Why I Always Declutter Before a Move

Not all of your stuff deserves a space in your moving truck

Read this on Substack.

Moving house is always a massive undertaking. Whether you’re moving from a studio apartment or a 3-bedroom bungalow, putting everything you own in boxes in no small feat.

I’ve moved five times in the last five years (and the last three of those moves happened in the last three months). Each time, I’ve moved with less stuff. Why? I’m a firm believer that not all ‘stuff’ should move with you.

For moves in the past, I’ve decluttered (aka sold, donated or gave away) mattresses, desks, dining tables, dressers, bookcases and more!

Our latest and biggest move from northern Ontario back to southern Ontario was no different.

Here’s everything we got rid of before out latest move big and how we did it (stay til the end of this post and I’ll also explain why in a little more detail).

Get It and Give It

Dining Table

Cost: free

Decluttering Method: given away

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One of the things I really wanted when we bought our house two years ago was a dining room table - no more eating on the couch for me.

We managed to snag our table for free from Mr. Tiny Ambitions’ work. It was nothing fancy, but it was free.

It was also very cumbersome and I knew I didn’t want to take it with us when we moved.

So, we loaded it up into the back of our friend’s truck and drove it to our local secondhand store. But, because of the pandemic, they weren’t accepting items that couldn’t be lifted by one person.

Never fear though - as we were about to drive away, a lovely gentlemen walked up to us and asked if he could have the table. Win-win. We didn’t have to take it home and someone got to give it a new life.


Cost: $50

Decluttering Method: donated

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I spent a lot of time looking for a clothes solution for our new house and this $50 vintage dresser from our local Restore was the perfect fit.

But again, I wasn’t about to lug it down to southern Ontario. So off it went back to our local Restore where I originally bought it from.

It’s a beautiful piece and when I went back the next day, it was already on sale for the same $50 I bought it for two years ago.

What People Will Buy Online

Fire Pit

Cost: part of the purchase price of our house

Decluttering Method: sold

Price Sold For: $150

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When we re-landscaped our backyard this summer, we had a stone fire pit that couldn’t be used (thank you fire code). So we took it apart the individual stones, cleaned them up and listed it on Kijiji.

I kid you not, they sold within a 30 minutes.

Plastic Adirondack Chairs

Cost: $80 for set of 4

Decluttering Method: sold

Price Sold For: $20 for set of 4

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This story could have only happened in the north. These sold on Kijiji pretty quickly, but it was the method of pickup that was hilarious.

The person who bought them brought a truck to pick them up, which would have been great. Except they already had a four-wheeler in the truck bed.

We spent a delightful twenty minutes watching him try to tetris all four chairs around and on top of the four-wheeler.

10/10 would recommend as a form of entertainment.

I always try to declutter between moves. Certain items always come with me, like clothes and kitchen stuff. But, when I’m not sure where we’ll be living (as is the case of the last two big moves), I don’t like to take big furniture if I didn’t pay a lot for it or would be very cumbersome to move.

Incidentally, this is also why I prioritize buying second-hand furniture where I can.

That might seem wasteful, but my rationale is that I’d rather start fresh in a new space rather than trying to make furniture ‘fit’ into a space, especially if I can give a piece to a new home.

I’ve even more glad I took this approach for this latest move, because, as it turns out, we’ll be moving into a rental that is much smaller than the house we lived in in the north.

In fact, our new apartment is so small, most of the furniture we own won’t fit and we’ll likely need to do another significant declutter (other than our bed, no other furniture we currently own will fit).

Thank goodness we’ve got a bit of a headstart.

Until next time, keep living that tiny life.

Do you like to declutter before a move?