Moving Organization: Declutter Your Home, Collect Packing Supplies and Get Moving Boxes (For Free)

Preparing for a move takes a lot of organization. Before you mindlessly toss everything into boxes, take the time to sort through your belongings. Do you really need three different sets of Tupperware with mostly missing lids? Or the box of expired coupons that’s been sitting on your kitchen counter since last summer? Probably not.

Decluttering your home before packing will save a lot of money on moving costs down the road. This is the best time to sort and purge your extra junk, especially if you’re downsizing.

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“Decluttering on the front end of moving is crucial. Moving is the perfect time to go through all of your belongings and decide if you'd like to donate, consign or toss anything. Before you pack it, be sure to evaluate whether or not it's something you really want to bring to your new home. If you do not, set it aside in a pile for donating. If you don't need it, it’s time to let go of it.”

Allo Perry Piller,

Professional Organizer, Neat Method

Downsizing and Decluttering

If, for instance, you’re moving from a large four-bedroom house into an apartment or condominium, you might be wondering how to start decluttering. Parting with certain items is understandably difficult, but it’s almost inevitable when organizing for a move. Follow the downsizing tips below to make the process easier.

Tips for Downsizing Your Stuff:

  • Recruit a friend or family member to help decide which items to keep.
  • Use your new space as a visual guide for what will fit.
  • Focus on items you use the most.
  • Snap photos of items you want to remember.
  • Plan a garage sale or auction.
  • Consider an appraisal for items of high value.
  • Visit local consignment stores to sell furniture and other items.
  • Donate to local charities.
  • Rent a dumpster to quickly dispose of unwanted items.
  • Rent a storage container or storage unit to hold cherished items.

Clean Out Your House: Moving
Organization Tips

Step by Step Decluttering: Prioritize Rooms With
the Most Stuff

Start by decluttering the areas of your home where the most stuff accumulates. Kitchens and closets tend to be the most common culprits. Sort through one drawer or cabinet at a time, and remove what you no longer need.

“Determine what you're really using by moving items into a box. As you use an item, place it in a [different] box, (or a different cabinet) and at the end of two weeks you'll know what you REALLY use.”

Bonnie Joy Dewkett,

Founder, The Joyful Organizer

Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment

When decluttering your closet, begin a sorting system. After washing clothes, put them back into your closet with hangers facing the opposite direction. After a couple weeks, you’ll begin to see what hasn’t been worn. Sort through these items and decide which items to keep, to toss or to donate.

Create "Trash", "Keep" and "Maybe" Boxes or Piles

Start a "maybe box" to organize for your move. As you're decluttering before the move, throw the things you're not sure about in there. This includes items that you don’t use now, but might see yourself using in the new home. After you’ve made your way through the rooms, take a final look at this box and decide what to keep and what to toss.

“Schedule your decluttering sessions like you schedule a lunch date or a doctor’s appointment. Give yourself a finite amount of time that is reasonable to accomplish the task while considering your busy schedule, your stamina, and any help you may be receiving.”

Katie Davis,

Business Development Director, Let's Move, LLC

Purge Unused Items

Now’s the time to part with items that you no longer use or don’t fit your taste anymore. We’re talking about the boxes that you never unpacked from your last move. If you haven’t picked it up or even looked at it in the past few years, odds are it’s time to let that stuff go. Try to see how fast you can fill a single trash bag with items to toss or donate.

If you have a tote or box in your home, and you don’t know what’s inside, chances are it can all be donated/trashed. Bring what you love and honor what you have. Everything else can be left behind.

Bonnie Joy Dewkett | Founder, The Joyful Organizer

Common Items to Trash or Donate Before Moving:

  • Cosmetics
  • Broken appliances
  • Tupperware
  • Magazines, newspapers and books
  • Movies and CDs
  • Clothing
  • Processed foods
  • Dishes
  • Kids artwork
  • Garden tools
  • Toys, board games and puzzles

Your Moving Supplies List

This is also the time to collect your packing materials. Having all of your packing boxes and other moving supplies on hand will speed up the packing process.

Must-have packing and moving supplies:

Boxes of various
sizes (see below!)



Sharpie permanent

Box cutters and/or

Bubble wrap, paper
or newspaper

Gloves and knee

Furniture pads
and covers



Download our color-coded packing labels to stay organized during your move.

Printable Box Labels

Where Can I Get Boxes for Free?

You’ll obviously need plenty of boxes to pack up your whole home. While some experts recommend buying boxes with the same dimensions, allowing for even stacking, the price of boxes can add up along the way. So where can you get free boxes for moving? Simply call or visit any of the below places to have boxes set aside for you.

Where to Get Free Moving Boxes:

  • Friends who recently moved
  • Recycling centers
  • Grocery stores
  • Yard sales
  • Liquor stores
  • Office buildings
  • Warehouse stores
  • Home improvement stores

How to Protect Your Belongings When Moving

Be sure to wrap each item individually to ensure that everything will make it from point A to point B in one piece. Bubble wrap is the most protective insulator for the most fragile items. Just like boxes, bubble wrap can become pricey and wasteful. Instead, you can opt for more environmentally friendly solutions.

“The best supplies are good packing materials. Unprinted newspaper is the best type of packing to wrap just about everything in your home. It's recyclable on the back end and it's very cost-effective.”

Bonnie Joy Dewkett,

Founder, The Joyful Organizer

You can even take the sustainable packing a step further and use towels or blankets to safely wrap up your delicate items.

Final Step of Moving Organization: Book Your Moving Company!

By the end of Week 5, make sure to lock down your moving company if you’ve chosen that route instead of DIY. Make your final decision and sign the contract. Getting this decision out of the way early will save you the worry later on.