What to Ditch Before Moving to a New House

Woman packing boxes

It’s not every day you have the opportunity (or motivation) to take stock of every household possession—from items in dark closet corners to long-unopened bins and catch-all drawers. The thought of it might not spark joy, at least not at first. But when framed within the context of moving to a new house, you might find it a rewarding process, even exciting. Think about it: the more effectively you get rid of clutter, the less you’ll have to move and the easier it’ll be to set up your new abode. So grab a donation box and get sorting with these tips on what to ditch and what to keep when you move.


Is there an old table or set of chairs just hanging out in the basement that you don’t really need? Or maybe you want to donate what you have and purchase a new set for the new home (that’d certainly save on moving costs). Note every bed, shelf, chair set and table, deciding if it’s really something you want to keep when you move.

TIP: If donating, make sure to check with your local centers to confirm which items they’ll accept. Not sure where to begin? Check out this article for several well-known organizations that accept household goods.


As with furniture, you just might want a new look. If there’s any artwork or décor that you don’t see fitting in the new home, you’ll find it easier to ditch before the big move.


Some people are super-organizers, filing away more paperwork than necessary. Others let random documents, magazines and junk mail pile up for lack of any organizational system. If you fall in either camp, moving to a new house might be the perfect occasion for pulling out the shredder, lest you end up trucking reams of unnecessary paperwork to your next home. You probably also have the option of using a shredding service to professionally dispose of documents you no longer need. Consumer Reports has a handy article for what paperwork to toss or keep (and for how long).


Unused clothing tends to hang out in our closets longer than many of us would like to admit. “But I’ll wear it someday,” you might say to yourself.  And maybe you will! But how much are you really willing to box up and relocate? It might be less than you think.


Ever found that your children’s toys seem to multiply faster than their ability to use them or your ability to organize them? Well, here’s your chance to restore order!  This could also be a great opportunity for your kids to practice charity, knowing that toys they don’t play with anymore will make another child’s day.


Unless you’re a serious audiophile, you probably stream most of your music rather than spinning vinyl or playing CDs. Still, some of us haul around our old and dusty albums out of nostalgia. If you can bear to part with it, donating or even selling your collection (vinyl has an avid collector’s market) could help tidy up the moving process.


Books are another item that many people now access digitally. If you find yourself more often reaching for the e-reader instead of a paperback, then you might want to consider clearing out the bookshelf before moving to a new house. And if you’ve ever carried boxes of books before, you know they can be surprisingly heavy.

Kitchen items

Most people have at least one kitchen tool that sits in the drawer or on the countertop and never gets used. Another reason to ditch certain kitchen items is that they won’t match the aesthetic or design of the house you’re moving to, or maybe you just have old dishes or appliances that you’re ready to replace.

Now that you’ve figured out what to keep when moving to a new house, we hope you’ll find our other Packing & Moving articles useful in the transition!

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