But help them understand that toys have a lifespan. Perhaps, let them pick a select number of their favorite toys to keep but then sort through the rest.

Pro Tip: Need more help preparing for your upcoming move? If you're ready to 'Move the Modern Way', download our FREE 8-week moving checklist.

This is part three of a guide that I'm confident will ease the stress of your relocation experience. If have any questions or if you're ready to hire a professional organizer to help you during your upcoming move, feel free to contact me and stay tuned for the next part.


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