9 min read

The Complete List of Items You Should Toss Before Moving

Havana Dauncey
· September 4, 2023
The Complete List of Items You Should Toss Before Moving

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When you’re moving houses, with so much to worry about, the last thing you want to do is carry around extra dead weight.

Decluttering your life and lightening your load can do wonders to help reduce moving stress, plus so much more.

But how do you know which items to keep and which items to toss? Here’s everything you need to know about items you should toss before moving!

Why Should You Declutter Before Moving?

You may be wondering — why can’t I just keep everything and cart it all across to my new home? Well, here are six pretty convincing reasons why downsizing before a move is the way to go:

  1. Save cost with less space: The fewer items you have, the less transport space you need to pay for.

  2. Decrease fuel consumption: With the lighter load, you end up using less fuel, especially for long-distance moves.

  3. Downsize to fit your new home: You can avoid either overfilling your new home or having to pay for extra storage space.

  4. Spend less money on packing materials: You can decrease the number of boxes and packing materials you need to buy.

  5. Save time unpacking: You can spend less time unpacking and trying to find space for all your stuff.

  6. Get a fresh start: You can offload all your old unloved items and start fresh in your next chapter.

decluttering before a move - what to toss

The Complete List of Items You Should Toss Before Moving

Let’s walk through each room in your house and pick out the items you should say goodbye to.

The Bedroom

  • Unworn clothes: That pile of clothes that remain untouched because they either don’t fit well anymore, are damaged or just don’t feel like you anymore — give them to someone who will actually wear it.

  • Worn-out linen: If your bed sheets, pillowcases and towels are starting to wear down and become a bit thin, it’s time to get some new ones.

  • Scuffed-up shoes: Take out those pairs of shoes from the back of the closet that are uncomfortable, worn out and scuffed up.

  • Old curtains or blinds: If your new home requires a different type of curtain or blind, it’s best to get rid of the old ones.

The Kitchen

  • Mismatched dishes and utensils: This includes plates, bowls, mugs and random teaspoons that don’t match anything else, so they end up getting hidden away.

  • Untouched kitchen appliances: Pull out all those gimmicky kitchen appliances that you thought would be cool but never used once.

  • Damaged pots and pans: Any pots and pans that are scratched and worn down on the base are worth replacing.

  • Kitchen junk drawer: We all have that drawer that gets all the bits and bobs from around the kitchen, like birthday candles, lighters, pens, sandwich bags and whatever else.

  • Random fridge magnets: Keep the sentimental ones, but all the others, like the real estate calendars or ones you don’t even remember getting, can go.

  • Plastic containers: With an overloaded Tupperware cupboard, you can chuck all the ones that don’t have lids or never look clean no matter how many times you wash them.

  • Expired food: Sort through your food to find all the long-expired ingredients at the back of the cupboard.

  • Kitchen spices: Reconcile all your kitchen spices by getting rid of the empty bottles, the doubles and old, expired spices (trust us, there will be many).

The Bathroom

  • Mouldy shower curtains and bath mats: Being in the moist air all the time, shower curtains and bath mats can get a bit gross after a while and are worth replacing.

  • Expired medication and vitamins: Check the back of the bottles and get rid of anything that’s past its date. This one is important - and be sure to throw out the pills before tossing the bottle.

  • Barely-used toiletries: If you have any moisturisers, shampoo or conditioners that you’ve opened but stopped using, it’s time to let them go.

  • Crusty makeup: Sort through your makeup to find anything that’s expired or gotten a bit clumpy. 

  • Toilet plunger: This one is simply not worth transporting — get a clean one at your new place.

The Office

  • Loose papers and documents: It’s easy to start collecting random papers and documents over the years that are no longer relevant, and it’s just as easy to recycle them.

  • Old calendars and annual planners: They are literally so last year — throw them in the recycling.

  • Half-filled notebooks: Who finishes a notebook before starting another one? Keep your favourite one and throw away the rest.

  • Books and magazine collections: If you have books or magazines you’ll likely never read again, donate them to pass them on to the next reader.

  • Faded receipts: Find all the receipts littered around your office, scan them in if you need them for tax purposes and then throw them away.

  • Old instruction manuals: We all keep the instruction manual just in case we need it, but you definitely don’t need it if you no longer own the item the manual is for.

  • Loose chords: Discard any chords that are from old devices that you don’t have a use for anymore. You can recycle electronics safely through an e-waste recycling facility.

  • Stationary collection: Sort through all your pens, pencils, highlighters and erasers, find the ones that actually work and that you’ll actually use, and get rid of the rest.

The Lounge

  • Damaged furniture: Maybe your pet has damaged the material or one of the legs is broken, either way, you might as well upgrade to something new. Avoid damaging your furniture during your move with our best practices.

  • Outdated electronics: It’s best to stay with the times and let go of your VHS player and old phones.

  • Dead plants: While you may hope there’s still life in them, it’s time to say goodbye and let them go.

  • Stained rugs: Why flip your rug or carpet over when you can get a new one that matches your new space?

The Kids' Room

  • Old toys and stuffed animals: Kids move through toys and stuffed animals so quickly, so let someone else find fun in the toys your child has outgrown.

  • Outgrown clothes: Instead of keeping piles and piles of clothes your child can no longer wear, help someone out with some hand-me-downs.


  • Sun-damaged outdoor furniture: Get a fresh start at your new home by replacing any outdoor pillows or wooden furniture that’s been worn down by the sun.

  • Old tools: Clear up space in your toolbox by finally getting rid of the tools that you either don’t have a use for or don’t even know how they work. We all know that "oom" with a garage filled to the roof with tools that never get used - don't be that guy.

cleaning your garage - getting rid of old tools

  • Finished cleaning supplies: After a while, your brooms, rags and sponges start getting a bit nasty and are better thrown out than carrying them to your new home.

  • Gym equipment: While we’re often optimistic, sometimes it’s time to get rid of the dumbbells or rowing machine you said you’d use but never have.

  • Car accessories: Some car accessories might have seemed cool and useful at first but now just take up space, collecting dust in your garage.

  • Pet items: Pets’ blankets, houses, pillows, scratch posts, toys, etc., can start to really smell and look worn down after a while. Why not make this move special for your pets too, by upgrading their things? Don't get rid of everything though, old toys and known items can help reduce your pet’s stress while moving).

Best Ways to Get Rid of Items Before Moving

Now that you’ve put aside everything you want to get rid of before moving, the question is — what are you going to do with it? Well, fortunately, you have quite a few options when it comes to discarding your junk, and some even include a profit!

Give things away

Share the love by gifting your items that are still in a reasonable condition to friends, family, neighbours or even colleagues. Alternatively, you can look online on platforms like Freecycle, where you can give and get items for free in your area.


You can pay it forward by donating your items to those in need, such as:

  • Charities projects like clothing drives

  • Second-hand stores

  • Schools

  • Animal shelter charity shops


If you’re looking to make a few extra bucks and cover some of your moving costs, you can always try to sell your items at a bargain. You can:

  • Host a garage sale

  • Advertise on social media

  • Sell online on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or Yaga (for clothes)


If you have some items left that you can’t pass on to a new owner, you should then look at recycling. Check in with your nearest recycling centre and find out which materials and items can be recycled. Sort your leftover items and quickly drop them off for a more eco-friendly move.

Finally, throw things away...

This is your last resort — items that can’t be passed along or recycled unfortunately have to go to the landfill. It might be the easiest option, but trying your best to find another, more sustainable option is not only better for the environment but could also be beneficial to your wallet.

Looking for the Best Movers Near You?

Once you’ve tossed all your unnecessary items, decluttered your life and lightened your load, it’s time to find the best local movers with the best quote!

And the quickest and simplest way to do that is with Wise Move! With Wise Move’s moving company platform, you can connect with the top-rated moving services in your area and across South Africa to compare prices and find the perfect movers that suit your needs and your budget!

Check out Wise Move and get your top moving quote today!

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