We’ve seen a massive jump in long-distance and local Ottawa moving in recent months. With any move, it’s important to start early and stay organized. Check out our tips, tricks, and suggestions for making this decluttering process your easiest one yet! Before you get to packing, it’s time to declutter. It will save money and time in the long run and mean fewer boxes, less moving costs, and an easier moving day.

There is lots to coordinate, and it’s easy to look at the mountain ahead of you and get overwhelmed. However, the truth is that it can be completely manageable with a good plan, an efficient system, and a reliable local moving company.

Start Planning Early and Start Packing

You’ll get this suggestion a lot—because it’s true. The more time you have to start the decluttering and packing process the easier it will be. It doesn’t just take physical effort, but it will take emotional energy as you comb through memories and sentimental items and decide which ones you will keep and which you will say goodbye to. Some items are dangerous to bring with you, making an easy choice not to pack them for your move.

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Haven’t put an offer on a house yet? Get started. The more time you have before your move date, the easier it will be to declutter your home, get rid of items you don’t need, and start packing supplies for your move to the new house. Start decluttering now, and you can’t be too organized.

Hire A Trusted Moving Company

This will make all the difference. Your friends don’t want to throw their back out for pizza and beer. Not to mention the damaged furniture from not wrapping it properly, the mental strain of having to drive a large truck you are unfamiliar with- it’s unnecessary stress on an already stressful situation—why not let a professional handle it? It will make sure less stuff will arrive as broken items, and no one will get hurt lifting heavy stuff.

Decluttering Process

This is your most important step. Our Arnprior movers can’t stress enough how important it is to nail down your plan because this will be followed for every room in your home and make it easier to stay on track. Whether you’re moving, or you stumbled on this post looking for decluttering tips, the next part of this post is for you.

  • Choose your decluttering parameters. It’s tough to decide on what to keep before moving. Decide on a number for each category or amount of time since last use and write it down. You should be conquering each room with a “Keep, Sell, Donate” mentality- plus throwing out what doesn’t need keeping. There can also be an “unsure” box- but use this sparingly!
  • Set up your “To Be Evaluated” space. Things that you aren’t ready to throw away but you’re unsure if you want to keep. Having those things handy and nearby means that you can keep it if you realize you needed it after it was packed away. If not, it goes to sell or donate!
  • Be hard on yourself. This will be hard for things with sentimental value, but you will see how much stuff is really just “stuff”. Not tackling it now means you’ll have more boxes of stuff you don’t need, more to coordinate and consider- and you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to start fresh in your new home.
  • Use a schedule or app. We suggest apps like Trello or Asana that are easy to use, and the whole family can coordinate and stay on schedule with all the stuff that needs doing!
  • Set up a system. We suggest colour-coding your boxes to correspond with each box type. If you’re a DIY mover and want to pack all your boxes yourself, set up a numbering system and a notebook to track what is in each box.

With your unwanted items:

  • Have a garage sale
  • Bring it to a thrift store
  • Try donating items in good condition to animal shelters, charities, and school programs
  • Recycle the items responsibly- don’t just toss it into trash bags!

Focus On One Room at a Time

Splitting up your decluttering will make it all seem less daunting. Have the following with you when you start on each room to make sure you stay on task and organized:

  • 3 boxes: Keep, Sell, Donate
  • Garbage bags
  • Your colour coding duct tape
  • Packing tape
  • Cleaning supplies (for all the dust and dirt!)
  • Some music! Here’s a great playlist—have fun with it!

The thing to keep in mind is this: is it worth the cost of moving it?


  • “Seasonal” Items: Fondue kits, serving platters, etc.
  • Kitchen utensils: Empty your drawers and lay everything out; you’ll be surprised how many duplicates you have!
  • Plastic containers and To-Go Mugs: Be sure everything has a lid and then decide what you truly need (maybe 12 mugs can be narrowed down?).
  • Small Appliances: Each one should be cleaned thoroughly before deciding its fate. If you are going to be throwing it away (which we hope is your very last resort), please do so following Ottawa municipal guidelines.
  • Expired food: Check on your pantry items and fridge items and get rid of anything past its expiration date.
  • Baking supplies: Sheet pans, crocks, and everything in between! Do you need them all?

Living Room

  • Books & DVDs: This will require being honest with yourself on which is needed and which can be donated.
  • Toys and games: Get the kids involved- donate what they’ve outgrown (make sure it has all the pieces!)
  • Photos and Albums: there are a lot of companies that will digitize all your family photos so you can keep all your memories, and you never have to worry about losing them!


  • Medicine Cabinet: check for expired medication and take the opportunity to make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit in case of emergency.
  • Hygiene products: Often, women’s shelters in your area would be happy to have any items that you won’t use, as long as they are not expired.
  • Beauty tools: layout everything- maybe you have hair ties, multiple hairdryers, or other makeup tools you don’t use anymore- let them go!

Home Office

  • Office supplies: get rid of dried-up markers and pens, donate what you don’t need anymore.
  • Home documents: Consider digitizing your receipts and warranty records. Go through all your papers- organize, sort, and let some go!


  • Clothing: If you have trouble with packing your clothes, you can try flipping all the hangers in your closet with the opening toward you- when you use an item, put it back in the closet with the hanger facing the other way- you’ll see which clothes you really use. Donate the ones you don’t need and bring the clothes in bad condition to a textile recycling center.
  • Jewelry and Accessories: If you haven’t worn it in years, donate it!


  • Big Tools: Decide on items like the lawnmower or the snowblower.
  • Smaller Hand Tools: Lay everything out—there may be duplicates or pieces never used.
  • Sports equipment: Donate outgrown equipment—this includes camping and seasonal clothes.
  • Parts and equipment: The small motors, plywood, off-cuts of wood pieces may be put to better use by someone else—sell them!
  • Holiday and Yard Decor: What is being kept, put into labelled boxes and store in your now-clean garage.

The garage is a big project and may want to be tackled separately. We have some great tips for cleaning out your garage!

Need some Storage?

It can be mentally exhausting to live among packed boxes. Especially for long-distance moves, it might be in your best interest to get a shipping container. For local moves and to keep you organized temporarily, you can always take advantage of a storage unit to put your packed, ready-to-move items that you won’t need in the meantime. This will be monumental in making a smooth moving experience.

If you are handling the packing on your own, don’t forget to grab our Ultimate Moving Checklist to help keep you organized! If you’re in need of a hand, our team would be happy to help- Request a quote today!

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