Last night I dreamt that I was moving house, and that inspired me to write this week’s blog on how to move without the pain. Moving house is one of the most stressful life events we can undertake according to research, but my theory is that most of the angst is caused by clutter.

What Makes It Worse?

One of the worst aspects of moving is packing up all your belongings. You’ve spent years, sometimes decades collecting these possessions, and unless you are an avid de-clutterer you will have gained a lot of stuff over the years. Some of you will pay the removal service to pack for you, and this does save a lot of time and effort. However I urge you not to do this.

Is It Worth It?

Instead pack your own belongings, because the most positive aspect of moving house is that it is the best opportunity to de-clutter that you will ever have. When you move house you are forced to get out, look at and assess every single item in your home and say to yourself “Is this worth the effort of packing, paying to have transported, and unpacking at the other end?”

Many of the items will warrant a “No” response. It’s amazing how moving house focuses your mind upon what you really use and want. Possessions that you thought you wanted, or felt attached to, items that you were previously convinced would be useful one day, suddenly lose their appeal.

It’s as though a fog falls from your vision and for the first time you see these things for what they really are: dusty, forgotten, obsolete clutter. Clutter that it would be pointless to wrap up, pack, and take to your new home. It was no effort to chuck them in the attic or a cupboard, but suddenly when some effort is required you realise that the object is just not worth it.

What Can You Live Without?

When you know that you’re moving house you often, and very sensibly, start packing several months in advance. You begin by packing all the things you don’t use on a daily basis, and will often be surprised at the vast number of your possessions which fall into this category.

Then only at the last minute do you pack the items that you really value and use, and that are essential to your life and well-being. It can often come as a shock to realise how little you actually need for day-to-day living. Surrounded by boxes of possessions which you have lived quite happily without for several weeks or even months, you may have even forgotten what those boxes contain by moving day.

Why Do You Have All This Stuff?

If at this point you begin to wonder why you even own this stuff and if you get the impulse to ditch any of these boxes, then I would encourage you wholeheartedly to do so.

Packing is hard work, but that’s nothing compared to unpacking it all at the other end. Some people find that even years later there are some boxes that never got unpacked. So assess the situation. If you haven’t used these items for years, you’ve forgotten what they are, and you clearly don’t miss them, then why do you have them?

A Golden Opportunity

Moving house is a golden opportunity to de-clutter, so don’t waste this chance; take full advantage of it and your moving pains will be greatly reduced.