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Cluttered LivingroomIts April, and here in Boston we’re coming into the start of prime moving season. Moving is something most people dread, and with good reason. If you’ve lived in your current home for a few years, chances are you’ve collected things that you no longer use or need. They could be in your basement, garage or attic, or they could be in closets, under beds, or out in the open taking up floor space. You may even be renting external storage.

Most people know that they should declutter before moving. By decluttering I mean sorting through your possessions and discarding what isn’t useful and what you won’t have room for in your new home. If you’ve lived in your home for many years, have who have children who have left the nest but didn’t take all of their belongings, or have inherited things from other family members, the task of decluttering can be overwhelming. So overwhelming that your inclination is to just pack everything up, move it all to your new home where it will once again take up space and collect dust.

Many people look for help and seek out a professional organizer only to find that it can be more expensive than they thought. So what’s the alternative? If you can make moving a truly family affair with everyone sorting through and making realistic decisions about what to keep and what should go, great. If the majority of the task will fall on you, then you likely need some sort of support. Most professional organizers offer a variety of options from performing a needs assessment and creating an action plan all the way to full hands-on support; sorting, trucking donations to select charities, etc. until the task is complete. So maybe you only need someone to help you get started and then provide weekly check-ins to keep you going, maybe you need someone to work side-by-side with you all the way through.

When evaluating the cost of these services you should compare them to the cost of going it alone and just packing and moving everything. If you decide not to deal with the situation and just move everything, here are the hard costs:

  • extra packing materials – boxes, newsprint, bubble wrap, etc.
  • additional moving costs – if the movers will be packing for you it will take longer for them to pack. In any case, it will take longer to move out of your current home and into your new home because the movers will be moving more boxes.

There are also “soft” costs:

  • your time before moving – if you’re packing, the time you spend packing many of these items could have been time spent sorting and discarding.
  • emotional cost before moving – moving is stressful at best with packing being the most stressful part of the process. The longer it takes, the more stressful it gets.
  • your time after moving – more boxes to unpack, more packing materials to discard.
  • emotional cost after moving – stress generated in determining what to do with the excess items that were moved especially if you’re moving into a smaller space.

If you don’t have a lot of time, or are overwhelmed by the prospect of decluttering before moving, consider getting help. The extra cost may be less than you think when compared to the cost of going it alone.

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