Tips on De-cluttering & Packing for a move

Less than two weeks until I drive to Austin, TX. It’ll be the first long journey road trip I’m taking in the U.S. where I’m moving all my belongings in a car. At first glance around my room, I said confidently I’d be able to fit everything into my car with space to spare. Little did I predict, as I’ve given furniture away, I realized I have way more stuff than I need- or want.

Thankfully, as I’ve finished up my thesis and school (just waiting for my official Master diploma now!), I’ve had more time to go through my room. If you’ve been in this situation before, you know how hard it is to get started. If you haven’t, you’ll probably end up in this situation at some point in your life. If you have some time and simply want to de-clutter, this post is also for you! Here are some tips on how to get started.

5 Tips on De-cluttering & Packing for a move 

  1. Narrow down the major category of things you need
    Start by slotting the things in your room into categories. What do you have? These categories include, clothes, books, documents, electronics, shoes, etc. Once you can visualize sections of your room into various categories- it is easier to sit down and clean out one category of things at a time.


  2. Clean out your wardrobe not once, not twice, but three times.
    This idea came from the brilliant ted talk on The Ten-item Wardrobe. How much of your clothes do you really wear on a regular basis? I surely find myself wearing the same two pair of jeans, the same 5 shirts, with maybe a variation here and there on special occasions. By no means do you need to narrow everything down to ten items but clearing some out is better than none.

    Start by going through drawers one at a time. With any clothes you find yourself saying “wow I forgot I had this!”- put that in the donate pile. More likely than not, you haven’t worn that piece of clothing in the last 6 months, which means you really don’t need it or want to wear it that often.

    Most importantly, once you’ve gone through it once. Go back to your normal routine and forget about it for a few days, then go back and go through the process all over again. There might be some clothes you wanted to keep a few days ago that you realized you don’t feel that keen about. Go through this process multiple times and you’ll find yourself impressed with how little you need!


  3. Get Rid of Furnitures Early

    As I’ve said above, once I got rid of my furnitures- I noticed I really have more belongings than I thought I did. Furnitures including dresser and cabinets are a really easy way to hide all the stuff we own. Once they’re gone, everything is on the floor! And there’s only so much floor space for everything when you can’t pile them on top of each other.


  4. Move things you’ve decided to donate/sell out of your room

    While you’re cleaning and clearing things out, you want to have an organized and clean space to serve as motivation that you’re making a change. Move the garbage bags of clothes to donate out of your room, or the space you’re trying to clear. The less physical clutter you’re surrounded by, the more you’ll feel good about wanting to clear everything out. It’ll also give you more motivation to actually donate the clothes!


  5. Pride yourself of the fact that you can fit everything you own in one car!

    In today’s society, we tend to pride ourselves of having MORE stuff. We constantly want more. Companies are always having sales to tempt us that having more is COOL. But what if we stop priding ourselves of having more stuff, but start priding ourselves of having less? Imagine the freedom when you can say to a friend, guess what? I have everything I own in my car. They’re going to think its impossible, but you’re going to prove to them IT IS POSSIBLE!


These five tips are only a few of the many ways you can start to clean out your belongings. If you get a chance, check out the ted talk on A Rich Life with Less Stuff | The Minimalists. I still have a ways to go to fully organize all my belongings, but I am incredibly excited to put everything in my car and start my trip!

What are your experiences with moving and packing? Any tips for fellow movers?

2 thoughts on “Tips on De-cluttering & Packing for a move

  1. twomenpc says:

    Great ideas here, Joanne! We have moved people from state to state before and it’s crucial to go through the belongings and donate/sell before the actual move. We also recommend taking furniture apart. It decreases damages during the move and saves space in a moving truck.And if you are moving yourself, you will know exactly if that item can fit in your car or if it’s best to leave it behind.

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