Moving soon? Now’s a good time to shed unwanted items…don’t pay to pack and ship them. Start a few weeks to a few months in advance (depending on the size of your home and time off work,) go at it one room at a time, and beat the clutter.
Start with an easy room.
This is an area that won’t slow you down to reminisce and in which you are less likely to get overwhelmed. Bookcases and clothing closets are good places to start, the kitchen (old food, dishes, and cooking utensils you never use) or with nic nacs around the house. Leave paperwork and photos for later; they can be a time and energy stealer, better saved for last.
Set up three boxes and label Give Away, Sell, and Donate.
1) The Give Away box is for things you want to give a friend or loved one.
2) The Sell box is for yard sale, consignment shop, or online sale items.
3) The Donate box is for charity. If all you need is a Donate box, more power to you!
Set up Trash, Recycle, and Shred bags.
You are likely to come across plastic, paper, cardboard, and non-recyclables to place in the trash. Have bags ready to declutter these items.
Don’t know what’s junk and what’s worth keeping? Read tips on how to decide.
Having trouble deciding which clothes to purge? Read more here.
Hazardous and e-waste disposal
Paint, light bulbs, used batteries, cell phones, engine oil, broken electronics including anything with cords and wires, refrigeration, televisions, computers and monitors should not be put in the trash. They are considered hazardous or e-waste and need to be disposed of properly. Community organizations commonly hold free e-waste drop-off events on weekends, and many cities have daily drive-through and drop-off options. Visit Earth 911 to find a location near you.
Got paper clutter?
Don’t take a chance on identity theft. While sorting through the office, set aside paperwork to shred including documents with names, address & contact information, account numbers, social security numbers, and other information you prefer no one get their hands on in a recycle bin. Shred tons of paper at a time quickly and inexpensively at a local office supply store such as UPS, or with a shredding specialty company such as Berkeley Shreds.
Considering using donations as a tax write off?
Play it safe, take photos and make an itemized list with estimated fair market or appraised value of each item (see Salvation Army Donation Valuation Guide here). Save this and donation receipts for tax records. In the case of an audit, you may need these as proof of donation. A high-value donation write-off can be a red flag for audit at tax time. Refer to the IRS website for the latest rules on tax-deductible donations.
Isabella Guajardo has provided professional home organizing and residential move management services since 2007. She has worked with hundreds of individuals and families from all walks of life including single parents, public school teachers, college professors, lawyers, doctors, Pulitzer Prize winners, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The thing 90% of them had in common? They had too much clutter and needed to downsize and reorganize.
Call (510) 229-7321 to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation.