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Deciding Whether to Take It or to Leave It

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Deciding whether to take it or leave it during a move is most individual’s least favorite activity to partake in. In fact most couples that were surveyed admitted to fighting over this very step of the moving checklist at least once during their move. This is understandable considering that often times we tend to create attachments to our material possession, even if we do not need them or use them anymore. This psychological attachment can be rather strong at times and usually present itself as, “I may need this in the future so I can’t get rid of it,” and what usually occurs is an attic, basement, or closet filled with items that no longer have a place in your life.

When moving it can be tough to sift through all of these items and be objective when deciding whether to take it or leave it. On some level you may be aware that packing up an entire closet filled with miscellaneous items that are never used is impractical and fiscally and spatially irresponsible, but yet getting out the garbage bag to toss them out can seem like an overwhelming task.

So that is what we are going to be discussing in this portion of the moving checklist, how to decide what to take and what leave when you are moving to a new place. While we can’t tell you specifically whether you need to bring that third set of china or whether you should try to find another home for it, we can offer some practical suggestions for uncluttering your move and therefore uncluttering your life.

Why You Shouldn’t Bring Everything With You When You Move

To get the most obvious reason out of the way, the reason you shouldn’t just pack up the entirety of your home or apartment and bring it with you to your new place is because this is an unnecessary expense. Even if you are planning on doing the move yourself, having to pack every nook and cranny of your old place and take it with you is going to mean that you need more boxes, more packing material, more tape and more space in what truck you decide to rent. Not to mention that it is going to result in you spending a lot more time packing and moving then if you spend some time deciding whether to take it or leave it.

Beyond the financial and time expense that packing up everything in your apartment brings, it also stands to reason that not everything needs to come with you. Your junk draw in the kitchen probably doesn’t need to come with you to the new apartment (although probably don’t throw out batteries or nails because they are always useful.) The same can be said for things stowed away in your attic or basement.

If you have kids then you may have some of their old toys or bikes put away in these corners of your home. If these items were relegated to these spots while you lived in your current home then it makes sense that they absolutely do not need to come with you.

What you will find by giving up some of these possession is that you not only create more space in your new place, but you also enter your new home with a fresh start. This is not to say that you leave the memories you made behind you, but rather that you create the space (both physically and metaphorically) to create new memories and new meaning in your home. This may sound sort of flighty or wordy but it is true.

Our living space tends to have a major impact on our psychological wellness and so if our living space is cluttered with things we do not need or things that we are simply holding on to because we cannot let them go, then our interior life can tend to mimic this. But by letting go of some of these things and starting over a new, we create the interior space within ourselves to move on to a new chapter of our lives and therefore also allow the transition of moving to go more smoothly.

Deciding Whether to Take it or Leave it

You may be wondering at this point just exactly how to go about deciding whether to take it or leave it in terms of your move. And really the simplest answer to that is you have to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are going to ever use, or need to use that item ever again. What’s more is even if you believe that some point in the future you may need that particular item, if it can be replaced cheaply then you may want to get rid of it.

We understand that if going through your belongings deciding whether to take it or leave it was that simple then there would be no need for this guide, and so to offer some practical suggestions, let’s start with breaking down this task into steps.

The first thing that you will want to do, and it is similar to figuring out how much you need to move, you will want to go room by room. If you attempt to just go around the house at random and discard items, you will more than likely become overwhelmed rather quickly and be unable to actually leave anything behind.

When you break down the task into manageable portions you give your mind the ability to focus and you are then able to better visualize what place that item has in you life. It is also best to do things in this manner because you are following a methodical plan, which can also allow you to set aside items that you do not want to throw away, but maybe want to sell, or give to a friend or family member.

While going room to room you will want to come up with four different categories for items:

  •     Items you are going to take with you
  •     Items you can throw away
  •     Items you want to sell
  •     Items you want to give to family or friends

The items that can be thrown away should be gotten rid of immediately, as this will not give you time to waver or regret having put them in that pile. The items that you want to sell should be put in one place in your apartment or home, so that you can later go through them and begin the process of deciding how much you would like for each item. The same can be said for items that you are going to give away, although if they are larger items like that 4th TV you have stored in your basement, then just make a note of it so you don’t forget later on.

There will not doubt be some possession that you have that you are not sure whether you should bring them with you or not and when you come up against this, just put them to the side and sleep on it. Most of the time you will find that when you wake up the next day you will know what to do.

So if you are currently stressing out about having to clear out some of your belongings for a move, we hope that this guide helped you somewhat, and remember to take it easy and try to enjoy the process.