Toss or Keep: Tips for Deciding What to Bring to Your Big Move

Everyone who has ever moved from one place to another knows just how stressful it can be. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving five minutes away or 5,000 miles away—any type of move will always come with emotional baggage and logistical nightmares. If you are someone who has a hard time letting go of old possessions and you don’t quite know what to toss and what to keep, here are some key tips for deciding what you need to bring with you on your big move. 

Toss: Used and old

If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us have belongings in the home that stopped being useful back when Friends had its final episode. Perhaps moving to a different town or home is the best time to finally let go of these things. If the item is trash, think of it as trash. If they are still recyclable or you think they can find a new home, then do so. Here is a list of old and used items that can still be donated:

  • Pieces of clothing that no longer fit
  • Pairs of shoes that you wore once and put in storage after
  • Expired makeup can be donated to funeral homes (if your local funeral homes don’t accept them, then expired makeup needs to be tossed out no matter what)

On the other hand, here is a list of items that need to go into the garbage even if they still look new:

  • Posters you used to hang on your walls when you were in high school and college; especially if they are inexpensive and already old and torn (check first if they have value, though; they might be some form of memorabilia)
  • Shower curtains (you may be tempted to keep or donate these, but you don’t know what kind of mold or bacteria are being harbored in them; just get new ones once you’ve moved)
  • Non-essential files and paperwork (make sure to shred these, especially if they contain sensitive information about you and your family)
  • Expired food and condiments
  • Expired drugs and medications
  • Worn towels and sheets
  • Stray cords, especially those with exposed wires
  • Tax returns, but be sure to keep a digital record of everything first (these need to be shredded too)
  • Instruction manuals
  • Old receipts and bills (make sure to digitize as well)
  • Outdated electronics like VHS players, even if you want to keep them for the nostalgia factor.

Keep: Broken but repairable

On the other hand, there are items in your home that you shouldn’t be so quick to give up on, not only for your wallet but also for the environment. Here is a list of items you can still keep:

  • Appliances that are broken but can still be restored; consult with your local appliance or vacuum repair expert if there’s still hope for your broken unit
  • Anything that would be too expensive to buy again, like a refrigerator or an air conditioning (AC) unit
  • Any item in the home that’s worth the space that it will take up; like additional storage containers
  • Practical items that are too expensive to buy again but can still be restored like it was new

Toss: Items that accumulate or you have too much of

There are items in our homes that we don’t recognize that keep accumulating over the years. These are the items you can consider cutting in half. Here are some of them:

  • Dishes
  • Miscellaneous electronics, wires, and chargers
  • Cookware
  • Cups, flutes, glasses, mugs, and others
  • Mismatched or stained containers
  • Everything that’s in your junk drawer
  • Old towels, especially those with holes and discoloration
  • Any kind of tool you’ve never used and don’t see yourself using
  • Little knick-knacks
  • Water bottles
  • Old office supplies
  • Extra sets of sheets—you can just donate them
  • Comforters and blankets you haven’t used in years
  • Bags and extra luggage
  • Old books, especially those you can no longer sell and don’t see yourself reading
  • Items in the back of your closet, like old magazines, holiday decorations that you don’t use even when the holiday comes up

Keep: Items with a certain level of value 

And when we say value, we don’t just mean financially. It can also be anything that has sentimental value, like photo albums and family heirlooms. Other items that might hold value are old coins and bills. Instead of getting rid of these items, consider how you can store them better or more efficiently. Find creative ways to incorporate more storage in your new place without compromising aesthetics.

Life is so much more than our possessions. Keep what’s of true value, and don’t be afraid to toss those you no longer have use for.

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