Well it’s been a couple months now since I moved and the process of packing and unpacking all my stuff has been enlightening. It’s shown me both how far I’ve come and how far I have left to go. Here is the best part:

I moved ALL my stuff (including furniture) in just one hour. Seriously ONE HOUR. That includes 15 minutes of driving between my old place and my new place. Becoming a minimalist made my move MUCH easier and way less stressful.

Now, full disclosure, I did hire movers (I am very small and can’t really carry a mattress and box spring on my own) but because I only needed them for one hour, the cost was comparable to renting a U-Haul and driving it myself. I also had enough furniture and stuff to fill my bedroom, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Basically I had the equivalent of a fully furnished one bedroom apartment (although I actually lived in a two bedroom apartment with a roommate).

First, here are the things that I minimalized very successfully:

– Books
– Clothes
– Shoes
– Kitchen stuff
– Furniture

Paring down those five categories can help anyone’s move go much more smoothly. I would also recommend seriously questioning keeping anything breakable. If an object is a real pain to move, think long and hard about whether or not it’s worth keeping. Could you sell it on craigslist and have someone come pick it up and give you cash for it?

When you look at getting rid of clothes before a move, I would recommend culling anything that is dry-clean only first. Those clothes are expensive to maintain and involve hauling around heavy garment bags. This goes doubly for old coats – they are huge and heavy, and there are many charities that desperately need gently-used winter coats.

There are some other heavy items that I would suggest thinking twice before moving. Are these things really worth the trouble of moving them? Here are some things that I am very grateful that I did not have to move (and that you will be too):

– A couch (I gave mine to my roommate)
– A TV (I don’t own one)
– Breakable knick knacks (with one exception I don’t have any)
– A sound system or game console (I don’t own them)
– A desktop computer (I have a laptop)

If you have any of these items and have been wavering on whether to hold onto them or to part with them, an impending move may push you to sell or donate them.

Even though my move is done I still have lots of paring down to do. These are the things that I look forward to paring down on:

– Furniture (I still have a couple smaller things that I can get rid of)
– Kitchen stuff (as I figure out what I need for my new kitchen there are things that I can donate)
– Clothes (seriously, I have a lot of clothes)
– Random electronics (I have an assortment of small electronics devices that are broken)
– Random bathroom stuff (I have some drugs and medicines that I need to figure out how to safely dispose of)
– Shoes (I can see the light at the end of the shoe tunnel)

Moving is such a great opportunity to get rid of excess stuff because you really feel the pain and burden of owning things that you don’t use. It’s just SO MUCH effort to move things to a new house.

I’d love to hear your tips for paring down before a move.