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Pack, Purge or Donate? Tips for Streamlining Before the Move

Moving your household is a major process that can feel overwhelming when looking at everything that needs to be done before moving day. But if you tackle it one step at a time, it will feel more manageable. As you start packing—one of the most daunting parts of moving—follow these simple tips and get off to a great start.

Make Three Sorting Categories
Sorting and packing your things will be easier if you think in terms of three main categories: purge, pack, donate. As you’re getting rid of the items you don’t want to move, it’s helpful to remember a couple general “don’ts” when you go through your belongings:

Don’t purge without some thought. There’s something very appealing about the “clean slate” aspect of moving to a new home. Buying new things and starting fresh is a great feeling, but take time to sort through your possessions. You don’t want to unpack in the new place and realize you tossed something you loved.
Don’t get overly sentimental. If this sounds like opposing advice, it’s really not. Take your treasures with you when you move, but be thoughtful about it. Don’t get bogged down in spending too much time going through everything. Do you need to save all of your kids’ art projects? Remember, you’re taking memories and you don’t have to pack every single project!

Toss It
As you’re making your purge, pack or donate piles, ask yourself these questions:

1. When did I last use it?
2. Do I really need or want to keep it?
3. Will it need to be replaced soon?

When you answer the questions honestly, you’ll have a pile of things to toss which makes the next process much easier. By de-cluttering before your move, you’ll have less to pack, but also be able to take a more accurate inventory of your belongings for your movers. Since you’re most likely paying by weight to move your things, you won’t want to take everything, right?

Donate or Give It Away
If you’re purging items you don’t want to move but there could still be good use in them, consider donating. In addition to organizations like Goodwill, churches, the local library, homeless shelters and animal rescue groups are always in need of help and take donations. Do you have a child starting college or a nephew moving into his first apartment? Some of the things you’re thinking of putting in the purge or donate piles could help furnish a dorm room or small condo.

Tax laws are always changing, but many things you donate to charities are tax deductible. It’s also a good idea to check with your accountant or the IRS website to make sure you follow the rules.

Pack It
Now that you’ve purged, sorted and donated your stuff, you’re ready to pack. The more preparation you do for packing, the smoother it will go. Consider doing a room-by-room inventory and a general home inventory check list to keep it organized.