- Create piles for keeping, tossing, selling or donating. Hold (or look at) each item for five seconds then move it to a pile. If letting go of certain items is particularly difficult, take photos before purging.
- Items of sentimental value such as family heirlooms are keepers; however, everything can’t be sentimental. For those who struggle with choosing, the five-second method might help.
- Keep and file the most recent seven years of financial documents. Label clearly.
- If you use something every day, or on a regular basis, it’s probably worth keeping. Purge duplicates.
Donate or Discard…
- Clothes and shoes that haven’t worn in more than a year or are in bad shape can be recycled, given to friends or relatives, donated, or sold by consignment or on social media.
- Tax and financial documents older than seven years. This includes old receipts, medical documents, bills, bank and credit card statements, and tax returns. Many places offer shredding services to prevent identity theft.
- How likely are you to reread books and magazines? Probably not. Recycle magazines or, if they are less than a year old, donate them to a nursing home, hospital waiting room or community magazine exchange. Sell books to a used bookstore or list them on an online site. Alternatively, consider donating them to your local library or the many Free Little Library kiosks popping up around the country.
- With internet streaming services such as Pandora and Netflix, little need exists to keep VHS, DVDs, CDs, and video games. Attempt to sell on social media or to used bookstores, or consider donating for the tax write-off. Also, sell or properly recycle old cell phones, chargers, and power cords.
- Long-term storage can be expensive, so do the math before committing to it. If the combined total cost of the monthly rent is more than the value of your possessions, you’re better off to sell and donate your belongings and start fresh in your new location. As a last resort, check with family or close friends who might be willing to store an item or two.
FIND A HOME WHEREVER YOU ARE