You’ve accepted a new career position in a new city. You and your sweetheart have made it past the altar and are ready to cross that new threshold into a place of your own. Or maybe you’re just ready for the next great adventure. Whatever spurs this whirlwind of a life change, moving can be an absolute pain. You never really know how much stuff you’ve accumulated over the years until it’s time to move. Packing up your life provides a unique opportunity to reassess the things that have come into your life and their necessity to your daily routine. What better time to declutter than when you’re forced to pack things carefully into a box to be moved and unpacked at a new location? But what do you do with all these things? And how do you decide what stays and what goes? Allow me…

Need and Want Are Two Totally Different Things

Also sage shopping advice when you’re on a budget, this rule of thumb should be your go-to in determining the fate of that fabulously ugly Christmas sweater that won you last year’s office competition, and other such items. It’s very easy to fall down the rabbit hole that is memory lane, especially when it comes to clothes and momentos. But be swift. Be critical. Be confident in your judgement that you really don’t need 10,000 half-used tea lights even if they were arranged into a heart that one Valentine’s day. Saving things for the sake of saving the memory is how we get to closets stuffed with so much random junk the door can barely close. If it’s a memory truly worth preserving, keep one portion of it and turn it into a piece of art or encapsulate it into a shadow box that can be put out in your new home as decoration. (Look at you go, reducing your waste while gaining decor at the same time!) Another great rule to judge the need/want-ness of an item with is “Have I used this in the last year? No? When was the last time I used this? If you can’t remember the last time you used a blouse, set of sheets, pair of shoes, or any other item around the home (even in the kitchen) it clearly does not cross your radar on even the rarest of days. You can live without. You pretty much have since…. Whenever the last time was that you used that Pizzelle maker.

Well, Here’s A Pile Of Junk. Now What?

Glad you asked! Obviously, at the end of the day there is the bin. However, on behalf of this trash-ridden planet, there are other options that exist and benefit those around you. The easiest and most obvious is the newly Macklemore-famous Thrift Store. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Out of the Closet, and others are well-known repositories for unwanted clothes, shoes, dishes, and other odds and ends. But have you ever driven by the Goodwill between May and September? They have donations literally pouring out of their building. Instead, consider donating to a shelter. A quick Google search will direct you to the location and websites of the nearest shelters for the homeless, refugees, or women fleeing domestic abuse. Visit their website or call the office prior to making your trip to get the lowdown on exactly what items they need, have in abundance, and simply cannot take. The Downtown LA Women’s Shelter lists these items on their website very clearly, taking care to single out one item in particular: job interview appropriate clothing. Think about it; people benefitting from shelters are as down on their luck as they can get, they’re no longer contributing members of society but they deserve a chance at hope and new opportunities, too. For a mother leaving an abusive partner, the escape may happen at a moment’s notice with no time to prepare and grab all the necessities. Someone living on the street has no closet to keep a suit pressed and ready to walk in and rock their job interview. They may have no more than the clothes on their back. Giving your gently used work attire to a shelter not only lightens your load, but it provides an advantage to someone looking to get back to being part of society, back in the workplace, once again contributing to the world. Just like an actor needs to look the part going into an audition, so does a person walking into their job interview. Even if you aren’t moving any time soon, you just recently purchased some cute new lewks or were gifted a wardrobe upgrade for the holidays, take the time to look for things you no longer wear that could greatly benefit another human in the most wonderful way. Donate to a shelter. It’s not limited to clothes, either. Habitat for Humanity will take good condition appliances and furniture. They’ll even come to you for pick-up.

While the process of moving is daunting indeed, you now have the tools to simplify your life, lighten the load for your movers, and help others in need all in the same token. Just call you the Master Multi-Tasker.