Website 9 things to get rid of

9 Things to Get Rid of When You're Getting Ready to Move

Tax returns from the 1990s? Acid-washed jeans? Prepare to declutter!

By Nancy Mattia - CTW Features

Everyone’s into decluttering these days — call it the Marie Kondo effect — but it is necessary when you’re getting ready to move to a new home. For one thing, it can save you money.

“One of the factors determining the cost of your move is weight,” says Suzanne Lopez, marketing vice president of Victory Van, a moving company in the Washington, D.C., metro area. “Decreasing the weight lowers your cost.” Decluttering will also save you time and stress, she says: The less you pack, the less you have to unpack and reorganize in your new place.

If you think you’ll find it hard to get rid of things, especially sentimental items, take a picture of them, says Lopez. You’ll have them forever! Check the items on the following list to see what’s not worth packing.

1. Books You Will Never Read

Be honest — you’ve owned a hardcover of “Anna Karenina” for years and haven’t even made it to the dedication page. “Books are heavy and packed in smaller boxes so that they are manageable to load and unload,” says Lopez. “If you have books that you know you won’t read again, or don’t hold a special place in your heart, then it’s best to donate them to a school or library.” And you’ll save more by needing to buy fewer boxes.

2. Half-Empty Paint Cans

Unless you’re planning to use the same colors in your next abode — and there’s enough left in the cans, which is doubtful — old oil-based paint should be dried out and put in the trash.

3. Dried Spices

When was the last time you used that jar of marjoram? “Most people will find spices that they only used once or twice sitting at the back of a cabinet,” says Lopez. “Or, they find that their spices have expired. Don’t pack any just to throw away at your new home.” Most ground spices like marjoram last only two to three years before they lose their flavor and potency.

4. Clothes You Never Wear

Do you have a closetful of clothes that: a) will fit again if you lose 15 pounds, or b) you bought because they were on sale and not because you liked them? Give the lot to your local Goodwill. You won’t miss them and you’ll have lots more room in your new closet for clothes you do like to wear.

5. Frayed Bath Towels

Give yourself a housewarming gift of a new set of towels. Contact animal shelters in your area who will gladly accept the old towels. Many use them to line cages and provide a warm place for the animals to sleep.

6. Expired Medications

Ask your pharmacist about any take-back programs in your area; if none, follow these steps from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and throw meds out in your household trash. The FDA says to mix the medication with dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds in a sealable plastic bag to throw in your regular trash.

7. Tax Returns that Go Back More than Six Years

Based on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) guidelines, you should only keep tax returns for six years. If you (and your tax return from the last two years) get audited and the IRS finds a substantial error, it may need to see returns that go back six years. Shred older returns before you move.

8. Old Photos

Years ago, people had photos developed at their local pharmacy, sometimes in duplicate. Most people kept them, even the bad ones. Now’s the time to take out those photo envelopes and only save the ones you like. Consider converting to a digital format your precious memories for safe-keeping.

9. Takeout Containers

You’ve got quite a collection thanks to the amazing lemongrass chicken you can’t get enough of at your local Thai restaurant. Savor the chicken; eighty-six the containers that are non-recyclable. You’ll start a new collection in your next home!