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How to Declutter and Downsize Your Home to Prepare for a Move

It doesn’t take a moving professional to tell you downsizing before a move saves time and money. Whether you’re just trying to lighten your load, or you’re moving into a smaller home, organizing and decluttering your home is a sure start to a more stress-free move. 

The Careful Moving & Storage team has been helping Sonoma County homeowners relocate to their dream homes since 1976! We are your local moving experts at organizing a successful residential move and have plenty of professional packing tips for you. Read on for five tips to declutter your home to accomplish our favorite “moving hack”: purging before a big move!


Taking a load off has a much different meaning when trying to downsize your move. Instead of kicking back and waiting until the last minute, get active early and break everything up into smaller projects so packing is easier to manage. 

Rushing the moving process is not an effective way to carefully comb through everything you own and evaluate its importance in your new life. When it comes to your most prized possession, a head start and careful consideration will always reward you in the end! 


Getting overwhelmed with the process is the biggest threat to your downsizing project. Coming up with a strategy can be easier after you have set some goals. Downsizing goals can be very simple and broad, but will keep you motivated and make it easier to choose between keeping or tossing an item.

Specific goals to help you declutter your home for a move:

  • Fit everything onto one moving truck in one load
  • Downsize a storage closet to fit into one box
  • Get rid of any duplicate items from each room 
  • Spend 30 minutes everyday looking for items you no longer need
  • Get rid of at least 10 things from each room

Once you have a goal in mind, sticking to your strategy can be easier and help you remain focused on achieving it. The minimalism lifestyle has become very popular recently, and involves only keeping things you have used or worn in the last 6 to 12 months. Chances are if an item hasn’t “brought you joy” in the last year, it won’t in the next. So it might be time to let it go to make your move easier!


Avoid attempting to organize and declutter your entire home at once. Instead, set some time aside everyday to work on one room at a time. Open all the closets, dressers, and drawers so you can see everything you need to sort through. It may even be easier to look at that overstuffed wardrobe or pantry as its own project. 

If you followed step one and started early, you should have plenty of time to comfortably go through everything. Plus your decluttering goals will definitely be easier to achieve when you break up your project room-by-room. 


Tackling an insurmountable mountain of belongings will be much simpler with a sorting technique. To create a sorting system and start placing items into boxes with these categories:

  • Keep – items that are useful in your daily life
  • Donate – items that you haven’t used in the last year
  • Storage – seasonal and sentimental items
  • Trash – broken, outdated, or recyclable items

This method allows you to move freely through your items room-by-room or even just drawer-by-drawer in rapid succession without having to dwell too long on each item. Once a box is full all you have to do is tape it up and it is ready to make the move, or be taken to the trash or donation center. 


Once you have some full “Donate” boxes, selling or giving these belongings away is so much simpler! 

Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are two of the most successful platforms for selling gently used household goods. Your more valuable and heavy items can be individually listed on these online marketplaces to reach the most likely buyers, and you can also advertise a yard sale at the same time. 

Anything left over after your sales efforts can be donated to local charities and consignment stores. Be sure to keep the receipts for tax write-offs! After all is said and done, you will enjoy a much lighter moving load and some extra money to cover some of the moving expenses! A win-win!

Get More Packing and Moving Tips From the Professionals at Careful Moving and Storage

Click Here To Move With Us Careful Moving and StorageMoving doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Our professional moving company has over 45 years of experience with the insight and know-how to help you plan the perfect move. Our quality service and personalized care will provide you with a stress-free move!

Planning a move in Sonoma County? Need a professional moving company or storage services? Contact Santa Rosa’s #1 local moving company, Careful Moving and Storage for a free consultation!