Moving is hard work, and that's true even if you're hiring a Tacoma moving company to help you get the job done. Fortunately, since most of the labor involved in the average move centers around the packing process, it's possible to dramatically cut down the work you'll have to do. 


How do you do that? By downsizing. But as easy as downsizing might sound, it's not all that simple for most people. If you've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, chances are you're somewhat attached to it, and attempting to get rid of things — even if they're unnecessary — can be challenging.


If you're unsure how to downsize before a relocation, our Ed's Moving & Storage team is ready to help! Keep reading for a brief guide on how to get rid of your extra stuff before you move. 

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Ideally, you should start organizing your belongings and getting rid of things at least 90 days (three months) before you move. Letting go of things you've had for years can be tough, and determining what you can bear to part with can be even tougher. That's why you need plenty of time. 


If you try to rush the process, you'll likely end up overwhelmed and may throw in the towel altogether. Check out our 8-Week Moving Timeline for more helpful tips on organizing and planning during the weeks leading up to your relocation. 

Sort Through Large Items First

Are you moving to a smaller home? Does it have fewer bedrooms? Smaller living areas? Then, you'll want to plan out which large items you'll get rid of first. 


Why? Because many moving companies base their fees on the total weight of your belongings. The more stuff you need to haul, the more money your move will cost. 


To minimize superfluous weight and avoid moving things that won't fit inside your new place, look at the floor plan of your new home. Measure the furniture you'd like to bring to determine what will fit. 


Once you've nailed down which furniture pieces will be coming with you, it's time to sell or donate the rest. 

Organize & Downsize Your Belongings By Category

Some experts recommend downsizing by room, and that can certainly work. However, there are more organized and efficient ways to tackle the job. That's because it's easy to assume you don't have superfluous stuff until you've organized things by category and can see everything in a pile in front of you. 


When you downsize by room, you'll end up sorting through many different categories of items without seeing the full magnitude of what you own. When you divide your things into categories — clothing, shoes, kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, linens, decor, etc. — it's far easier to see everything you've collected. More importantly, finding duplicates and the items you rarely or never use is much easier. 


As you're downsizing, remember that if you own duplicates, you don't need all of them. And if you haven't used something in months (seasonal items excepted), you likely don't need it either. 

Take Photos of Each Room In Your Current Home

Taking photos of each room in your house lets you identify the items you truly love. For example, you might have a bunch of furniture in your spare room, but only two or three of those pieces are items that you really enjoy. Take a look at those photos and see what your eyes gravitate toward first — those are typically the items you'll want to take with you.


As for the remainder of the stuff in your photos? Determine what to keep and what to let go of by assessing how frequently you use those items. Or, if they're more decorative or sentimental in nature, be honest with yourself about how important to you they really are.


Beyond decluttering, taking photos of each room can also help you arrange furniture and decor in your new home. And, if you're hiring professional movers and packers to help with your relocation, your photos will help them situate your things properly during the unloading process.

Only Keep Things You Need, Use, & Love

When it comes to our possessions, the things we own often own us, making downsizing a somewhat heart-wrenching challenge. But if you're moving into a smaller space, chances are you'll need to get rid of quite a bit of stuff. Here's a simple way to determine what to keep and what to toss.

Need It

If you know you need an item, even if you don't use it very often, obviously, you'll want to pack it and take it with you. Items in this category might include medical or health equipment that you use infrequently, small kitchen appliances, certain electronics, etc.

Use it Frequently

The items you use or look at daily, weekly, or monthly help make your house a home. Whether functional or decorative, they should come with you to your new place.

Love It

This category is where you'll need to be very honest with yourself. It's easy to claim you love something — but is that item important to you? If it has a lot of sentimental value, consider keeping it. But those boxes of old Christmas and birthday cards? Did you even know they were there? How often do you look at them?


Chances are they're just excess clutter, and if you want to downsize successfully, they've got to go. 

Create a Plan for Getting Rid of Unwanted Items

Have you thought about how you'll offload the things you no longer need, want, or use? You'll want to start thinking about that well before your move so you can start planning the details. A few options to consider include:

Organizing a Garage Sale

Want to offset the cost of hiring professional movers and packers? Holding a garage sale is a great way to do it. But if you've ever held a garage sale, you know it's a lot of work, so the earlier you start planning and preparing, the better. 

Selling Items on Online Marketplaces

Not up for a garage sale but still want to make some cash? List your gently used items on eBay, Poshmark, LetGo, and other online marketplaces. Check out Nerdwallet's 12 Best Places to Sell Stuff Online for a complete list of sites you can sell on. 

Renting a Dumpster

Chances are you own some stuff unsuitable for donation or sale. If you own a lot of that stuff, it may be in your best interest to rent a dumpster so you can avoid making several trips to the landfill. You can also schedule pick-ups with your local waste management service if you prefer. 

Setting Up Donations & Pick-Ups 

Don't want to deal with the hassle of selling your unwanted stuff? Give it away to a local non-profit. If you don't have the time to make multiple trips or the ability to transport large items, check around for donation centers that will pick up your stuff for you. 

Passing on Belongings to Loved Ones

Ever heard of a reverse house-warming party? It involves setting aside the things you want to get rid of and inviting friends and loved ones over to lay claim to those items. It's a great way to connect with loved ones before your move and get rid of superfluous stuff simultaneously! 

Renting a Storage Unit

Can't bear to part with some of the stuff you don't need? Rent a climate-controlled storage unit to ensure your belongings remain pristine even when you're not using them. 


Ed's Moving & Storage has climate-controlled units to store your items until you are ready to move them into your new space or family members are ready for them. All shapes and sizes are available, and they can be used for short or long-term situations for an affordable and secure solution.


Never put anything in storage before? Check out What You Should Know Before Renting a Storage Unit.  

Don't Assume Family Members Want Your Stuff

If you're downsizing after retirement, it's easy to assume your kids or grandkids might want your stuff — don't make that mistake. Many people put furniture and other large items in climate-controlled storage units to pass them down to their family members.


But when the time comes to hand things off, they discover that their family members have no interest in inheriting their stuff. Often, your style won't align with that of your family and friends, and if you don't ask, you won't know.  

If It Doesn't Have a Designated Space, Don't Move It

If you have items in your current home that you're unsure of, consider whether they will fit in your new space. If you can't find a designated area for something, don't take it with you.


Not only does extra stuff create a packing hassle for your professional movers and packers, but it also creates unnecessary tedium during unpacking in your new home. 


Ultimately, you'll end up making additional trips to get rid of the items that don't fit in your new space. So why not save yourself the extra effort and let that stuff go before your move?

Need a Moving Company Near Tacoma? Request a Quote From Ed's Moving!

Not a fan of packing? Don't want to load and transport all of your belongings? That's what our team at Ed's Moving & Storage is for! Since 1965, our professional movers and packers have helped thousands of Seattle and Tacoma residents relocate, and we'd love to make your move easier, too! 


From full packing services to storage solutions and everything in between, we offer a wide variety of services designed to make your move as simple as possible.


To learn more about how we can help you, feel free to give us a call today at 253-581-2446 or request a fast quote online, and we'll reach out with more information.