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Our moving experience and why you should declutter NOW! | Don't Ever Look Back

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Our moving experience and why you should declutter NOW!

Our moving experience and why you should declutter NOW!

Recently we moved out of our 2-bedroom apartment and back to Amy’s parents’ house in preparation for our round-the-world adventure. Without going into too much detail and transforming this blog post into an extended rant about why moving sucks, let’s just say that this experience wasn’t easy!

If we could do it all over again, we would change a lot of things. While our overall plans and intentions were good, we made plenty of mistakes that ended up being quite costly both time-wise and financially. For those of you who will soon go through a similar experience and have to sell the majority of your belongings before traveling, if we could give you one tip and one tip only it’s this…

Declutter early!

For the love of god, please start sorting through your possessions at least 2-3 months before you move, if not earlier! We left it way too late and as a result we’re still stuck with at least 20 boxes of stuff (mostly crap we’re assuming), a full wardrobe of clothes and a few of our appliances.


Declutter before you move, not after!

Fortunately we have somewhere to put all of that excess stuff for now but most of you won’t have that luxury. Hopefully our mistake is enough to scare you into decluttering immediately but if you still need further convincing on why you shouldn’t leave it until the last minute, here are a few more reasons:

You’re moving on. Travel is your new lifestyle, consumerism is in the past. While we haven’t heeded this advice yet (yes, we plan to shortly!), ask yourself whether you really need that item or can it be sold or thrown away? When in doubt, remember that you’re going to be living out of a single suitcase/backpack for an indefinite period of time very soon! Did that make throwing away that favorite old jumper slightly easier? We hope so!

Don’t let your possessions control you. We’re living amongst mess at the moment and still can’t seem to find anything! Why? Because we’ve still got too many possessions. It took me 3 days to find my phone charger after we moved (another not so fun experience), just because it was buried amongst all our crap! Free yourself now and start purging early.

Save on moving costs. We paid nearly $500 to move 10 items – while our situation was extreme (we lived in a first floor apartment at the very back of a large complex), the more items you can get rid of earlier, the less it costs to move regardless of whether you’re using a moving company or doing the job yourself.

Moving out takes less time. The less possessions you have when the moving out date finally arrives, the quicker the whole process will be. We had to make multiple car trips to move boxes and several smaller items to their new home. What a time killer that was!

Moving becomes less stressful and you can relax. This reason is a direct result of the 4 reasons listed above – if you declutter now you’ll be more prepared for travel, you will be able to find what’s important to you and ultimately you will save money and time.

If we still haven’t convinced you to declutter then we sincerely hope you enjoy buying even more worthless crap at the post-Christmas sales (if you’re going to buy things for travel, that’s a completely different story!). For those of you still with us, stop reading and start planning how you can declutter now!

Feel free to start your decluttering journey in the comments below and share any valuable advice you might have if you’ve gone through it already.

Flickr Photos: aeminphilly, kb-monkeywrench


  1. Posted December 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Ah, just a few rookie mistakes from the sounds of it, guys 😉 I assure you, I’ve made them before, having learnt my lessons from the first couple of major moves I’ve had in my lifetime. You’ve given some great tips here for others and now you can just sit back and look forward to your trips. Have you started planning your itinerary yet?
    Andrea recently posted..Recent Guest Posts By and Features About John and Andrea

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Andrea. I think a lot of it was us just expecting to happen rather than being proactive about decluttering and then it simply just got too late to get organised. Now it’s Christmas time and the post-Xmas sales are nearly here it’s not a great time to be selling things on eBay.

      I think in about 4 weeks we should be a bit more organised and will finally be able to relax and really get into RTW planning mode, such a busy and stressful time of the year for a lot of us!

      No itinerary discussions yet but we’ve just had a curveball thrown our way and will need to change things up a bit (explanation to come in a future post!).

  2. Melissa
    Posted December 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Good post! I moved last month to Hawaii and am mocing in a week to Australia for several months. I get overwhelmed easily so I found it easier to tackle things little by little. The cloaet one weekend, cleaning out the car another day, etc. I’m lucky to also have a place to store some of my clothes while I’m away. When unclutttering I was so surprised at how much stuff I have that I don’t use. I will def be decluttering more often.
    Happy travels!

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for leaving a comment Meli, we love seeing new faces on here! Our plan was to take it slowly but there always seemed to be some sort of distraction and then it just became too much. We’ve still got boxes from the last time we moved, it’s amazing the stuff one thinks they need but really have no use for!

      Where in Australia are you moving to? If you need any advice feel free to ask!

  3. Posted December 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    When I move out from my parent’s house to live with my finace. I nearly used 2 days to packed everything up and then move. I didn’t know how it happen but I know I didn’t sleep a lot at all. Another thing that made it easier was that I didn’t had any furniture to move. It’s more of clothes and my designs books and computer….but you’re so right it’s better to start early then later.
    Sarah Wu recently posted..Gelato – A Sweet local Delicacy In Italy

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Yeah we left it too late and had a few days there with very little sleep. Another great reason to declutter early – so you don’t go insane due to sleep deprivation!

  4. Posted December 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I used to hate moving but became an expert after moving to and from uni every year! I still had more stuff than I needed and had to get rid of loads this summer before we left as you say most of it is just junk – but you never know when you will need it (when your back at home at least)
    At least it’s over now and you can relax 🙂

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Moving is definitely something that gets easier with experience, we’ll be sure not to make those mistakes next time (hopefully there won’t be a next time though!).

      And you’re right, there are things in those boxes that we _may_ need in the next 6 months but hopefully we’ll be able to sell or chuck most of it just before we leave!

      How’s life in Chiang Mai? Looks like you guys are having an amazing time! Any idea how long you’ll be there for?

    • Posted December 24, 2010 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      Life in Chiang Mai is amazing – this place has everything and great people too!

      The plan is to leave in mid-feb when our contract ends for this room but the ‘Chiang Mai Black Hole’ may have something to say about that!
      Poi recently posted..When friends come to play…

  5. Posted December 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    De-cluttering is one of the best things you can do. It frees up so much energy. The longer you travel the more you realize just how little stuff you really need. I hate having too much stuff now and am always looking for things to throw out. We are living with Craig’s parents who have so much stuff and every day I am tempted to just de-clutter there things as well.
    This is some really great advice guys for those looking to move and just for everyone in general
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..80 of Travellers are Running Away from Something

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Definitely! There’s so much stuff that we have that we obviously don’t need but have spent so much on over the years (DVDs, video games, etc). Looking forward to getting through Christmas and then getting stuck into selling/throwing all of our stuff.

      Our parents are exactly the same as Craig’s, they’re total hoarders who have ten times as many possessions as us! We would love to declutter their lives as well but would get killed if we touched anything!

  6. Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Yes, moving is just about the worst experience on earth. I managed to leave a lot of my stuff in my condo in the States rather than having to put it in storage, and then I rented my condo out, which works perfectly for me. However, I threw away and sold SO much. Threw away because although I tried to sell stuff for months no one wanted it! Horrible. I think I’ll never be moving again in my life.

    • Posted December 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      That’s fortunate that you managed to rent your condo out… we just want to rid ourselves of everything now but nobody is going to buy at the prices we want during Christmas time. Moving sucks, but moving around Christmas is even worse!

      Hopefully in a month’s time we will have sold the big items and thrown away a lot of the smaller ones. Did you try a garage sale for the stuff that wouldn’t sell? We’re considering doing that for the worthless items like toaster, kettle, microwave, etc that wouldn’t fetch anything substantial on eBay.

  7. Posted December 24, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Great tips, people never realize what they are in for until the actually have to go through it!

    Every time I have gone off on a big trip I get rid of tons of stuff and separate everything into bins and my brother is always asking me if I plan on coming back since I seem to be getting rid of it all! It’s a good way to down-size and remind yourself what’s really necessary and important in your life!
    Annie recently posted..Snow Day!

    • Posted December 24, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Oh it’s tough, you gotta be ruthless when you start throwing things away! We just remind ourselves that everything can be replaced if we need it at a later time.

  8. Posted December 24, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    We’ve been trying to de-clutter for a long time but I swear these stuff procreate at the back of our closet or something. I guess the one lesson I’ve learned is this: you always have more stuff than you think.
    Jill recently posted..Top 10 Favorite Vegetarian Food in Indonesia

    • Posted December 24, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Like we said, we had a great plan but it just didn’t work out as easy as we expected it to! We worried too much about the big furniture items and appliances and completely forgot about how much junk was stored in closets, drawers, etc! It turns out that it was at least double, if not triple the amount we thought!

  9. Posted December 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    great post guys! you know, i’ve moved at least every 3.5 years for my entire life and it does get much easier the more you do it, but there is ALWAYS more stuff than i think no matter how much of a moving expert i think i’ve become. and it’s also a much different thing to pack to move somewhere else, and pack to move…nowhere 🙂 but that’s so much more exciting right?! you’re really on your way now- so exciting! great tips!
    Lorna-the roamantics recently posted..Out of the Mouths of Babes- Travel Lessons

    • Posted December 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right… packing and unpacking again seems like a piece of cake compared to packing up boxes that will probably stay unopened for 2-3 years! But yes, much more exciting to be packing up our lives to travel rather than move into a new house. 🙂

  10. Posted December 24, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    When I decided to leave New York City almost 2 years ago, I had to declutter and fast! I ended up selling a lot of my things online and then giving away my clothes to friends or charities. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you try to get rid of it!

    • Posted December 24, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for leaving a comment Connie!

      It really does get quite crazy! Did you manage to sell most of your stuff?

  11. Melissa Villa
    Posted December 24, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    So is this what I have to do to get your attention? Read your posts?? Hello! I miss ya!! Happy Holidays!! Call me stranger.

  12. Posted December 29, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I wish I read this article months before we left for our trip April 2009. I was so stressed out in the very last day because just a few hours before the airport pick up came, we still had to take care of the clutters and our backpacks were not ready yet. I was still agonizing which shirts to take. That was after over 30 hours without sleeping…
    Dina recently posted..Merry Christmas from Canada!

One Trackback

  • By A Sunny Christmas | Ali's Adventures on December 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    […] Ever Look Back – Our Moving Experience and Why You Should Declutter NOW!  Amy and Kieron write about mistakes they made during the moving process. They moved in an effort […]

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