For many people, moving to a new home means getting rid of a lot of personal possessions. Finding the time, knowing where to start, and tackling various moving-preparation projects in an organized fashion can be challenging. The following tips will help.

Start Early

Downsizing is especially hard because many people develop personal attachments to their possessions. Deciding which possessions to get rid of and which possessions to keep can take a lot of time. Start this process as early as possible to reduce your stress and ensure you have adequate time to make the decisions that need to be made.

Determine What to Keep

Compare the storage space in your current home to the space in your new home. If possible, obtain dimensions or blueprints for your new home. Work with your realtor or new landlord to have these dimensions sent to you.

Next, take measurements of your current home and compare the storage space and room sizes. Knowing how much bigger or smaller your new home is compared to your current home can help you decide which items can stay and which items can go.

If you’re having your possessions shipped over the ocean, work with your moving and shipping company to determine which items can be shipped and which items cannot. Hawaii regulates which animals and plants can be brought to the island, so people moving to Hawaii from an outside place should familiarize themselves with the list of prohibited plants and pets.

In addition, hazardous materials like cleaning products, paints, and other household chemicals are regulated by the government and shipping companies. To avoid problems, plan to leave behind aerosols, liquids, and cleaning chemicals. You can also check with your moving company to see which items they will move.

Sell First

Selling your possessions is a good way to make money for your relocation. Selling can take a lot of time and coordination, whether you’re having a garage sale or selling your items online. To help ensure success, sell your items early in the process, before you start to dispose of items in the trash or give them away. This will help ensure that you have desirable items that people will want to buy.


Donating is a good way to get rid of those items that you haven’t been able to sell but that still might be useful to someone else. Many local charities, consignment shops, and non-profit organizations will take donations of blankets, sheets, clothes, books, and other household items.

If you’re hoping to get rid of cleaning products and paint, contact your local homeless shelters, churches, schools, and community centers to find out whether they will accept these items as donations.


After you’ve given away and sold everything you can, try recycling your household items. If you were unable to give away your cleaning products, leftover paint, and other hazardous items, contact your local sanitation department to find out what can be recycled.

Rent a Dumpster

Once it’s close to your move date, you may find that renting a dumpster is the best way to throw away the many items left in your home that you can’t bring with you. Note that most dumpster companies have rules about what can and can’t be thrown away. To avoid problems, familiarize yourself with the list of prohibited items before starting to use your dumpster.

Hire a Full-Service Moving Company

If you’re trying to get rid of a significant portion of your personal possessions, you may not have time for packing for your upcoming relocation. Hiring a full-service moving company to do the packing and handle other moving-related logistics will give you the time you need to downsize.