Decluttering and Simplifying Before Your Move

Decluttering your home can free up space, promote organization and productivity, and reduce stress. If you're relocating, it has even more benefits. Having fewer items can lower your moving expenses and make it easier to unpack in your new place. Whether you're moving or just want a cleaner and calmer home, the tips and ideas below will help you declutter and simplify what you own.

Getting Started

If you've lived in your current home for years and haven't made a constant, deliberate effort to keep clutter to a minimum, this process takes time. Start several months in advance of your move, if you can. If you don't have much time, set a smaller goal like decluttering just one or two rooms. To make the biggest difference, start with the rooms that make you feel stressed when you're in them.
Be patient with yourself
Don't try to declutter every single room in your home at once or it will be overwhelming. Instead, set aside time every week to tackle just one location at a time. Start by cleaning out a closet, a few cupboards, or even a single desk drawer.
Take before and after pictures
Before you begin, take before pictures of each room. On days when you feel like you haven't made much of a dent, you can look back and feel proud of the progress you've made.
Set up a staging area
Designate an area in your home to collect the things you no longer need. Label some large boxes with the words Donate, Recycle, Trash, and Still Deciding, so you can start organizing and collecting items.
Decide what to keep and what to toss
  • Throw away medicine or food that's expired.
  • Think about unpacking the item and taking time to find a space for it in your new home. Is it worth the effort?
  • If something has sentimental value, take a picture of it to preserve the memory and then get rid of the item. Pictures take up a lot less space.
  • Let go of projects you started long ago but never finished. If you didn't make time to refinish that antique chair or learn to play guitar in your old place, chances are good you won't make time to do these things in your new one. Give away or recycle these items and give yourself permission to move on.
  • If you really can't make a decision about an item, pack it and put a future date on it for some time after your move. If you haven't opened the box by the time that date arrives, then it's time to let it go.
Sell, donate, recycle
Use the following ideas to make a little extra money, help out a nonprofit, and reduce what ends up in landfills.
  • Have a garage sale.
  • Sell items through an online auction site like eBay.
  • Sell used clothing to a consignment store.
  • Donate clothing and household items to a local charity. (You may be able to get a tax deduction for these items, so ask for a receipt.)
  • Trade in your electronics at Best Buy. Visit our online Trade-In Center to find out what your gently used game, laptop, cell phone, tablet, camera or other device is worth.
  • Check out the Best Buy Recycling Center. We recycle nearly all electronics and large appliances for free, even if you didn't buy them from us.


Simplifying the Living Room

Streamline your media collection
  • Put your entertainment library in the cloud – Services like Flixster, Ultraviolet or Vudu let you convert your CDs and DVDs to digital versions. Then you can stream and watch from your smartphone, tablet, game console, streaming media player or other device.
  • Subscribe to a streaming service – Check out popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify and Pandora. If they have your favorite movies and songs, you might decide to subscribe to a service and then sell or recycle your hard copies. Keep in mind, the selection of movies and music offered by streaming subscription services sometimes changes, so your favorites may not be around forever.
  • If you're not ready to go digital – Gather up your entire collection of DVDs, CDs, Blu-ray Discs and games, and remove what you no longer use. Then decide on a media cabinet, shelving unit or other storage container that fits the décor of your new home. Save space by recycling the plastic cases and using CD or DVD sleeves.
Manage wires and cords

Before you start packing your electronics and other components, consider how you will manage cords in your new place. Hiding unruly wires can make a room look less cluttered.
  • Go wireless – If you don't already have one, consider upgrading to a wireless home network as part of your move. Then any of your entertainment devices that are Wi-Fi–ready or have built-in Wi-Fi can connect to the Internet without a cord. Wi-Fi–ready devices will also need a wireless adapter. For help setting up your wireless home network, contact our Geek Squad® professionals to set up an appointment.
  • Use powerline adapters – Powerline adapters move your Internet connection from one room to another through your electrical wiring. This is a good way to reduce cord clutter if you're moving to a large house with areas that will be hard to reach wirelessly, as you won't have to snake cords through multiple rooms. Install several powerline adapters to share the signal with a variety of smart devices.
     
  • Bundle and hide cords
    • Hide multiple cords with specially designed cord cover kits or cable management sleeves
    • Bundle cords together with Velcro or color-coded straps
    • Drill a small hole in the top or side of a TV stand to thread cords through
    • Use a wall plate to pass cords through a wall
     
  • Quick tip – Take pictures of the front and back of your TV and other components before you pack them, so when you unpack you'll remember where cords go.
More Ideas
  • Mount your flat-screen TV – This can free up a tremendous amount of space in your new home. Some TV mounts tilt and swivel, so it's easy to view your TV from anywhere in the room. Mounted TVs are also safer because they won't fall over if someone bumps into them.
  • Switch to a universal remote – Do you have separate remotes for your TV, DVD player, cable box, gaming system and other devices? Eliminate this mess and use one remote to control it all.


Organizing Your Office

Go Paperless
  • Move your files to the cloud – Check out cloud storage services like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud Drive and Box. Choose the one that's best for you by comparing what devices they support, storage limits, file size limits, monthly prices, and how they let you access and upload your data. Many services offer a limited amount of storage space for free.
     
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  • Use an external hard drive with personal cloud storage – Some external hard drives provide you with your own personal cloud, which lets you save all your files on the hard drive and then access them from anywhere using an Internet-connected device.
  • Set up online banking – Most banks let you access your statements online and offer free online bill pay services.
  • Scan receipts on the go – Portable scanners, like NeatReceipt, let you scan receipts, business cards and other documents on the go, so you can get rid of the paper without losing the information you need.
Organize your documents
Divide your documents into four categories to help with organization:
  • Active files – Bank statements, receipts, bills, health records, insurance policies and other paperwork you refer to on a regular basis.
  • Inactive files – Tax returns, loan documents and other records you don't refer to often, but still need to keep, are inactive.
  • Safe deposit box – Any permanent documentation such as your social security card, birth certificate, marriage license and car title should be kept in a fireproof safe.
  • Recycle – Protect yourself from identity theft by shredding any unnecessary paperwork that contains personal or financial information.
For information about how long to keep financial documents and other paperwork, check websites like USA.gov and IRS.gov.
Make sure everything has a home
Take note of what's cluttering your desk, and in your new place, make sure those items have a place to live. For example:
  • Designate a drawer for your stapler, tape dispenser and other office items.
  • Set a standing file holder on your desk for projects that are in progress, and create a separate file for each project. When you're ready to work on a project, pull its corresponding file out of the holder, and then when you're done, put it back. This keeps paper from cluttering your desk while making your top priorities easy to see.
Create a charging station
Use the station as a place to charge and store mobile devices when they're not being used, and then you'll always know where your devices are.
Manage wires and cords
Before you start packing your office electronics, consider how you will manage cords in your new place. Hiding unruly wires can make a room look less cluttered.
  • Go wireless – If you don't already have one, consider upgrading to a wireless home network as part of your move. Then any of your devices that are Wi-Fi–ready or have built-in Wi-Fi can connect to the Internet without a cord. Wi-Fi–ready devices will also need a wireless adapter. For help setting up your wireless home network, contact our Geek Squad® professionals to set up an appointment.
  • Use powerline adapters – Powerline adapters move your Internet connection from one room to another through your electrical wiring. This is a good way to reduce cord clutter if you're moving to a large house with areas that will be hard to reach wirelessly, as you won't have to snake cords through multiple rooms. Install several powerline adapters to share the signal with a variety of smart devices.
     
  • Bundle and hide cords
    • Hide multiple cords with specially designed cord cover kits or cable management sleeves
    • Bundle cords together with Velcro or color-coded straps
    • Drill a small hole in the top of a desk to thread cords through
    • Use a wall plate to pass cords through a wall
     
Quick tip – Take pictures of the front and back of your computer and other components before you pack them, so when you unpack you'll remember where cords go.


Streamlining the Kitchen

Declutter your kitchen with some simple steps:
  • Go through your fridge, freezer and pantry and throw out any expired food items.
  • Recycle any cookbooks or food magazines you haven't used in the last year.
  • Remove any kitchen utensils or gadgets you never use.
  • Donate or recycle extra dishes or gadgets you don't need, like that extra set of salt and pepper shakers you rarely use.
  • Consolidate kitchen tools. If you have a citrus juicer and a lemon squeezer, do you really need both? Keep the tool you reach for most often and find a new home for the other.
Streamline your small appliances
Before packing your small appliances, pull them out of your cupboards and divide them into groups according to how often you use them.
Never
If appliances you never use are taking up space in your cabinets, it's time to find them a new home.
Special occasions
These are the appliances you use only once every couple months, on special occasions or during certain seasons. Your ice cream maker or waffle maker might fall into this category. Start with packing these appliances, and in your new home, store them on an upper shelf.
Daily
Appliances you use every day, like your toaster, coffee maker or SodaStream, belong on your countertop or in a low, easy-access cabinet. Pack these items last.
Clean out the junk drawer
In the kitchen, junk drawers become a collection spot for take-out menus, spare change and all sorts of items. Dump everything out of the drawer and sort the items into piles. Put pens, paper clips and other usable items back where they belong. Find homes for anything else you still need. If you don't remember what something is for, recycle it or throw it away.
Make sure everything has a home
Pay attention to what's cluttering your kitchen counter. Is it landing there because it doesn't have a designated spot? Find a storage area for each piece of clutter, so it always has a place to go when it's not being used.
  • Have a place in your pantry for shopping bags so they don't clutter your kitchen counter.
  • Leave space in a closet for backpacks, purses, laptop bags and briefcases so they don't get dropped at the door or on your counter.


Decluttering the Bedroom

Maximize closet space
Go through your clothes and donate anything you haven't worn in the last year. Put items that need repair or dry cleaning in a bag to drop off at your tailor or dry cleaner the next time you are out. Start packing any clothes that are not in season.
Remove bedroom furniture you don't use
If you have a couch or chair in your bedroom, do you actually sit in it, or has it become a dumping station for clothes? If it's just making it easy to leave your clothes in a pile instead of putting them away, recycle or donate it. End tables or nightstands you don't really use are another piece of furniture that probably need a new home.
Limit reading material
Restricting yourself to one piece of reading material on your nightstand will curb any book and magazine clutter in your bedroom. Keep the rest on shelves in your bedroom or in a different room altogether. E-readers are another good option, especially if you don't want to limit your reading selection at bedtime.
Set up zones in kids' bedrooms
Declutter a child's room by setting up zones or areas for reading, play, sleep and storage. This helps kids learn to put things back where they belong, and can help you keep belongings to a minimum.

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