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How to de-clutter before moving house

By George Hadgelias

A common mistake people make when moving house is failing to declutter before they relocate.

Moving home is time consuming and it often seems easier to cart a box of useless items to your new house than it would be to sit down and take the time to sort it out. The problem with this mentality is that it perpetuates a cycle of hoarding. Moving house is the perfect to time to declutter and minimalise your life.

Here’s a list of the things you need to ditch before you move house.

1. Multiple items

If you’re cleaning up your home and you realise you own four identical cocktail shakers, ditch the excess. It can feel wasteful to get rid of things that are in good condition but if you never use them, or you’re unable to use more than one of the item at the same time, you need to cut down. Be ruthless. You don’t need five identical cake tins.

2. Anything you haven’t used in a year

If you can’t remember the last time you used an item, it shouldn’t come to the next house with you. This includes things like baking trays, kitchen appliances, bathroom gadgets and sporting equipment. If you haven’t used something in over a year, chances are you never will.

3. Anything you haven’t worn in a year

The year-long rule applies to clothing as well. If you’ve gone through an entire cycle of seasons and not worn an item in your cupboard, you should donate it to charity. It may seem harsh, but, if you’ve managed to get through both warm and cool weather for an entire year without needing an item, it’s unlikely you’ll need it the following year. Get rid of it so it won’t add to the clutter at your new residence.

4. Non-functional furniture

If you have any random tables or chairs that have just been taking up room in a corner of your house, now is the time to sell or give them away. This applies to empty cupboards, sets of drawers with nothing in them and coat racks you never use.

5. Expired pantry items

When packing up your kitchen, it’s important to make sure that you’re only packing edible food. Check all of your packet pantry items, sauces, cans and bottles and throw away anything that is expired or past its best before date. There’s no point packing food items that you’re just going to throw away at the other end.

6. Out of date bathroom items

Make sure you carefully check all bathroom items before you pack them and throw away anything that’s past its used-by date.

Most cosmetics and bathroom items will have a symbol on the packaging that looks like a jar with an open lid. The symbol will have a number on it followed by an ‘m’. So if it says 12m that means it’s okay to use for 12 months after you’ve open it.

Tip: If you can’t remember when you opened a product and you don’t use it regularly, you should throw it away.

7. Redundant paper work

According to the Australian Taxation Department, you should keep the last seven years of your payment slips, bank statements and tax return documents.

The rest can go, but, if you’re too nervous to do that, you can electronically scan them and keep them as digital copies instead. You’re unlikely to need a folder full of payment slips from a job you had ten years ago.

8. Out of date magazines and newspapers

Magazines and newspapers tend to breed so it’s important to take any opportunity you can to have a decent clear out. Get rid of anything that’s over a month old and anything you’ve already read. If there’s an article you want to keep, scan it or take a photo of it on your smartphone, as magazines and newspapers can take up a lot of physical space.

9. Anything that is broken

If there are any items in your home that have been broken for longer than six months, it’s time to throw them away. If you haven’t taken the time to get them fixed in the last few months, you need to get them fixed immediately, or get rid of them.

10. Your mending pile

The same rule applies to your mending pile. If you’ve had a basket full of clothes that need mending that have been in your laundry for years, donate them to charity. If the items were essential, you would have mended them before now.

11. DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes and video tapes

If you no longer have a VCR, tape deck, CD player or DVD player, then you have no need for video tapes, cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs. If you have any important memories or occasions recorded, have a back up made of the recording and have it stored digitally on an external hard drive. You can do this with your movies and music that are stored on discs as well so you don’t need to store bookshelves full of entertainment that you never use.

12. Spent kitchenware

If you have a cupboard full of plastic containers that are unusable or baking trays that are beyond cleaning, now is the perfect time to throw them away. Ditch anything you no longer use or anything that has worn out from years of use as well as any appliances that no longer work.

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