If you’re drowning in your possessions, the idea of getting ready to move – and looking for moving companies can be enough to make you want to scream! Living with kids, living with a packrat spouse, or being the packrat can mean you spend too much time dealing with your things.

If you know a move is coming up, you have a great opportunity to make things easier on yourself by doing a thorough declutter months in advance. The secret to making this work is like just the old saying says: “slow and steady wins the race”.

How Do You Know You Have Too Many Possessions?

Some people may be in denial about having too much. Here are some sure signs that you need to think about going on a clutter diet:

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  1. You spend more time that you want to tidying and cleaning, especially dusting.
  2. You have to move things to get at things you need in closets or even out in the open.
  3. You are spending too much money on nonessentials.
  4. You have things you have never used.
  5. It’s more difficult than it should be to get around your house because things are in the way.

Sometimes, part of the problem can be inadequate storage strategies. In general, however, if any of these things are happening to you, it’s time to take a hard look at how much you own.

Where to Start? Build Positive Decluttering Habits

A house full of madness can seem like such a huge problem that you want to leave everything behind when you move to your new house. Take a deep breath – you don’t have to go to that extreme!

Here are some tips to take some sensible bite size pieces out of the problem.

  1. Go for an easy win: clear up one magazine rack, one desktop, or one shelf. Having a positive first experience can set you up for more.
  2. Set aside regular time periods, and establish a pattern of easy wins. If life is hectic, set aside small time periods every day or every week to tackle specific areas. A half hour a day can make more sense for some people than an 8-hour marathon that eats up your whole Saturday.
  3. If you’re in the mood, go with it. Now that spring is here (even if the weather isn’t cooperating) many people get the urge to really dig deep and spend some time and get things done. If you get in the mood to clear things out, take advantage of it.
  4. Make the cleanup mood happen by making it fun. Your favourite music, a cup of strong coffee, and a big smile can get you in the mood to tackle a section for a couple of hours. Sing along, have 30-second dance parties, and reward yourself afterwards with a favourite treat.
  5. Carry it forward: lead by example. If your kids see you drop things anywhere instead of putting things away, they’re going to want to take the easy road too. Have systems for paperwork, laundry, project materials, and everything else and stick to it.
  6. Delay nonessential purchases and use wish lists to figure out what you really want. If you find yourself hankering for that new pair of shoes or that new mobile phone or car accessory, put it on your Christmas or birthday wish list. Often you’ll find that things drop off the list, and your urge to purchase it was just temporary after all. When the time comes, share the list of what you really want with your loved ones. Waiting for things you really want can make it more wonderful when you actually get it.

Just like with dieting, the key is to make real and permanent lifestyle changes, not just deprive yourself for a couple of weeks or months. As we all know, temporary changes just don’t work.

You’ll find it’s all worth it though – you’ll be able to breeze through cleaning, and you’ll enjoy the relaxed feeling you get from having more space in your home. When the time comes to start packing boxes and get ready to move, it will be so much easier. Best of all, you’ll have more time to spend with your family and friends on those 30-second dance parties!

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