Lightening the load when you’re moving house

Changing zip codes can mean changing lifestyles, too—adapting to new neighbors and switching your local coffee shop and bar. It can also mean a change in how you view your possessions. Moving house is the perfect time to lighten the load both literally and figuratively. Here are some ways to make the process of moving house more manageable.

Be selective

Many families manage to put their stuff in boxes, move it into the new house, and spend the next fifteen years never unpacking it. Much of the stuff we have we don’t necessarily need—and being able to differentiate the necessary from the expendable is an important skill. If you haven’t learned it yet, now is the perfect time to do so.


Your daughter’s high school yearbook is irreplaceable. Your 1995 Real Simple magazine, however, is probably not something you’ll need anytime soon. Try and think back to the last time you used something. If you can’t remember, you can probably live without it.

Have a recycle pile, a giveaway pile, and a keep pile. If you have difficulty letting go, give yourself a “probation pile” and stack it with all the items that you’re mixed about. Go through it a few days before you leave—anything you’ve forgotten about can go straight to the giveaway pile.

If you want a bit of extra cash, don’t forget that your “giveaway pile” can also be a much more lucrative “sell pile.” Companies like www.musicmagpie.com will trade you your old CDs, DVDs, and games for money, which lightens the financial load as well, and makes letting go of your old things easier!

Give things back

Don’t forget that the various potlucks and parties you’ve hosted over the years may mean that half of your kitchen’s inventory isn’t actually yours. Go through your pots and pans and try and remember whether the casserole dish is in fact your neighbor’s. Also keep in mind that pots and pans are easily replaceable, and you don’t necessarily need to fill ten boxes with your kitchenware.


With fewer things to pack on your plate, you can afford to be more organized. Have different boxes for books, clothes, and silverware. Label boxes on each side so they can be directed to the right room; otherwise, moving day will be chaos. Clear instructions can save a lot of time and effort. Enjoy starting over Rather than seeing your new and emptier home as overwhelming, remember how much more work it was when you had to de-clutter! Try and see moving house as liberating. It can even be an excuse for a shopping spree. You do have to replace that casserole pan you returned to your neighbor, after all…

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Jenni Proctor

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