Declutter to Reduce Moving Expenses

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In our mobile society, it’s not uncommon for individuals to move several times during their lifetime. In fact, according to a US Census estimate, nearly 40 million people (13.2 percent of all Americans) moved in 2007 alone. And that number continues to rise!

If you’ve ever moved, you know it can be very expensive – whether you move across town or across the country. Even the most diligently organized among us tend to accumulate “stuff.” And stuff makes moving take longer and cost more, especially if you pay someone to move you. Here are some clutter-busting tips to help frugal moms lighten up for a move, simplify their lives and save money on moving expenses in the process.

• Look at every piece of clothing you own. If you haven’t worn it the last two seasons, you’re not going to wear next year either. Regardless of how much you like it, how much it costs, or who gave it to you, if you don’t wear it, get rid of it. Do the same for every member of the family. While you’re at it, get rid of your “skinny” jeans. When you lose weight you’ll want new clothes, anyway.

• Examine your shoes, too. If you’re moving to a warmer climate, there’s no need to keep those fur-lined boots. That applies also to styles that have changed, shoes with scuffed heels you’ve never got around to repairing, or those you just don’t wear any more.

• Are you an avid reader? Now’s the time to reduce your personal library. If you’re like most book lovers, you have boxes of books you’ve never read, and others you have read but will never read again. Get rid of them. Sell them, swap them or simply donate them, but eliminate some books for a quick reduction in your moving expense.

• Go through your magazines, too. If you find an article you like, and it contains information you can’t easily find later online, then you may want to hang on to it. But there’s no need to keep the entire magazine. Simply clip the article and file it, or put it in a pocket folder or three-ring binder then toss the magazine.

• Reduce kitchen clutter by keeping only what you use regularly. Most of us acquire more bowls, glasses, cups, utensils, even pots and pans than we’ll ever use. Cooks are creatures of habit. We keep going back to our old favorites while all those fancy dishes and unused gadgets simply take up space. Clear out anything in the kitchen that you don’t use – at the very least – when you entertain or prepare special dishes.

• Look over the pantry as well. Check expiration dates and throw away anything that has expired. Use up or give away food that you’ve had for awhile and that is due to expire soon. Get rid of anything that’s stale, even if the date is still valid. And give away food that you bought for a specific recipe that you never prepared, and that you’re not likely to prepare anytime soon.

• Check under the counter while you’re in the kitchen and get rid of dangerous chemicals you’re afraid to use, spray bottles or aerosol cans that don’t work properly, and anything you’ve had for ages and that is just taking up space. NOTE: Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials correctly. Read the label for proper instructions.

• Go through your bathroom cabinet. Throw away nearly-empty bottles and jars, samples you’ve had for months, and products you bought but decided you didn’t like.

• Don’t forget the medicine chest. Toss expired medicines, over the counter drugs that don’t work well, or prescriptions you no longer take.

• Get rid of any decorative items you no longer use or like. Think about the colors in your new home. If something you have won’t work there, now is the time to eliminate it.

• Toss dying houseplants, or give them to a friend with a greener thumb than yours. You can always get cuttings or new starts later on.

• Reduce your music and movie collections. Have your tastes in music changed? Get rid of the old and make room for the new – after you move. The same applies to movies. Get rid of all those VHS tapes, cartoons and documentaries you’ll never watch again.

• Work with the kids to sort through the toy box and donate unused toys, stuffed animals, games, puzzles, etc. to a child who will play with them.

• If you’re paying someone to move you, weight means money so get rid of as much weight and as many heavy objects as possible. This includes duplicate tools, exercise equipment you don’t use, bicycles you never ride, furniture you don’t like, etc.

In essence, get rid of everything you don’t need, don’t want, or no longer use. Have a massive pre-move cleaning and ruthlessly eliminate anything you have that is simply taking up space.

Hold a yard sale and make a few bucks to help with the move, give it to a friend, or simply donate it to a local charity. Not only will it save you money to move it, or the labor of having to haul it yourself, but it will make your new home less cluttered and more organized from the outset. And that’s always a good thing.

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