Trying to Decide What to Toss Before a Move

Trying to Decide What to Toss Before a Move

Among the many challenges you’ll face when relocating, is deciding what to take and how to get it there. You don’t want to waste time and effort packing and unpacking things you no longer want.


Get a jump on your move by going through every room, cupboard, closet and storage area in your home, looking for items you no longer want or need. If you haven’t used something in a year, or if you never unpacked a box from your last move, chances are you’ll never miss it. Most of us find it difficult to toss away things that still have value—even if we don’t value them. As you go through your home, sort your unwanted items into three piles: for sale, donation and trash.

Plan to list sale items in your local newspaper or hold a yard sale a month or more before your move. Contact local charities, many of whom will come to your door to take items away (and give you a charitable contribution tax deduction too). If your trash collection company won’t take what you have to toss, plan a trip to your local landfill to unburden yourself of “valueless” items. 

The Big Stuff

What to do about large items may be among your most vexing problems:

  • If yours is a company-paid move, make sure you know exactly what your company will pay to ship, as large items can be expensive to move.
  • If you’ll be returning to the area in a few years or less, find out whether your company will pay to put some items in storage at your current location. 
  • Get a sense for how much space you’ll have in your new home. Will there be a large enough yard for the fully-equipped jungle gym set? Will your 25 cubic foot refrigerator fit in your new kitchen? 

It is customary in some areas for appliances to stay with the home or apartment:

  • Why ship a refrigerator or washer and dryer if your new home comes equipped with those appliances? Bear in mind that your current home may sell better with the appliances installed. 
  • Swing sets and jungle gyms, for example, must be completely disassembled, then reassembled at the new location. Parts such as nuts, bolts, screws, plastic connectors and brackets will all have to be carefully labeled, packed and tracked. 


What are your options for moving a recreational vehicle, boat or a second or third car? If you’re paying shipping charges, consider carefully if selling it now and replacing later might be a more economical choice.

Find out too whether you’ll have a place to store vehicles at the new location. Some housing communities prohibit parking boats and RVs on the street or even in driveways and yards. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find an affordable storage yard near your new home—an additional cost you may not want to carry. 


It’s often safer to hand-carry certain items rather than trusting them to movers or the mail. Before the movers arrive, put together a portable filing box or folder for birth certificates, legal documents, school records, vaccination/medical and veterinary records, financial records and the all-important address book. Not only are such items difficult to replace, many of them may be needed during the trip and perhaps immediately upon arrival.

Other expensive and irreplaceable possessions that should also be hand-carried: jewelry, special family photos, stock certificates and so on. A portable safe may be a good investment, helping prevent theft while you’re en route to your new home.

Give us a call, and we can offer more advice in making your move as simple, and as inexpensive, as possible.

Powered by HomeActions for Laura S. Rossinow, Broker associate, Keller Williams Realty, Newton, MA