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The #1 Most Difficult Thing About Moving

When I meet with a home seller client, the very first thing we do is tour the home together. As we walk through each room, we engage in a detailed discussion about its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Over the last 19 years of my real estate career, it’s been my experience that homeowners appreciate my honest and direct approach. They obviously want to make top dollar in the sale of their home and realize the need to make some changes. What’s the number one change to make the biggest impact? Purging all their clutter and junk.

Having lived in the home for years, clutter has accumulated to overwhelming levels. This, I believe, is one of the primary reasons why people dread moving. They struggle to confront the sheer volume of their personal belongings and the daunting task of deciding what to do with everything. It’s too bad that most people wait until they sell the home to do this.

Why Declutter?

Before diving into the how, it’s important to understand the why. Decluttering offers a myriad of benefits:

  1. Mental Clarity: A clutter-free environment can reduce stress and improve mental focus, creating a more serene and productive atmosphere. After most of my clients have purged their home in preparation to sell, it’s quite common to hear them say, “We should have done this a long time ago!”
  2. Increased Efficiency: With fewer items to manage, you’ll spend less time searching for things, streamlining your daily routines.
  3. Enhanced Aesthetics: A tidy home is more visually appealing, fostering a sense of pride and comfort.
  4. Financial Gains: Selling unwanted items can provide extra income, while donations can offer tax benefits and the satisfaction of helping others.

Step-by-Step Guide to Purging Clutter and Junk

1. Prepare and Plan
  • Set Clear Goals: Identify which areas of your home need the most attention. Prioritize high-traffic zones like the kitchen, living room, and bedroom.
  • Gather Supplies: Equip yourself with trash bags, recycling bins, and boxes labeled “Keep,” “Donate,” and “Sell.” Don’t hesitate to acknowledge that you might need to call a dumpster company. It’s a very easy and efficient way to get rid of extra junk and in my opinion, well worth the expense.
  • Schedule Time: Allocate specific times for decluttering sessions and put it on your calendar if necessary. Breaking the task into manageable chunks can make the process less overwhelming.
2. Sort and Categorize
  • Use the Four-Box Method: As you go through each room, place items into one of four boxes: Keep, Donate, Sell, and Trash. This helps organize the process and makes decisions easier.
  • Tackle One Room at a Time: Focus on one area before moving on to the next. This prevents clutter from spreading and helps you see progress more quickly.
  • Be Decisive: If you haven’t used an item in the past year, consider whether it truly adds value to your life. Sentimental items can be exceptions, but try to limit these. I watched a video on decluttering once and the speaker said to ask the question, “Does this item bring you joy? If not, get rid of it.”
3. Declutter Strategically
  • Closets and Wardrobes: Remove all clothing and accessories, trying on items to ensure they still fit and suit your current style. Donate or sell anything you no longer wear.
  • Kitchen: Clear out cabinets and pantry shelves, discarding expired food and donating non-perishables you won’t use. Streamline kitchen gadgets to those you use regularly.
  • Living Spaces: Evaluate furniture, decor, and entertainment items. Keep only what enhances the room’s function and aesthetic.
  • Home Office: Shred outdated documents and organize essential paperwork. Consider digitizing files to reduce physical clutter.
4. Dispose Responsibly
  • Trash and Recycling: Properly dispose of trash and recycle items whenever possible. E-waste like old electronics should be taken to designated recycling centers.
  • Donations: Choose local charities or thrift stores to donate usable items. Some organizations offer pick-up services for large donations.
  • Sell: Use online marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or local consignment shops to sell valuable items.
5. Organize What Remains
  • Invest in Storage Solutions: Use bins, baskets, and shelving to keep remaining items organized and accessible.
  • Label Everything: Clearly label storage containers to easily locate items in the future.
  • Establish Maintenance Routines: Regularly review and declutter areas to prevent clutter from accumulating again.
6. Shift Your Mindset
  • Adopt Mindful Consumption: Be deliberate about new items you bring into your home. Focus on quality over quantity and prioritize things that add value to your life.
  • Practice Gratitude: Appreciate the items you choose to keep and the space you’ve created. A sense of gratitude can help maintain a clutter-free environment.


Purging your home of clutter and junk is a transformative process that extends beyond mere physical tidying. It fosters a sense of mental clarity, efficiency, and tranquility, allowing you to live more intentionally. By following this step-by-step guide, you can reclaim your space and create a home that truly reflects your best self. Embrace the journey of decluttering, and enjoy the myriad benefits of a well-organized, junk-free home.

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