Moving abroad is the perfect time for change and fresh starts. Nothing says new beginnings quite like a change of scene, as setting up a new home is one of life’s greatest adventures. The one thing you don’t want when moving away, is to bring all the mess and junk from your old house with you. Decluttering your home might have been on your to-do list for a long time, but it’s difficult to find a moment that feels right to actually get the job done, so it can easily be put off. When you’re shipping items abroad, you don’t want to be paying to take anything that’s unnecessary, therefore it’s a good idea to choose what is and isn’t important.
Making the leap of faith to move abroad gives you the perfect opportunity to get rid of all those old clothes and belongings you never wear and start afresh. It may seem like a daunting task, but when broken down it can actually be quite easy. We’ll provide you with some ideas and tips as to how you can get started.
A Fresh Pair of Eyes
Imagine that you walk into your house and take a walk around, having never been inside before. You’re a stranger taking a look around the house. What do you see?
It’s easy to become accustomed to what our houses look like, when we’re so used to being in them, but when you take a step back from the clutter, it can help give you some ideas as to where to begin. Think about what is and isn’t important, what adds to the feel of the house, and what you wouldn’t miss if it were gone. If you don’t trust your own judgement, then call in a friend to have a look around and give you some suggestions. It’s a great way to start planning which rooms need to be prioritised, and which ones work well as they are.
Plan Your Time
The task of decluttering an entire home might fill you with dread, but we promise it’s not that difficult. Start planning your time, by thinking about how long you want to spend on the task, and when you need it done by. For example, you may want to allocate half hour sessions to cleaning and decluttering, which you continue to do in the evenings for a week or so, or maybe you want to get it done over a weekend, blitzing the place so that it’s clean within a matter of days. Choose what suits your schedule, and work with your partner or family to divide up your time.
Make a List
When it comes to planning and decluttering, there’s nothing quite like making a list. This will ensure that you know what needs to be done, and what’s left. Then the best part is getting to tick off everything as you do it.
Write down the different rooms that need to be tackled, and all the tasks within each room. The items on your list could include ornaments, furniture, drawers, electronics, books or utensils. A list is a good start when organising your home.
Think About Equipment
What equipment will you need in order to complete the task at hand? Chances are, you’ll probably want some cleaning and decluttering items such as sticky notes and a pen, bin bags and boxes. You can label the containers with the different uses of each box or bag, for example ‘charity shop’ or ‘bin’. This way, you know exactly where everything is going once it leaves your house, and it’s easy to transport the items away.
Fill A Bin Bag
If you’re struggling to get started on the task of decluttering, then a great way to get the ball rolling is by filling up a bin bag. You could even make it competitive with your partner if you want. Grab a bin bag each and set a timer to see who can fill it first – be careful to only throw away junk, and not get too carried away in the competitive spirit.
Wardrobes can be a big task, as sorting out clothes can be time one of the most time-consuming parts of decluttering your home. If you have lots of shoes, tops and jeans that you need to get rid of, consider giving them to friends, selling them online, or giving them to a charity shop so they’re not wasted. Try using the ‘one year’ rule and think about whether you’ve worn the item in the last year. This is a good indicator as to how much you still really need the item of clothing or not – or perhaps it may need to be a ‘two years’ rule, allowing for all the comfortable clothes that have been worn over and over again during the pandemic.
A quick way to make your home instantly feel less cluttered, is by getting rid of any furniture you don’t want shipped to your new house abroad. Think about whether you need extra dressers, bedside tables or bookcases, or whether you want to start over. Charity shops are always keen to take sofas and tables, which they can then sell on without any waste – someone will be delighted to buy your lovely sofa at a discounted price. Call around local charity shops and see if you can arrange a collection.
Begrudgingly clearing up your bedroom might make you feel like a teenager again, but it’s a good way to ensure that you don’t take any unnecessary items abroad with you. Work with a partner or friends at clearing out any junk from drawers and getting rid of nick-nacks that you have no use for – the bedroom is often the prime culprit for useless clutter. Sweep through your bookcase to see if there are any titles you simply aren’t going to read, or any books you’ll never return to. If there are some things you want to keep, but not allow them to clutter up your new home, then put them in a storage container and have them put away in the garage or attic, so that they take up less space and don’t gather dust.
When sorting through children’s bedrooms, be careful not to get rid of too much of their clothes and toys, as having familiar items may help them settle into their new home. Be sure to ask your children what is important to them and encourage them to help with the process of getting rid of things they don’t want.
Use the ‘Four Box’ Method
The four-box method is a great way of staying organised when you declutter your home. With a pen and labels, you can select where each of your items needs to end up, between four boxes. Label the boxes ‘bin’, ‘give away’, ‘keep’ and ‘relocate’. This helps you start packing for your move, as you fill the ‘keep’ box, whilst also get rid of any unwanted mess during the process. It can really help you figure out what’s important to you, and what can be rehomed.
Hire A Cleaner
At the end of all your decluttering, you deserve a well-earned sit down. The house may be looking emptier at this point, as all the cobwebs and dust have probably been uprooted as you moved. Hiring a cleaner to come and do a sweep-through of your house is recommended, as they’ll have all the professional kit, and you can sit down for the afternoon, after all that hard work decluttering. Your house will be clean and clear, and you’ll be able to look to the future with a smile on your face, knowing that everything you unpack in your new home has been carefully selected.
Decluttering your house can be a long process, but when moving abroad, it’s for the best. You’ll find that your home seems fresh and new again, and you’ll have far less of your old belongings and your old life to take with you. Only the necessitates, and items that really make your home warm and welcoming, will arrive in your new home, saving you money on the shipping, and time when unpacking.
When you unpack in your new place, you’ll have the peace of mind that your new home won’t be full of things you don’t need, as you can start fresh with the people, and the décor, that really matters. We wish you the best of luck with the move, and are sure you’ll make as many happy memories in your new home abroad, as you did in your previous one – especially now that it’s clutter-free.