Clutter is often collected in cupboards that store linen, crockery and glassware, the pantry and freezer, and sock drawers
Moving house is always stressful, but a bit of strategic decluttering can cut some of the chaos and make a surprisingly big dent in the packing burden.
There are areas in the home in which decluttering is essential, particularly because they are often forgotten, or deliberately ignored spaces.
The areas in which clutter is often collected include cupboards that store linen, crockery and glassware, the pantry and freezer, and sock drawers, says David Jacobs, regional manager for the Rawson Property Group.
Linen cupboard: One of the most overlooked clutter collectors which tend to have a “surprising amount of old, unused, mismatched or items hidden under things we use every day”, he says.
A thorough inventory of this cupboard is needed, and Jacobs suggests homeowners then get rid of anything they have not used for a year or more. There is probably no need for moth-eaten towels or cartoon duvet cover sets for a child’s bed they no longer own.
“When it comes to bulkier items you need to keep, like spare comforters or guest pillows, vacuum bags can also be a help. They dramatically reduce the amount of packing space these items take up, and keep them dust and moisture-free until you’re ready to use them.
“Don’t throw old or threadbare sheets, blankets or towels in the bin. Instead donate them to a local animal shelter to keep their rescues clean and warm.”
Crockery and glassware: This cupboard tends to hold all manner of orphaned items whose set-mates have long since disappeared. While it may be tempting to hang on to the odd pieces, Jacobs says this decision will be regretted when it comes time to pack.
Unless you want to spend days individually wrapping each fragile cup and saucer, Jacobs suggests homeowners weed out anything that isn’t part of a complete set.
“That set can be two or four, or whatever makes sense for your family, but anything that doesn’t fit should be thrown away or recycled, if possible.”
Sock drawers: Glassware isn’t the only household item prone to leaving orphans – that big dryer in the sky has claimed many a lonely sock.
“Moving house is the perfect time to empty your sock drawer and bid farewell to the lurking loners,” says Jacobs.
“It may not save you a huge amount of packing space, but it will make for a neater, cleaner cupboard in your new home.
“Single socks make great dusters and polishers and can be very useful for last minute clean-ups. Keep a few on hand at your old home to wipe up spills or surprise dust bunnies, and toss them in the bin on your way out.”
Pantry and freezer: Pantries and freezers have a habit of hiding items well past their sell-by date, and there’s no point in packing up and moving stale or rancid food.
Jacobs says setting aside an afternoon a week or two before moving day to defrost the freezer (unless it is frost-free), and clear out any expired food that may be hidden in the ice, is recommended.
“De-icing your freezer before you move also means there’s less chance of leaking melt water damaging anything in transit.
“While you’re waiting for the freezer to defrost, take a swing at your pantry and clear out any expired cans and dry foods there as well,” Jacobs says.