Making Moving Easier: The Pre-Move Purchase Freeze

We all know how much of a pain it is to pack up and move a truckload of stuff.

My strategy goes a little beyond simply getting rid of stuff: I ruthlessly limit the new things I buy to only things I’ll want to take with me. This generally leads to a lot less buying in general.

I like to think that I’ve become a bit of a pro at moving from apartment to apartment. I’m about to make my forth move in the last four years, and it’s gotten easier every time for me.

My next move is still over 3 months away, but I’m already preparing now. I’m determined not to take a whole lot with me. It would be great to just have a backpack full of stuff, and I really like the idea of being nimble when I want to move around. I’m not quite there yet, but I like to use moves to get rid of stuff.

The Pre-Move Buying Criteria

Before I make any large purchases in the time immediately before my move, I make sure it fits my moving criteria. What do I mean by that? It really comes down to a few simple questions.

1) Can I move it? I first ask this to determine if it’s going to make sense to try to wrangle this item into a moving truck. Large things like couches, bookcases, desks, and other furniture are going to be a challenge to move no matter what your plans are. Knowing that, there’s no way I’d consider taking on any more of these items in the months leading up to the move.

2) Will I want to move it? If whatever I’m thinking about buying passes question #1, I’ll ask myself if this thing is something that I’ll want to bring alone with me. For example, clothes are relatively easy to move, but I might not want to take a whole closet full with me. Other clothing, like a big winter coat, might not make sense to bring along if I’m moving somewhere warm.

I’m not very sentimental about things, and that’s a huge advantage if you’re able to take that out of the equation. I’m a big believer that “the best things in life aren’t things,” and I can’t think of anything I’ve ever regretted getting rid of before a move. I like to hold on to a few nice things I’ve gotten from grandparents, but that’s about the extent of it.

I’m not a big believer in saving things because I “might” need them in the future. I can safely say that over 90% of that stuff never comes out of storage again.

3) Can I wait until after my move to buy? The answer to this is typically “yes,” so hopefully that talks me out of my purchase. It’s always a battle against instant gratification, but thinking about how much easier moving will be without the excess stuff often steers me away from buying.

For me, taking the time to start thinking about all of this now makes it much easier and less stressful later. I’ve already got a big box of stuff from my bedroom to give away, and I plan to move through the rest of the house shortly.

Have you moved lately? Do you have any tips for making moving easier?

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photo by: ASurroca


  1. I’ve moved a lot during my working career! Here’s one tip: Don’t mix stuff from one room with stuff from another room into the same box.

    Start with a room, label the box indicating the room (living, kitchen etc.). Why this is useful? When you unpack it is lot easier to recall where something was in your old house than into what box you packed it in!

    Also, keep the TV and the remote together, not in separate boxes! Good luck!

  2. I hate moving so every time we do, we take the opportunity to get rid of as much stuff as possible. The longer you live somewhere, the easier it is to accumulate Stuff you don’t want or need.

  3. My last two moves were very simple – left it behind if it wasn’t wearable or related to the computer or pets. Anything is replaceable. Anything I want of value is either on the computer, I wear or has four legs and travels with me.

    I seriously don’t know why people keep whole houses full of stuff they don’t use. The last actual place I had myself was a five room cottage with more room than furniture – and the furniture got left behind or donated.

  4. Yeah, I find that’s the prime time to dump the stuff that’s gone untouched since the last move. It’s just motivation for me to do it.

  5. Yup, I’ve done that, and I’d never want it to get that way for myself!

  6. Great idea, I mentally pracitce this rule when I’m getting ready to move as well! Had two moves in the last 6 months and I realized how little stuff I actually end up missing vs. what I think I’ll miss. The biggest shocker for me is the fact that I halved my shoe collection (gasp) and I really don’t miss most of them! To save money on moving costs and protect your fragile goods, use news paper and linens/towels tow wrap them up. Ask for your local grocery store if they have any boxes they can spare and that way you can get moving  boxes for free too 🙂

  7. Your article is quite enlightening! You have created the awareness to viewers on how to make moving process easy.

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