What to Throw Away When You Move

Why do we hold to things we haven’t used in years, even things that are broken and utterly useless?

Perhaps it’s human nature, perhaps it’s resistance to change, perhaps it’s that ever-present rationale: “just in case!”. Whatever the reason, we often talk on the Moved blog about how moving time is purging time. So roll up your sleeves and get out the trash-bags.

These are the things you should throw away when you move:

Magazines — Chances are you have stacks of old magazines lying around your house. Newer magazines you could try donating to doctor’s offices, nail salons, libraries, etc., but if they’re more than a couple years old, it’s time to toss ’em. Same goes for old calendars.

Receipts/Bills/Paychecks — Admit it: you’re never going to categorize all those receipts as part of your budgeting plan. Old bills are just cluttering up your space, and paychecks older than two years are deadweight. Get rid of them!

Cosmetics — Just because cosmetic companies are not required to include expiration dates on their packaging doesn’t mean their products don’t expire! Use the following guidelines to know if it’s time to ditch your old makeup: powders (two years), blushes (12–18 months), oil-free foundation (one year), cream compact foundation (18 months), concealers (12–18 months), lipstick/lip liner (one year), lip gloss (18–24 months), pencil eyeliner (two years), liquid or gel eyeliner (three months), mascara (three months).

Underwear — We all have the “just-in-case” pairs full of holes that we never actually wear; time to throw them away for good.

Greeting/Birthday Cards — Yes, some are super sentimental and you’ll cherish them for life. Most of them are clutter. Be ruthless, people!

Spices — While spices and dried herbs won’t go “bad” necessarily, they will get stale and lose their flavor. Use your senses for help, but as a general rule, if you’ve had seasonings, herbs and ground spices for more than 2–3 years, it’s probably time to replace them.

Shoes — Everyone seems to have a pair (or four) of worn out shoes that they never wear anymore but can’t seem to get rid of. Well, now’s the time! Same goes for old flip-flops.

Holiday Decorations — The weird Thanksgiving turkey statue your aunt inexplicably gave you as a gift one year, the broken Christmas lights, the box of cheap plastic Halloween decorations — all destined for the trashcan.

The Junk Drawer — Every home has one. Full of matchboxes, scraps of paper, expired coupons, dried-out markers and pens, thumbtacks, white-out bottles, dried up super glue, broken rubber bands, half-used tubes of Chapstick, paperweights, random collections of string, etc. etc. Save the one or two items in there you actually use and dump the rest!

If you’re having trouble letting go of something, follow the advice of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She says to lay everything out you own, and only keep the things that bring you joy to look at. If something makes you feel tired, guilty, unhappy, etc. get rid of it!

For more help getting rid of your unwanted and unneeded items when moving, check out our guides on What to Sell and What to Donate.

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