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The First Step When Moving? Declutter!

A wide selection of hats clutters a room, on all shelves and surfaces, obviously not adhering to minimalism.

TLC Moving

TLC Moving

Tips for Downsizing and Decluttering Your Home before Moving in Ottawa

As one of the most stressful ordeals, your local movers offer the number one BEST tip for simplifying your move: declutter!

If you follow a few minimalism basics before you move, you will be more organized, have less stuff to move, and be less stressed overall.

So to make moving tolerable, follow these tips for how to declutter and embrace minimalism before moving in Ottawa.

Start Well In Advance

The best way to declutter a home is to start well in advance of your moving date—ideally, at least two to three months before you move. This will help reduce the stress involved with moving. And once you’ve decluttered your home and packed your items as you go, moving will be a breeze.

Even if you don’t have a moving date yet, it’s never too early to start decluttering. If you plan to move sometime next spring or summer, why not start the process now?

Also, the earlier you put non-essential items up for sale, the more likely you’ll sell these items before you move.

Be Methodical in Your Minimalism

The best ways to declutter your life for moving are to:

Make a Plan

Make a list of all the rooms you need to declutter in your home. And don’t forget to include the garage and shed. Use this list as a guide. Tackle one room at a time. And cross the room off the list once it is completely decluttered.

Start Small

Start decluttering by going through small, unsentimental items, like extra containers, toiletries, and items you don’t ever use. Going through the small stuff first makes for a fast and easy purge without thinking twice about whether or not you want to keep something.

Tackle What You Can When You Can

Don’t overdo it and risk burning out. Pace yourself, take breaks, and clean as you go. Cleaning items to sell or to keep will save you time later. And once all the rooms are decluttered, it will be easier to clean your home.

Get Labels and Categorize Your Items

Designate an area of your home as the declutter zone. This is where you’ll place all items that are going out for donation, sale, or garbage.

When sorting through items, organize them in separate piles—“keep,” “donate,” and “trash.” Make sure whatever you throw out goes into the right bin—e.g. recycling bins and garbage bins.

And most importantly, don’t forget to label boxes or garbage bags when you pack them.

Tips to Help You Decide Whether To Keep Items

It can be hard to let go of certain belongings. So follow these tips on letting go.

Be Ruthless

If you don’t love it or use it, then lose it. Being ruthless is the best way to declutter efficiently so you can actually get rid of things that only take up space.


You only need a set number of linens, dishes, and clothing. So consider donating the extras. For linens, you only need one extra set per bed in your home. And for dishes, you only really need one place setting for each person in your household.

As for clothing, only keep what you actually wear in a given week. You might have clothes that you haven’t touched in months or even a year. Now is the time to donate these extra clothes.

To help your kids reduce clutter, give them one box to fill with things they want to keep. Everything else can be donated or sold at a garage sale.

Organize Paperwork

Keep a designated folder to store all your important documents, such as passports, birth certificates, and insurance papers.

For all your other paperwork, decide whether to recycle or keep it. If you have digital duplicates of anything online—e.g. financial statements and tax information—then you don’t need to keep everything.

The same goes for photos. And if you notice photos that aren’t worth keeping—e.g. blurred—consider throwing them out.

Your kids can keep their favourite items, such as photos, report cards, and keepsakes, in a shoe box.

Letting Go of Sentimental Items

Do not keep items that cause you emotional pain. If you have something that reminds you of a person and makes you sad every time you look at it, it’s not worth keeping. Instead, get rid of it and start fresh in a happy, clutter-free new home.

Getting Rid of Unwanted Items

You have many options for getting rid of items you don’t want to bring with you during the move.

Selling Items

Make a list of the items you want to sell but will still need until your moving day. Share the description and price of the items with friends, family, and colleagues via e-mail and social media. To ensure you get rid of everything, sell the items for half the price you paid.

For those interested in buying, ask them to commit to the sale and put their name next to the item on the list. You can arrange for them to visit your home on moving day to pick up the items.

Garage Sales

You can try to sell off your smaller items at a garage sale. Keep the prices very low to ensure you sell everything. You can also donate the proceeds of your garage sale if you don’t feel comfortable making money off of your used belongings.

Storage Units

If you have extra stuff that you can’t bear to get rid of, consider keeping it in a storage unit. Storage units are especially useful if you’re downsizing your home and you won’t have room for all your beloved belongings. For boxed items, make sure to clearly label the contents so you will know what’s in each box.

Things That Can’t Be Moved

Moving services in Ottawa won’t move hazardous materials and waste. Go over this list of items you can’t move and ways to safely dispose of them.

Set Deadlines And Keep Going Until It’s Done

Set regular deadlines to declutter rooms in your home. And once you’ve met a deadline, keep setting deadlines and decluttering until you’ve removed everything and are left with only the items you plan to take with you to your new home.

Schedule monthly donation pickups (or drop-offs) and use these dates as monthly deadlines to get rid of your “donate” pile.

For the “trash” pile, use your weekly or bi-weekly garbage and recycling days as deadlines to follow. And for anything you want to sell, put the items up for sale online as soon as possible. Also, set a deadline to have a garage sale for anything that doesn’t sell online.

Even once you move to your new home, you can keep decluttering as you unpack. If you notice you don’t have space for some things, get rid of these items before they turn into clutter in your new home.

If you’re moving in the upcoming months, try these decluttering tips. A focus on minimalism will help you get rid of unwanted or unused items to make moving tolerable.