10 Things to Dump Before You Move

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

A new home means a fresh start: new paint, a new bedroom, even a fresh take on arranging your old furniture.

But your new space won’t feel so wonderful if it’s weighed down with junk you didn’t bother ditching during the move. Now’s the time to purge your home—from the magazines hiding under the sofa to the toys that your children haven't played with for thierty years. 

Pick up each item in your home as you are packing, and ask yourself, ‘Why do I have this item? What does this item do for me?"

There are a lot of things you should toss or donate before packing up the truck. But here are nine of the most common offenders.

1. Old towels and linens

When’s the last time you bought new towels? If it’s the last time you moved, turn those suckers into rags and buy something new. After years of use and hundreds of washings, there’s no denying your fluffy bath towels have lost some of their plushness.

Ditch old bed sheets, too. Fitted sheets lose their elasticity over time, and exposure to sweat and oil can cause unpleasant stains.  Your gently used towels and sheets are welcomed at local pet shelters.  Then you would get a justification for new linens - and a tax deduction! 

2. Your juicer

It was a nice thought, but... c'mon.It was a nice thought, but when was the last time you actually used it? 


I have lots of  goals. Long walks with my poodle three times a week.  Starting each morning with a glass of cold juice pressed from spinach, kale, ginger, and pineapple.  But those goals seem to run away in the face of day to day pressures! 

Don’t give up on your goals —but if you’ve tried to make a change and found it didn’t work with your lifestyle, don’t hang on to the reminders. Assess your achievements at moving time, and donate everything that didn’t work out. At least you’ll have room for your next wild aspiration. Perhaps a set of dumbbells? A pasta maker? 

3. Unworn clothes

Organizing a closet before a move should be simple. A keep pile, a toss pile, and a donate pile—right? But what about  those jeans that I held onto just in case I finally lose 15 pounds. Or a dress tucked deep in my closet in I am invited to the White House.

Really analzye the clothing you’re keeping “just in case,” which take up precious room in your closet. And even if you do lose the weight, or get an invitation to an inagural ball, you can always buy (or rent) something new.  Isn't that what Rent the Runway is for after all? 

4. Duplicates and souvenirs

Clutter accrues in the strangest places—like your mug tree or your dining hutch. You might have started out with two novelty mugs, but now you own a coffee cup from every place you’ve visited. 

Look for duplicates throughout your kitchen. Do you really need three bread pans? Or more than one cake platter? Only hold on to the things you have a place for in the new kitchen!


5. Collections you’ve outgrown

snow globe collectionLet it go, let it go, let it go…


One day, a long time ago and a few galaxies too, you told your mother you liked unicorns. You were 8.

Your next birthday: an unicorn necklace. Your graduation gift: a porcelain unicorn. Your housewarming gift from your best friend: a Cluny tapestry pillow.

It’s too late to convince family and friends that you have moved beyond unicorns, but it’s not too late to cull your collection.  Your friends can find a new theme for their gifts! 

6. Cosmetics and toiletries

Before you move, get rid of all those half-used products hiding under your bathroom sink.  Make sure to toss the nail polish which only has a shelf life of two years.  Face it, you’ll likely never finish a bottle before the polish gets gloppy and hard to apply.

Cosmetics don't last for ever either.  Some experts say you should replace your favorite mascara every three months. Otherwise, you may be exposing your eyes to contaminants and air particles.

7. Space fillers

When you move into a new home that is bigger than the last one, there is a temptation to buy stuff just to fill the emptiness. You end up with unmatched side tables, a TV stand three shades darker than the rest of your furniture, or cutesie wall art with messages that don't work any more.

Your next home doesn’t need to be a blank slate, but this is the time to get rid of all that stuff that doesn't really speak to you or match your new lifestyle. And next time, buy slowly and really think about what you want before draining your checking account.

8. Cords and cables

You don’t know how it happened, but suddenly you have 34 micro-USB cables and seven random charging cables that belong to electronics that stopped working three years ago.  I still have my Palm charger somewhere in my desk!

Save yourself from future headaches, and get rid of duplicates now—as well as anything that doesn’t have electronics to go with it.  

9. Paperwork

Go through all your old paperwork, setting aside the paperwork you should keep (tax records, closing documents, recent bank statements) and ditching everything that’s  no longer needed —like old insurance policies. Create a filing system you’ll stick to, since that paperwork’s gonna keep coming, and promise yourself you’ll go through it once a year. 


10. Books and Magazines

Do you know how heavy books and magazines are to move? Get some boxes from the greengrocer section of your local Giant and thin out your collection of books. Take them to the library or a nursing home.  Throw the magazines into the paper recycling bin! Anything in those magazines is online - get rid of them! 



Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 11/02/2016 11:59 PM
  2. Debra Leisek 11/03/2016 05:57 PM
  3. Gabe Sanders 11/16/2016 02:00 PM
Home Selling
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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I will bookmark this post and share with others. I am not moving but will do some of the things .

Nov 05, 2016 09:44 AM #51
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

And on a further note... try to resist the urge to buy any more "stuff" as it all just ends up in the landfill sooner or later.  Of course in this consumer based society it's hard to abide by.

Nov 05, 2016 10:58 AM #52
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

When we moved we donated about a thousand books. It hurt, we always wanted a library in our home and we had the books to start a good sized one. We just didn't want to move them two more times.

Great post by the way with good points.

Nov 05, 2016 01:26 PM #53
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Books ,magazines, and old clothes are my downfall. Very hard for me to toss these. 

Nov 05, 2016 10:54 PM #54
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Such great advice Lise Howe & how we ourselves learn from it...every year I have a purge!!

Nov 05, 2016 11:44 PM #55
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

It's the best feeling to weed out items that are no longer needed, even if you aren't moving!  I try to do just one drawer or  cupboard at a time, and that way it never gets overwhelming.

Nov 06, 2016 01:28 AM #56
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Lise!  I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Nov 06, 2016 02:17 AM #57
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Patricia Kennedy - thank you so much! How was the meetup yesterday? 

Nov 06, 2016 03:08 AM #58
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This is good advice.  I have clients that call me to move after they have been in their home for 5+ years.  They still have boxes in the basement from their last move that never got unpacked!  Madness!  Purging is good for you, whether you are moving or not.

Nov 06, 2016 03:35 AM #59
David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

I like the idea of thinning out the duplicates, lots I did not know we had.

Nov 06, 2016 06:23 AM #60
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I can agree with ALMOST everything on your list.  But I used my juicer today and it gets used 4 to 7 times every week.  And well.... I'm keeping my books.  But I am in the beginning planning stages of my next and last move (well before the nursing home or cemetery)  and it's time to start thinning.  I am going to do the hang the clothes backwards and if they are still there in a year untouched they go.  and the paperwork... as soon as it rains I'm going to have a burning party for years and years of records.  We have 14 years of paid bills in this house.  

Nov 06, 2016 09:42 AM #61
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Congratulations on being awarded a feature for an outstanding post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Nov 06, 2016 11:45 AM #62
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

But Lise, I am going to need all of those things at the new place too, especially the snow-globes.

Nov 06, 2016 12:01 PM #63
Caroline Gerardo
CMG Financial - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

I changed my life from 3500 square foot house with ocean view small lot to

1000 house 188 acres. It's hard to get rid of things BUT I put ads on freecycle and gave away furniture, books, pool equipment, all kinds of things that made other people happy to come pick them up. It was a joy to let go and make someone else smile. I think this made it easier than boxing up and getting a write off

Nov 07, 2016 04:25 AM #64
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Great list and suggestions here, Lise Howe.  When we downsized after the kids were grown from a 3500+ sq. ft. house to a much smaller one ... we dumped, winnowed, donated, pitched, awarded, shared a zillion things.  Not any easy thing to do ... but well worth it ...  


Nov 08, 2016 05:52 AM #65
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Lise.  Great tips for those that are making that dreaded move.

Nov 08, 2016 08:46 PM #66
Steven Beam
RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate. - Parker, CO
Parker Colorado Real Estate

Ha. We have the same juicer as in the photo. Moved two years ago...thought about trashing it then but didn't...it's still sitting on the shelf in my pantry completely unused since we moved into this house. FYI - we did use it a lot for the first year. 

Nov 09, 2016 01:48 PM #67
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lise Howe - had the trip to my basement today - and realized I have saved big boxes of my old printers! (And printers are gone)

Nov 09, 2016 01:59 PM #68
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Hi Lise, I saw the snowglobes and it made me think about the couple of dozen or so I have. At least I don't feel compelled to buy more though I am not ready to get rid of any. I am buying less and less of everything as time goes on.

Jan 03, 2018 06:53 PM #69
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Checked through your post of list of things to dump when moving.  I find that we seemed to be well-attuned and in sync with your post and yes, some of it was hard to do.  Excellent post, Lise!!

Feb 28, 2018 10:34 PM #70
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