It's helpful to know how to minimize when moving. Part of our Ultimate Guide to Minimalism series.
While moving is a stressful and disruptive life event, it can also be a great time to take stock of what you really need in your home.
In other words, it’s a good time to come to terms with the things you don’t need sitting around taking up valuable space in your new living space.
MoveBuddha explains how minimalism can help you to simplify moving:
- There’s less to pack and unpack, which gives you more time
- There’s less to clean and maintain, which also gives you more time
- Fewer distractions means less stress and more relaxation
- Less consumerism means better budgeting and more money
There are several steps you can take to lighten your load before moving.
As you read our tips below, don’t stress yourself further by thinking about how to be an “absolute minimalist” when moving houses. Minimizing your items is not a numbers contest. It’s about decluttering, organizing your life and living space, and removing the non-essential items in your life.
Moving to a new home is an exciting time — so let’s get started!
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Minimalist Guide to Moving
Focus on The Bare Minimum
There are two major sections that you have to organize when moving:
- The categories of stuff you’ll be paring down
- Sorting all that stuff into different piles
Categories include clothes, books, gadgets, toys, furniture, bedroom / kitchen / bathroom items, and papers.
Piles include a “donation,” “trash,” or “recycle” pile when you’re deciding what to do with the items that are not moving with you.
A minimalist approach to moving means that you’ll be letting go of whatever you don’t need. It’s a reduction of the accumulation and subsequent wastage of non-valuable stuff you own.
Keep Thrifty explains some of the benefits of minimalist moving:
- Moving is Cheaper: You might be able to move without paying for a moving truck.
- Living is Cheaper: As you practice living smaller, you could go from a three bedroom to a two bathroom home, or feel more comfortable in a home with less square footage. You could save a lot on rent or utilities when you make the move to a smaller abode.
- Stress is Less: When you move as a minimalist, you don’t have many items to reassemble. Boxes with unknown items won’t be sitting around for an indefinite time in your new home.
Vlogger Myka Stauffer has a practical list of 25 things to get rid of before you move:
Some of the items on her list: expired meds, old shower curtains, miscellaneous cups, old toys, and old food supplies!
Download our checklist on the bare minimum of items you need in a new home. It's in the Optimal Living Daily's PDF library — our vault with checklists and more to optimize your life!
Minimize When Moving: Plan Ahead
Plan ahead for meals and packing to make the whole process smoother!
If you bulk cook and freeze meal-sized portions, you’ll save time with cooking and meal preparations during the last couple of weeks before your big move.
Irene from Compulsively Quirky shares OCD tips for living a more organized life. When it comes to moving, some of the things she makes sure to get are quality boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap for more fragile items.
In terms of paperwork, you would also want to plan ahead for updating your address with utilities and other institutions.
Backing up your hard drive will ensure that you have access to important documents or work-related documents just after you’ve moved, since you may not have the internet set up right away at your new place.
Live Out of A Suitcase…Temporarily
Here's a bonus tip from Rachel at Nourishing Minimalism. Put about 2 weeks’ worth of basic clothing in a suitcase, box, or small dresser before you start packing.
Start several weeks before you actually move so that you have access to these necessities.
This way, the essential items won’t get lost in the mayhem of sorting out logistics or finding your way around boxes and packing supplies.
Other items that might go into your capsule of essentials include toiletries, phone chargers, important phone numbers, and medications.
Halve Your Stuff
Miss Minimalist recommends halving your belongings so that you only take the very best items for the move.
You could do this mathematically, where you take 25 pieces of clothing instead of 50, or 30 books instead of 60. Apply the same approach as you minimize your sentimental items, particularly if most of your sentimental stuff is tucked away and never sees the light of day.
Consistently ask yourself if you need an item as you go about halving your belongings. Do you really need 10 similar pairs of black pants? Do you really need the pristine white jacket hanging in your closet that you haven’t worn in the past year and a half?
TheAllMightiest at r/minimalism recommends the following steps.
Selling things that you no longer want on Facebook Marketplace or eBay could bring in additional funds that go towards your move.
Don’t keep stuff out of guilt or because you feel you should have it around “just in case.”
Anything that gives you negative feelings such as momentos from a failed relationship should not accompany you into your new home. Your new home is offering you a chance to start fresh.
Stay Organized as You Pack
If you are packing several boxes, be sure to label them clearly and to have an inventory of what you’ll be bringing with you.
Set aside some space in your home to stack the boxes in preparation for moving day.
Having a box designated for the “kitchen,” “bedroom,” “clothes,” and so on will make unpacking a smoother process. It will also help you keep track of the boxes as they are being taken to and from your old to new address.
Realize Your New Life
As blogger Erin Vaughan says, it’s “okay to feel anxious, sad, or nervous when you’re decluttering” before moving.
But stay conscious of your unique situation where you’re cleaning out a living space and can start living in a new home without baggage.
Think of the reasons you are moving. What are the positive things you associate with the move? What are some of the things you are happy to be leaving behind?
For instance, when I moved from one end of the country to another, I chose to leave behind most of the clothes that didn’t make much sense to have in a new climate. It felt nice to clear out my closet and make room for a few new pieces. I was very welcoming of an updated wardrobe that better reflected my personality and goals at my new home address.
You might have another area aside from clothes which speak to you strongly in terms of a fresh take on life. Take it as a symbol of the adventure of change. It’s a gift as to how you’d like to express yourself in this big life change.
Do you have any packing tips on how to minimize when moving that you’d like to share with our readers? Let us know through our friendly Facebook Group!