What to Get Rid of When Moving Across the Country – How to Efficiently Declutter Your Home

July 20, 2021 / Posted in Before the Move
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

It can be challenging to decide what to get rid of when moving. We might believe everything is relevant, but once we start packing, a ton of unused and unwanted items pop up in our faces, and we realize throwing them out is the only option. To help you prioritize, we’ve made a list of things to get rid of when moving.

a bunch of moving boxes filled with different items
It’s important to know why and how to get rid of stuff before moving

What to Get Rid of When Moving? Start With Old and Unworn Shoes and Clothes

One of the best ways to cut relocation costs is to get rid of items that are no longer of use. This mainly applies to shoes and clothes you and your family no longer wear. If you’re wondering how to decide what to get rid of when moving, open your closet and see that there are shoes you haven’t taken out of the box for ages and clothes still sitting intact at the back of the closet. Decluttering your closet is efficient and effective because it saves space and time for packing, and it’ll make you feel lighter and better during the moving process.


Donate, Recycle, or Sell the Things You Don’t Want Anymore

You can get rid of stuff you don’t plan on wearing anymore in a few ways. Most people would recommend donating unwanted items, which is a great way to give back to the community and help those in need. If you have lots of torn old clothes that aren’t fit for donations, you can do another conscientious deed and take them to the nearest recycling center to get repurposed. If you have perfectly usable stuff and are strapped for cash, you can try dry-cleaning them and then selling them to a thrift store or at a garage sale.

a person off-screen folding clothes
What should I throw away before I move? Usually, it’s the things you only wore or wear a few times per year

You Should Get Rid of Outdated Electronic Items

What items are not worth moving? Right off the bat, the answer to this question is – old, no-longer-functional electronics. You may have even forgotten that you have your first VHS and DVD players sitting in the garage or storeroom, but now is the time to remember and get rid of them. Technology advances every year or two, and there’s no longer any need to keep analog electronics like VHS players and outdated digital players like a DVD since loads of programs are readily available to us at any time of the day.

Purge Your Home from Old Cables and Cords

One of the things to do on relocation day is pack your electronics and cables into personal luggage. However, make sure you’re not bringing every single cable and cord that’s sitting at home. Nowadays, one cable can serve multiple purposes, and more than ever, technology is going wireless and cable-less. So, why keep cables that most likely won’t have a purpose anymore? Ensure to recycle or throw them out into an appropriate container. Recycling cables could be better for the environment, in any case.

a bunch of cabled plugs in sockets
Cables are becoming a thing of the past, so you shouldn’t pack all of them

Put Expired Items on the Checklist of Stuff to Get Rid Of

Lots of things around the house can expire without us even noticing. Whenever the word ‘expired’ comes up, we think of food first. While getting rid of expired food is a priority in general, one of the biggest relocation mistakes is not getting rid of nearly expired foods before moving out. Whether it’s a last-minute relocation or something well-planned ahead, don’t forget to clear out your fridge and cabinets.

Expired Medicine Can Cause Problems, So Throw It Out

Throwing out expired meds should be done whether you’re moving out or not. It can turn out to be dangerous in some cases, so make sure you’re aware of every date on those med bottles and boxes. One of the most useful moving tips is to go through the medicine cabinet thoroughly when you start packing, without skipping anything. In addition to packing the medicine that’s still good, you need to separate the most necessary meds into a box filled with essential items, which you’ll be using during the first few days or even weeks at your new home.

Look for the Expiration Symbol on Your Makeup Products

We’re confident you already knew that makeup could expire too, but we’ll still mention it just in case you didn’t. The little round box symbol with the writing like ‘6M’ and ‘12M’ on the back of your products signifies the number of months they’re valid for. While it isn’t dangerous to use makeup longer than those numbers if you still keep old palettes and lipsticks after a few years, you’ll be better off without them.

Expired makeup can cause allergic reactions, rashes, and types of skin damage. If you’re unsure what’s good to throw out and what to keep, check out the video below.

Get All Those Extra Documents Out of Your Room

If you’re asking yourself what is the first thing to do when moving, we can say that documents are the most essential part of your smaller cargo, so you should look to pack them first into a folder.

You have very important documents that should never leave your side, such as:

  • Personal records and documents such as passports, birth certificates, IDs, social security numbers, and adoption and marriage certificates,
  • Tax and financial records, like tax returns, mortgage statements, and recent payments,
  • Medical records and bills,
  • Insurance papers for your family members, cars, whatever type of insurance you have going on at the moment.

Documents that you’re free to get rid of are:

  • Expired insurance documents,
  • Utility bills for previous months,
  • Shopping bills and receipts,
  • Tax documents older than seven years.

Apart from these, you should also get rid of documents that aren’t valid or used anymore. Deciding what’s important and what’s not from the rest of the documentation is entirely up to you, but it’s a vital part of getting organized to move. In addition, consider getting a shredder for the papers you don’t need anymore but which contain sensitive information.

shredded paper on the top half of the image
Shredding documents you don’t need can help you declutter faster

Clean Up and Clear Out Your Bathroom Before Moving

Don’t think about bringing your dirty shower curtain or torn-up towels if you’re moving in with your significant other. If you want to leave a good impression, you’re better off without those, but that’s not the only reason why getting rid of bathroom items is important. Our bathrooms are the main living place for bacteria, which we’re sure you don’t want to bring with you to the new house.

Toiletries Can Get Dirty Really Quickly, So No Need to Pack Them

Anything that looks worn out isn’t worth bringing to your new home. Everything is replaceable, and very often for a good reason. Your cosmetics and toiletries can expire or get slimy from the dampness in the shower. That’s all normal, but unless you have a great reason to bring them along to your new house, then make sure to recycle or simply throw them away. The easiest way to pack for a move is not to pack the things you can easily replace without breaking the bank.

a stack of beige towels on a white stool
Get the old towels and shower curtain out of the way when moving

You May Have Too Much Kitchenware, So It’d Be Good to Throw Some Out

Whether you’re relocating for the first time or the tenth, packing dishes is always going to be a nightmare, mainly because they’re so delicate and breakable. Handling fragile dishes and other kitchenware is exhausting, but we’re here with some good news. You don’t need all of it. Really, you don’t need every single plate from your cupboards, nor the mugs you shoved to the back of the cabinet. Pack only the dishes, cups, and glasses you’re currently using, and pack as many items as there are family members. We know you may have visitors, but this is only for the first week or two.

Understandably, getting rid of stuff can get sentimental in some moments, so everything you’re bonded to can come with you. However, if you feel bad about throwing something away but don’t care about it enough to pack it while moving, consider giving it to a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance. You may even donate dishes and mugs to a homeless shelter or a center of a similar kind.

many colorful dishes stacked on two white shelves on top of each other
Extra plates and mugs can take up a lot of space but be of no use

Finally, You Don’t Need to Pack All of Your Furniture

The best option for moving out of state on a budget is leaving the furniture behind. You don’t need to leave all of it, but don’t pack everything, either. If you’re relocating to the suburbs, the home you’re moving into likely already has the basic furniture there. The cheapest ways to move out of state are when you have the least amount of stuff to load into the relocation truck. Make a checklist of things you have at the new house and their condition. If something’s in bad shape there, you can pack the replacement. However, if it’s not, you know the drill.

If you’re curious about how to get rid of furniture when moving, the best thing to do is disassemble the unusable items and dump them at a recycling center. If some items aren’t in that bad of a condition but aren’t getting packed to come with you, leave them there and let the next tenants decide if they want to use them or not. We’re not saying your old furniture is the next tenant’s worry, but if it’s not entirely useless, they could make use of it.

Some things to note are, of course, if you’re relocating while pregnant, don’t lift any furniture or heavy items whatsoever. In case you’re relocating with pets, make sure they’re out of the way when bulky things are getting taken out of the house, especially furniture. You can read more relocation hacks before packing to make the move more efficient and less stressful.

an orange leather sofa in front of a white wall
How do you minimize when moving? Throw out the unusable furniture

Hire Long-Distance Movers to Help You Relocate After Decluttering the House

Hiring cross-country movers should be on your relocation list, especially when you’re relocating to another state. With the help of professional long-distance moving services, next to the items you have packed and ready to go, you can get additional packing services from the movers. That could be of great assistance for things that you’re not sure how to prepare for relocation. Experts who work at a long-distance moving company always know how to pack stuff so it doesn’t get damaged in transport.

You Can Get All Types of Services, Even from an Auto Transport Company

Cross-country moving is hard on its own – there may be things you forget to pack, you can get caught up in relocation stress which tends to hit hard in the middle of the moving process and cause you to question your reasons for moving.

In addition to getting packing and moving from company services, you can get your car shipped. Almost every relocation company is at the same time a car shipping company, and they all usually have storage facilities where you can keep the stuff you don’t immediately need.

Everything you need can be provided without you worrying too much. All that’s left is for you to say goodbye to friends and get excited to start a new life in a different state.

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