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When people learn about my business as a senior move manager, they often respond by sharing how stressful and overwhelming they find the move process. One of the biggest sources of strain that accompanies a move or even just an effort to declutter a home is not being able to approach the task with an organized plan of attack. Here are some observations from my time in the cardboard boxed and bubble-wrapped trenches to help you approach your next attack on the clutter and prepare for a move.

Assemble your reinforcements!

A team of friends and family, or even a single one, can keep you on task and help you make the tough decisions about what can stay and what must go can really help you conquer your clutter and succeed in ordering your new environment.

The war is won one small battle at a time.

Taking in the entire process of sorting, packing, moving and organizing can overwhelm even the best of warriors. The key to victory is to break the whole down into manageable tasks. One room, one closet, even one dresser at a time, and you’ll see the wins pile up and find the encouragement to keep at it until you’re resting comfortably in an entirely organized and orderly new space!

The voice of denial: “oh, this is so small, it takes up no space.”

If it was only one item, that might be true, but by the 5th, 6th, or even 50th of these, you’ve created quite a storage problem for yourself. Make sure that you’ve determined a specific place for each and every item, even that one item, in advance, or else you’ll wind up with five unpacked boxes holding these items and no place to put them.

All kitchen cabinets are not created equal.

It’s important to measure the new cabinets carefully and compare their capacity to your current kitchen cabinets. I’ve met cabinets that don’t even hold a standard dinner plate, and it’s no fun to realize this as you’re in the midst of unpacking the new kitchen! Also, this knowledge will help you make important decisions about what to bring with you to the new home. This rule applies to all built-in cabinets.

The biggest denial of them all: “I will find the room for it”

This phrase is a guaranteed way to find you facing piles of boxes full of items you can’t store properly. It is definitely a struggle to force oneself to make a hard decision about getting rid of a treasured belonging, but there’s a cost to moving (and perhaps even having to store off-site) an item you have no place for in your new, ordered home. Take the time to make the tough decisions. The end result is a more manageable and less stressful unpacking process.