Clutter has an amazing way of sneaking up on you – that pile of clothes you might fit into again one day, the stack of kids toys they outgrew years ago, the juicer you’ve used once, the set of retro dining chairs you were going to reupholster as a project one day back in 2006. Most of us unwittingly end up accumulating a whole lot of stuff we rarely use – and generally the less often you move house the more likely you are to build up clutter.

Moving house – while stressful – can also be cleansing and cathartic. For many of us, it’s a rare opportunity to go through everything we own and de-clutter our lives. It forces us to decide whether carting that dining chair reupholstering project to the new house is really worth it, or if it’s time to finally put them on Gumtree.

Decluttering before you move not only feels good, but it can help reduce the cost of moving too. And while maybe you will get inspired to reupholster those dining chairs one day, we’ve compiled a list of the things you should definitely try to cull before your moving day.

  1. Appliances you rarely or never use.
    The chocolate fountain seemed like a good idea at the time. But how often are you really busting that out to make chocolate fondue? Be honest and brutal with this one, as these appliances are often bulky to move and take up lots of room in your kitchen or pantry. Single-purpose (hi there, hot dog warmer), highly specialised (looking at you, apple spiraliser) or gimmicky appliances (penguin-shaped waffle maker, anyone?) should be first on the hit list. Check out our list on the ” 10 things everyone should cull before they move house.
  2. Half-used or expired toiletries, cosmetics and medications.
    These often end up getting taken to the next home in haste, because they’re fiddly to go through and the bathroom is generally one of the last rooms to be packed. But try to set aside some time to cull your toiletries and first aid cabinet. We promise you, you will never use the 27 mini shampoos you’ve collected from various hotels.  And they are a huge pain to clean up if they burst in your boxes or luggage when you move.
  3. Books you won’t ever read (or read again)
    Some say it’s sacrilegious to throw out books. They probably haven’t moved 15 boxes full of them up and down 3 flights of stairs. Look at your book collection and cull the ones you didn’t like, will never read, or won’t ever look at again. Outdated text books and daggy cookbooks should be the first to go – they’re heavy dust collectors. You will literally never look up what an accounting accrual is in your 1996 Accounting and Finance 1A textbook, nor will you have night terrors worrying about how the Country Women’s Association recommends you devil eggs.
  4. Cheap furniture
    Some furniture isn’t made to last and doesn’t move easily or well. And whilst it seems horribly wasteful and is not something we’d generally advocate, you should consider whether it’s more cost effective to sell or donate your IKEA bookshelf and buy a new one for your new place.
  5. Papers and archives
    It’s easy to accidentally hoard this kind of stuff, because nobody wants to spend their Saturday going through 10 years of bank statements and car loan records that have been stashed in a filing cabinet or box somewhere ‘just in case’. If they’re no longer needed for legal or audit trail purposes, be ruthless – this stuff is the epitome of clutter. Invest in a shredder to get rid of anything that may have personal details in it.
  6. Redundant tech gadgets
    The broken laptop; the iPhone you smashed 5 years ago; the 2MP webcam you used to have heavily blurred and pixelated video chats with;controllers, cables, cords and chargers that don’t seem to belong to anything. We probably all have a stash of this type of stuff somewhere in our home – it all looks so useful, it can be hard to get rid of (“BUT what if this old iPhone becomes COLLECTIBLE?”). But, realistically, it’s not useful. Get rid of it. Don’t forget some of this stuff is recyclable – but always erase personal data or destroy hard drives/SIMs/SD cards before you dispose of them.
  7. Old magazines
    Many of us are guilty of keeping big stacks of magazines in our homes – full of interesting sounding articles we’ll never read, home decorating tips we’ll never follow, fashion we’ll never be able to afford and delicious recipes we’ll never make. If you’re still not ready to let go of them just yet, tear out the pages of interest and put them into a folder and recycle the rest.
  8. Food
    Perishables are the obvious ones here – realistically you probably aren’t going to be able to move the entire contents of your fridge and freezer to your new home. Whatever you can’t use, donate or throw away. Use the move as an opportunity to cull your pantry too – lots of stuff in here like cans or jars of food – is heavy, breakable and not worth moving. Check use-by dates and throw out anything you don’t really use.
  9. Old or mismatched linen, towels and pillows
    Unless you’re going to use them to wrap breakables for your move, get rid of old linen, towels and pillows – the ones shoved to the back of your linen closet you always avoid using. They’re bulky to pack, and easily replaceable. If linen is still in decent condition try donating to your local Vinnies, otherwise animal shelters can often use old linen and towels.
  10. Novelty gifts and weird freebies
    It can be hard to pass up a freebie when one comes your way, “YES! I definitely want this plastic Vegemite placemat! What’s that, a free cap from my insurance company? YES PLEASE!”, but when the gloss and excitement of free stuff wears off, you’re just left with random, branded junk you’ll never use. Donate or throw it out.