Whether you’re a hoarder or a purger, or somewhere in between, some things just need to go before making a move. I personally am a purger, every now and then I have a strong urge to throw everything away, and you’ll find me trudging around my house with a big box throwing in odds and ends. But there are always items that survive the purge and live to see another day.

If you’re planning a move, whether it be in town, out of state, or international, this is the time to take a hard look at what is actually worth taking with you.

Let’s think about the financial, physical, and emotional cost of keeping items versus throwing (or donating) them away.

Hazardous Items

Some items are just unsafe to bring along with you. If you’re moving around the corner, you may be able to get away with bringing these along with you, but in most cases you will want to safely toss these items:

*Note: it is illegal for moving companies to transport these items, so if you plan on hiring a moving company, these things will definitely have to go.

  • Aerosol cans
  • Ammonia
  • Liquid bleach
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Some fertilizers
  • Ammunition
  • Charcoal lighter fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Paint thinners, paints, and varnishes
  • Pesticides, poisons, and weed killers

Remember that disposing of household hazardous waste isn’t as simple as throwing it in the trash. Read the item’s labels for instructions on how to best dispose. Your local community should also have some hazardous waste disposal sites designated for these types of items. Do not pour liquids down the drain or into the environment.

Heavy or unloved furniture

Remember when I said we would be weighing the physical and financial cost of our items? The financial and physical cost of moving furniture is high… so you need to make sure you really love it before you plan to take it.

If you are hiring a moving company for a long distance move, the financial cost can be huge. According to Pricing Van Lines, it can cost anywhere between $400 and $2000 to move each piece of furniture. And many moving companies have fees that rise rapidly after your load moves beyond a certain weight limit. So that $400 Rooms to Go pull out couch will probably cost more to move than to buy again in your new town.

Maybe you’re doing the move solo, without a hired moving company. You will still need to consider the cost of moving all of your furniture because you may need to purchase an additional moving pod or larger moving truck. But in this case, the true cost of moving all of your furniture is the physical cost. You will pay a physical toll of disassembling, loading, unloading, and re-assembling your furniture. It is a lot of work to move without help, and everything you toss before moving is one more thing you don’t need to prepare, sort, catalogue, move, and unload into your new home.

Never used items

This one might be controversial, but hear me out.

You may be holding onto boxes of your son’s schoolwork from decades ago, but how sentimental is it… if you never look at it? Some things are worth keeping, and maybe you kept everything because you didn’t know what you would truly cherish the most in the future. But the future has arrived, and making a move is a great excuse to go through all of the old keepsakes and sort out only a few items worth keeping. When we have too much stuff, sentimental or not, we actually use and enjoy it less. When you have 3-4 great keepsakes from your child’s school age years, you can find ways to store and showcase them in your life, to look back on and reminisce.

This applies to all sentimental items stored in the attic, under stairs, in closets, and under beds. If these items are associated with a person, designate one box for each person, and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit in the box.

Let’s move on to less sentimental (but still unused) items:

Why do you need 4 whisks? I know you don’t whisk every day. And even if you did, a fork will do on the day that your whisk is in the dishwasher.

Get rid of everything extra, and you’ll be shocked at how little you actually need.

Do you know what happens when the one spatula you own is dirty? You wash it real quick and use it again. And suddenly the never-ending pile of dirty dishes… ends.

Now is the time to sell, donate, or trash any doubles, extras, or singles that you just don’t use. Here are some rules that I use to decide if it’s time for something to go:

  1. Have I used or worn this in the last year? No? Trash.
  2. Do I have one of these already? Yes? Trash.
  3. Do I still like this item? Will I wear it or display it in my home? No? Trash?

You will feel resistance the first few times you purge- just think of each item as something you don’t need to pack, load, move, unload, and unpack. We’re talking about hours of time back into your life when you compound hundreds of items.

Get tossing- you got this!!!

Looking for next steps after the purge? Download my packing checklist to make sure everything is packed in a logical order, and makes it into the moving truck.

Moving Tips and Tricks

Throw Away these Things Before a Big Move

January 30, 2023

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I'm passionate about helping people make moves. From out-of-state, to cross country, to international- I've done it all! Stick around for moving checklists, packing checklists, relocation guides, moving tips, and of course real-world insight from me!

Oh, hi. It's me- Laura.