Switching locations creates a natural opportunity to get rid of extra belongings you don’t need – or won’t want in the future. 

Use the following list to help quickly identify what can be left behind. Why waste time and effort packing and sorting items that you’re just going to end up getting rid of when you get to your new home? Whittle down the number of moving boxes needed to make that looming transition, by getting rid of these items before moving.

1. Liquids

“Dispose of all liquids, as they only create a mess while moving,” says Peter Regan, public relations manager at Moving Authority, a moving company in Las Vegas, Nevada. You may be able to donate unused lotions, creams, or cosmetics to a local women’s shelter. If you really must bring it, tightly secure each container in a plastic bag just in case it breaks or spills during the move. 

2. Expired Medications

Go through your medicine cabinet and check expiration dates. After identifying what needs to be tossed, visit the Food and Drug Administration website to see if the medications can be thrown out, flushed, or passed on through a Drug Take Back program in your area. You can also call your pharmacist to ask about the best way to dispose of expired medicines. 

3. No Mate Items

If you come across socks that are missing a match, toss the lone stockings. Also throw out missing glove and shoe pairs. “We always think the mate will show up when the truth is it very seldom does,” says Marty Basher, organization expert with Modular Closets.

4. Outdated Food

Canned goods with expiration dates that are now in the past are a no-brainer: throw them out and save yourself the hassle of unpacking expired foods in your new home. Also glance through spices and toss or donate any you haven’t used in the last year. You can pick up fresh spices as needed once you settle in your next location. Eat what you can before you move.

5. House-Specific Goods

Replacement tiles for your floor, leftover paint, and shower curtains that match your current bathroom’s decor should all be left behind. Give them to the new owner so they can easily get settled when they move in.  

6. Old Electronics

Now is the perfect time to get rid of old phones, VHS tapes, laptops, and video game equipment you no longer use. Just remember that some electronics, like computers and TVs, usually can’t be put out for the trash. Drop off working items at a thrift store or e-cycle stuff that doesn’t even function anymore. 

7. Junk Drawer Items

Most of the odds and ends in a junk drawer are likely ready for the garbage. Use a waste basket to empty these spaces rather than reaching for a moving box. 

8. Used Furniture

If your couch won’t fit into the living room in your new house, sell it rather than pay the movers to relocate it. The same is true for other household furniture. If you’re drastically downsizing, organize a garage sale to scale back on the number of big items you need to move.

9. Old Papers

“Paper is the bane of most people’s existence,” Basher says. Get it under control by quickly recycling old magazines, newspapers, receipts, holiday and birthday cards, and expired coupons. Shred any paperwork that could include any identifying information.

10. Outgrown Kid Items

Stuffed animals, clothing that is now too small, and toys your child no longer plays with can all be sent to Goodwill. If your kid struggles to let go of beloved belongings, find a time to declutter when they aren’t around. 

11. Kitchen Appliances

If your next location includes a stove, refrigerator and dishwasher, you may not need to move your current appliances. Before making a decision, check that the kitchen appliances in your new house are in good condition. If they are, try selling your current appliances to your home’s buyer or placing them on Craigslist.

12. Unused Clothing

“For sure, you’ll come come across clothes that you realize you haven’t worn in a while,” Regan says. Give anything that no longer fits to a local charity. If you’re moving to a warmer climate but want to keep some sweaters and winter gear, consider packing cold weather attire separately to place in a storage space.

13. Broken Pieces

If you have a shelf, gadget, or knick knack that is waiting for you to fix, leave it behind. This is especially true for household goods that haven’t been repaired in several months. Replace them once you get settled in your new home.

14. Unwanted Collections

If you have boxes of baseball cards no one in your family is interested in any more, or a shelf full of china you don’t want to move, put the collection on eBay. For collections that have been in your family for years, ask other relatives before selling them. A family member may think the items have sentimental value and want to hang on to them. In that case, you can send the collection to your loved one.

15. Pet-Related Supplies

Opened bags of dog food could get spoiled or spill during a transition, especially if it’s a long-distance move. Donate extra food to a pet shelter in your area. Pet shelters typically also accept extra leashes, pet toys, pet shampoo, and towels. 

16. Kitchen Clutter

“If you’re like most of us, the kitchen holds the most excess unused stuff in the house,” Basher says. As you move counter top knick knacks into boxes, check if they are broken or outdated. Toss anything that is no longer in one piece. Also donate cookbooks you haven’t used in years, excess coffee mugs, and duplicates of mixing bowls or measuring cups.  

17. Building Materials

If you have scraps of wood and unused paint, it’s unlikely you’ll find a use for them in your new home. Send building materials and remodeling supplies to a local Habitat for Humanity or other charity.  

18. Stained Goods

Rugs with dirt that can’t be removed, drapes that have faded from sunlight, and discolored furniture should be disposed of. Rather than putting them on a moving truck, put them out for the trash or drive them to a waste center.  

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Rachel Hartman