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 analyze 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 inaugural 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!

Once you are ready for the move, then of course you need a home in which to move all your treasures.  If you are looking for a home in Bethesda or anywhere else in the DC metro area, be sure to give the Lise Howe Group a call at 240-401-5577 or email us at Lise@lisehowe.com. We will find you the perfect home!