What To Do With Everything You Don’t Want To Move

In an ideal world, moving is a time to purge, of a fresh start, sans all the baggage (and junk) of years past. Reality often looks very different. In far too many cases, we move everything. We can’t begin to tell you the number of things we’ve moved that end up in eternal storage, or even in dumpsters.

Old TVs out for hard-rubbish collection by Alpha is licensed under CC 2.0 Generic

It doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on whether you want to put in the work or pay for some help, you can streamline your life and move at the same time.


I know, I know, organization takes a lot of work, and isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? The truth is, someone has to do the work. It can be you, or as we’ll get into later, it can be some professionals.

While you’re packing, sort everything you own into four piles: pack it and move it, trash, in good enough condition to donate and items you aren’t sure about.

Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t, but for goodness sake, don’t donate junk. If your clothing is stained or torn, and has interesting patterns, it might make excellent quilting material. Post on Nextdoor that you have potential quilting material. Local schools or senior centers might also be interested. Thin fabric or not very interesting? It’s probably trash.

If your unwanted items are still in good condition, but just not to your taste anymore or they don’t fit, then donate to a local thrift store. Many will pick up larger items. In the chance your items are in great shape, you might be able to sell them. Craigslist is no longer the only alternative for selling items. Even Facebook has pages for selling local items.

If you aren’t sure, Lifehacker recommends getting rid of about half of that pile. You haven’t used it in years? Donate. If you have, try to visualize it in your new home. If you can’t, donate it. A friend might be able to help. A good friend wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to get rid of the tattered college sweatshirt from 1994.

Get some help

If the job is too big or if you simply don’t have time, professionals can help. Professional organizers cost between $30 and $80 per hour and they can bang out a room in hours. Many will even pack for you.

For help getting rid of large items, there are plenty of haul-a-way services, but be careful. Many are not licensed and they might either sell your goods (and you’ll pay them for the privilege) or they’ll end up dumping your things somewhere they shouldn’t be dumped. Angie’s List has some great tips on choosing the right junk company.

Now, if you don’t get around to a purge, that’s okay. You have options there too. Because moving into a new home is full of unknowns, sometimes it’s easiest to purge as you unpack. You’d get a better idea of how your items will fit in your new home, and even what types of clothing you’d wear in your new surroundings. Finally, if things don’t fit yet you aren’t quite ready to get rid of them, there’s always storage and your moving company will be happy to help you with that and movers’ storage will often cost you less than self-storage.