Tag Archives: moving

You Can Use Moving as a Catalyst for Downsizing


Most of us have clutter lying around the house: trinkets we don’t remember how we obtained, broken or worn items we’re never going to use again, things we were gifted but never wanted, the list goes on.

Moving is a great catalyst for getting rid of things you don’t want or need. A new home is a blank slate. You can start anew with only items that benefit your life. Below are some tips for using moving as a catalyst for downsizing your possessions.

womanundermoving boxes

Decide What’s Important to You

The first step to downsizing is to analyze your viewpoint on possessions. What sort of items do you want in your life? Obviously, items you use on a daily basis will stay. These items make your life easier and contribute to your happiness and well-being. When it comes to décor and other items, think about whether you notice them often and if they make you smile. We all want a positive vibe in our living space, but too many trinkets can actually add stress to your life instead of bringing joy.

You’ll also want to think about what you want your new home to look and feel like. This means getting rid of items that are broken, damaged, or just don’t contribute to your space. As you pack, you’ll want to think about every item. Does it add functionality or positivity to your life? If not, strongly consider leaving it behind.


Purge Your Belongings

After you’ve decided your standards for keeping and getting rid of items, it’s time to start the purge. Here is a great article with tips for purging your belongings before a move. 

As the article states, you’ll want to be very intentional in your organization. Designate piles and boxes for items you’re keeping, items you’re donating, and garbage. I suggest creating these groups in piles first, then packing your “keep” pile a few days later. This will give you a second chance to analyze whether each item truly positively contributes to your life.

You should get rid of:

Items you haven’t used in over 6 months

Items you’re only keeping to make someone else happy (gifts you never wanted)

Anything that is broken (if you haven’t fixed it yet, you probably never will

Clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months (with the exception of seasonal wear)


Keep the Momentum Going

Once you’ve moved, you have a chance to keep the momentum from your purge. You can do this in several ways. The first is to resist the urge to fill your new space with clutter. Keep your home organized and only buy things that you actually need. 

The second trick is to pay attention to what items you’re using. My favorite trick for keeping the closet organized is to turn the hangers backwards when hanging all your clothes. Then, after you wear them, re-hang the item the opposite direction. In 3 months, you’ll be able to quickly see which clothes you haven’t worn. If they aren’t seasonal, there’s a strong case for donating them.

Sometimes it’s easy to get in a funk with clothing. You wear the same clothes over and over again because you like them. But then maybe a certain shirt gets really worn. You keep wearing it because you used to love it, but you no longer feel confident in it. Learn to purge clothes as soon as they don’t make you feel good. This includes shirts with un-removable stains, clothing with (un-fashionable) rips and tears, and jeans that no longer fit properly, resulting in the zipper constantly sliding down. Removing these items from your closet will result in a functional wardrobe full of clothes you truly enjoy wearing.

These are just a few ways that moving can help you be more intentional in how you view your belongings. Do you have any downsizing tips? Share in the comments!


* Contributor Jeriann Watkins blogs at dairyairhead.com. As a crafter, she knows the challenge of wanting to keep items for their potential. You can see her organization tips and downsizing successes on her blog.
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Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

I recently received a question from an addSpace follower. I am certain that many of you also have a similar concern so I wanted to go into detail and provide practical steps to help you declutter your life. This is what she asked:

What questions can I ask myself as I sort through boxes of “stuff” in order to get rid of most of it?

The answer:

For starters, if these boxes have been packed and loaded for a long period of time (over 3 months), before you open them you need to ask yourself – “what exactly is in there?

If you don’t have a (more…)

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8 Tips to Downsize with Less Effort

Many of us experience the need to downsize or help others downsize. The tips below will help you become a downsizing master!

They say you teach what you need most to learn. As I filmed this television show in preparation for my talk at the Western Reserve Masonic Community in Medina Ohio, I realized that (more…)

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What Items Should I Place in the Different Sizes of Moving Box?

Moving Boxes

I received a question the other day that made me search for more information. You might have wondered this as well so I thought I would ask an expert and answer in detail.

Dear Kathi -I ordered moving boxes and supplies and received three sizes of moving boxes in my moving kit. I am not sure what I should place in each of the different sized boxes?

Professional movers use standard sizes of moving boxes so they can consistently pack specific items into each different size with the goal of providing  the maximum level of protection. Also, professional quality moving boxes are sized to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. These boxes effectively stack on top of each other in a moving truck or a storage unit. The 3.0 fits on top of the 4.5 etc. This helps save you money on the cost of your move, as movers are faster and more efficient.

It is a fact that if you pack your belongings in the right size of moving box, you will have greater protection of your valuables from moving damages.

All Purpose Moving Box-1.5 Cubic- The most important size of moving box is the 1.5 cubic, otherwise known as the All Purpose Moving box.  This size of moving box is actually the smallest of the moving boxes, but it is the one that is recommended by professional movers for most of your belongings.

The reason why this box is so valuable is you can put just about anything in it, fill it to the top and not worry about it becoming too heavy to lift. After all, one book is not heavy on it’s own, but 100 books are.  The great news is with the All purpose moving box, you can put any items that you want inside of the box, fill it to the top, seal it and know your valuables are protected and it isn’t too heavy.
Examples of what to put in the All Purpose Moving Box include: books, cans, photo albums, plates, office supplies, music, small electronics like phones, answering machines, 85% of your home can be packed in this size of moving box. etc.

The Kitchen Moving Box-3.0 Cubic- This size of box is most useful in the kitchen to put large woks, large pots and appliances in like toaster ovens. This size of box can also be used to pack folded clothes.

The Large Pillow Box- 4.5 Cubic- This box is a size that some professional movers chose NOT to recommend to their clients. The reason is that so many people think that bigger is better and they want to pack most of their home in this box. This is a big mistake.

The box will easily become too heavy to lift if you put anything other than very lightweight items like pillows or light plastic toys.  This box is great to have to put pillows is. Other than that, be very careful.

Wardrobe Boxes
This box is wonderful to have on moving day. There is a bar inside of the wardrobe box that is designed to hang clothes inside of. Literally you can take your clothes directly from your closet to your wardrobe box-almost like a portable closet. This saves you time when you are unpacking and you will not have a pile of clothes that have to be ironed after moving day has been completed.

The wardrobe box is more expensive than the others because it is designed to support the heavy load that clothes has on it.

Hope this helps!

Article compliments of Moving Box Delivery:
Kirstie Berzanski, President-Owner

Moving Box Delivery provides recycled moving boxes and moving supplies to help take the stress out of moving and make moving easier and less costly.

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How to Organize Before a Move

Dog in Moving Box

When preparing to move, many folks don’t know where to start. The key is to establish a plan to stay organized leading up to and during the move.

Many people think of moving day as being a “day event,” otherwise known as “moving day.” When in actuality, effective planning of your move should be looked at more like the planning of a wedding. It is an event that requires planning weeks and sometimes months in advance. The more you are able to chunk what is needed to be done into smaller parts, the less overwhelming it will be.

Organizing a move breaks down into 8 major parts.
1. Changing addresses- You will need to contact 20-100 different places to change addresses depending on your stage of life. Create a spreadsheet and list everyone that you will need to contact to change addresses for. You can do this well in advance of your move.

  • DMV
  • Social Security
  • Post office for a forwarding address
  • Friends/family
  • Schools/churches/day cares
  • Bills (Phone, cable, Internet, trash, electric, cell phones)
  • Speciality delivery services like Netflix
  • Doctors
  • Magazines/newspapers
  • Credit cards/banks/estate papers/wills

2. Donating or Recycling Items You No Longer Want
Before you even start to pack, it is advisable to go through your entire home and select which items you want to keep, and which ones you want to donate, throw out or give away. A good rule of thumb, if you have not used it in the last year, you should get rid of it. There is no point to moving items that you no longer want.

In San Diego you can donate to many wonderful charities, one of my favorites being the following:

  • Father Joes Village will come to your house and pick up belongings and donate to several different causes of your choice.


3. Selecting your moving vendors
It is good idea to select and find your moving company 1 month in advance if you have the time. Many moving companies, particularly in the summer, get full booked. Schedule in advance, and then change the date if you need to.

  • Check with your local BBB for the ratings of your moving company. Only go with a moving company that has an A rating and is fully licensed and insured.
  • If you are moving locally, you will save money going with a local company that charges by the hour and who is fast and efficient. When you are paying by the hour, efficiency and experience matters.

4. Start packing early
Order moving boxes on-line to save time and start packing early. Most people create a lot of stress simply by waiting too long to get moving boxes and start packing. Areas that can be packed weeks ahead of time are the following:

  • The garage
  • The bathroom and laundry room (you can not move open cleaning products though)
  • Winters clothes if it is the summer, or summer clothes if it is the winter.
  • Fine silverware
  • holiday decorations
  • anything you will not use for a few weeks

5. Don’t change your routine during the moving process
A big part of organizing effectively during a move is keeping a level head. Make sure that you continue to keep your normal routine of exercise, reading, or soaking in the bath. These moments of relaxation will help you organize in a calm and effective fashion. Many people stop engaging in these activities the month they are moving, which helps increase the stress level.

6. Make Sure to Have Everything packed in moving boxes BEFORE your movers arrive.
Local movers charge by the hour. Therefore, if you are fully packed and ready to be moved, the total cost of your move will be less than if the movers have to wait for you to seal moving boxes or collect loose items off the floor. Time is money when you are moving and you are totally in control.

Happy moving!

Note: My colleague Jerry Berzanski, President of Discount Movers has graciously provided these professional moving tips.

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Finding a reputable mover


As fall approaches many of us, including myself are in transition and moving into new homes.

Moving is stressful. Packing and unpacking is sometimes the least of your worries.

Finding a reputable mover is always the biggest challenge.

I have heard more horror stories than fairy tale endings from my clients after their moves. My last move was a disaster, with timelines changing and many boxes missing after the fact.

The best way to find a mover who you can rely upon is to ask around. If you have the benefit of a ‘NextDoor’ Network in your area, this is the perfect place to begin. Next Door is a free bulletin board system that broadcasts things for sale, things for free and a provides a general chat line within your neighborhood. It is an amazing resource and even helped me find my missing cat a few weeks back.if you don’t have a Next Door system in your neighborhood, you can start one yourself with little effort. Check it out – I love this free resource! As a disclaimer, the links include an affiliate link back to me.

After you get a few recommendations and a few mover quotes, go one step further and check out their insurance coverage.

If you live in California, follow this procedure to see if they are insured and reputable.

1. Go to PUC website : https://delaps1.cpuc.ca.gov/pls/public_cpuc/f?p=203:35:14893983128020::NO:RP::
2. Choose: moving company (MTR).
3. Enter Carrier ID (0190802) or Carrier Name/ DBA (Vector Moving.
4. Press submit.
You will then see all the license and insurance information for the vendors you are considering hiring.

If you live outside of California, google search your government website for similar systems. The best way to protect yourself is to double check each mover before you hire them so make sure to do your due diligence in advance!

Professional Organizers like myself are ready to assist you during your move. I pack, unpack and create zones within your new home that will serve you well for years.

If you are moving and need help downsizing your possessions and not paying to move your excess unwanted, unnecessary stuff, contact addSpace and my team can help.

It pays to get started with great systems in your new home using the help of trained professionals to help you downsize prior to your move and helping you settle in after your move. addSpace has relocated hundreds of clients over the years and are currently downsizing and unpacking two clients as this article is written!

If you have nay questions about how addSpace can help, click on this link or call 760.436.4266 and we are happy to answer your questions and explain how the process works. If you don’t live in Southern California, you can visit the National Association of Professional Organizers, NAPO.net to find a Professional Organizer in your area. If you prefer to work with Board Certified Professional Organizer including addSpace To Your Life! Visit the certified Professional Organizer website.

In the meantime, have a fantastic fall. I will be moving mid September and am looking forward to an easy, joyful move!

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How to store almost anything, both at home and in storage units

As much as I try to discourage clients from using offsite storage to house unused clutter long term, self storage units and movable storage units can be lifesavers when you need to move out of your current home and need to house your belongings somewhere until you can move into your new home.

Below is a really helpful guide from NextDoor Storage for how long certain items can be safely stored, both in storage units and at home.

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Organizing kitchen

Dear Kathi,

I would like some tips on organizing my kitchen. I’ve just moved in and am basically starting with a clean slate. I can put my items anywhere you feel it makes sense. Are their any common guidelines I can use to decide where to store my spices and kitchen gadgets?

James, San Diego


Congratulations on your new space! You are really smart to plan where you will store things before you begin unpacking your kitchen items.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the word “organize” as follows: To form into a coherent unity or functioning whole; to arrange by systematic planning and united effort. This sounds exactly like your intention!

Define the space you will use for each major kitchen task: Prep, Cook, and Cleanup. Assess the storage space available in and surrounding each area. The ideal kitchen will have enough cabinets and/or counter area to house the tools required for each task.
Position the spices/oils, pots/pans, and other cooking tools (spatulas, hotpads, etc) in the Cook Zone. You can find stacked Lazy Susans built specifically for spices that really optimize your cabinet space and keep spices within easy reach.

The Prep Zone, ideally located by the sink, should contain cutting boards, knives, vegetable scrubbers/ peelers, spatulas, spoons and mixing bowls. If counter space is an issue in this zone, donate your knife block and install a large magnet strip on the backboard above the cutting board.

The Cleanup Zone is fairly self-explanatory. It encompasses the sink and dishwasher as well as the garbage container. The Prep and Clean Zones are generally adjacent to each other and share the use of the sink and garbage.

If you have the option, your main Prep Zone should be on the side of the sink closest to your stove and oven with your Clean Zone on the side of the sink area that is directly above the dishwasher and away from the Cook Zone.

Dishes should be housed above the Clean Zone. Serving platters and bowls can be housed above the Prep Zone.

If possible, also create a breakfast area in your kitchen that contains the toaster, coffee/tea pots and mugs, honey, jams, fruit basket and assorted cereals.

The ultimate pantry will be located by or near the kitchen entrance. Your pantry can also be organized into different zones. Separate snacks, meals, beverages, condiments, paper goods, etc into their own spaces.

Stacked/tiered shelves work well for storing canned goods and extra condiments. Plastic or rubber covered wire shelves can now be found in almost every superstore.

When purchasing storage containers always buy square or rectangular shapes. They typically hold more volume and take up less space than their round counterparts. They stack neatly and store flush against each other.

Store extra tea bags, spice mixes, and baking packets in their own baskets or boxes without lids. Your packets will be neatly contained and easily accessed.

Consider the vertical space available between each shelf, in every cabinet. Typically, there is a major amount of unused space within each cabinet. Riser racks will double your square footage. Top shelves and coffee cup shelves usually benefit greatly with these riser shelves.

If you are lucky enough to have deep drawers in your kitchen, you have a marvelous space to store your plastic containers. Your containers will stay neat in a deep drawer and won’t fall out when you try to access them. Consider it serendipitous if this drawer also happens to be located in your Prep Zone!

If you have a second deep drawer, consider placing your pots, pans and lids in this one. If you are using a hanging rack for your cookware, store your lids in a drawer by the stove.
You have a clean slate, so enjoy your new creative ideas and have fun getting settled.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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Organize next move to make unpacking a breeze

Dear Kathi,

I moved into my new home two weeks ago. I feel really overwhelmed with the move, the boxes, the unpacking and the mess created as a result. I work full time and I can’t handle the lack of organization when I get home from work. It’s a good feeling to be in a new place but it doesn’t feel very good to live in such a state of chaos.

My main question is where do I begin and how do I feel a sense of
accomplishment in the process. My place has gets dirtier and more
chaotic as I unpack. I really want to have a housewarming party but am
embarrassed by the state of affairs in my home.

I need to know what tips you can give me so I can see and feel like I am making some sort of progress. Where do I begin, I am overwhelmed.
James, San Marcos


Congratulations on your new home! Remember that there is always chaos and disarray before there is order. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in one day.

A good first step will be to put each unpacked box into it’s designated room. Line these boxes along a wall with the least amount of furniture. Take inventory of your closet/storage space before you begin to unpack your boxes. Will your closets function with the contents that you plan to store within them? If you have more items than shelves or space, consider refitting your cabinets before you unload them and purging the items that you won’t use more than once a year.

Begin unpacking the room that you will use most often. Typically this will be your bedroom or the kitchen with the living room following close behind. Spend time making one room completely clean and functional before you begin a second room. This way, if you begin to feel overwhelmed you can retreat into this room, shut the door and relax away from the chaos.

Tackle the kitchen early on so that you can start eating healthy food. Set up a pantry area to hold all of your dry goods and extra food supplies. Refer to the AddSpace column published January 27, 2005 to optimize your kitchen layout http://addspacetoyourlife.com/advice01_27_05.html.
As you empty each box, break it down. Take boxes and papers to the trash area frequently as you unpack. This will get you out of the house from time to time and the mess inside will diminish.

It pays to recruit a friend or hire a Professional Organizer as you unpack to motivate, assist, and offer fresh ideas about the storage areas within your home.

Keep in mind that without hired help, it typically takes 3-6 weeks to settle into a new home. If you work full time and/or have kids, you can add a few a weeks to that timeline.

There is nothing wrong with taking a few days off as you unpack to enjoy your new space. Creating a new home is not a marathon. It is important to maintain balance while you acclimate to your new surroundings.
If you wish to have friends over for a housewarming party before you are completely settled in, go easy on yourself and order takeout food or have a BBQ. Your friends will understand and might even offer to come back and help you finish unpacking.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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Staying organized during relocation

Dear Kathi
Next month my family will be relocating to Florida for my husband’s new job. I have 2 children and have already begun packing. I read your column a few weeks ago and wanted to ask you for specific advice about packing and staying organized while we relocate.

Maria, San Marcos


There is never a better time to streamline and simplify your life than during a major transition. You are in a golden spot to weed through your possessions and eliminate the items that you don’t really need or love. You deserve to start clean. Alleviate the headaches associated with too many possessions. Create new space in your life and release the old possessions that no longer serve you.

Think about these rules of thumb when deciding what to toss or pack during this process:

• you forgot you had it until you re-found it while packing

• you haven’t used it in the past year

• your children stopped playing with it months ago

• It has seen better days and/or is broken

• you never really liked it but it was a gift from a dear friend or relative

• it no longer reflects your lifestyle

• no one will miss it when it’s gone

• it’s labels indicate that it is expired

• it came with the house

Keep in mind that each item represents time spent packing and unpacking. Even if your move is completely facilitated and subsidized by your husband’s employer, you are still responsible for assigning a space for each possession within your new home.

Gather all kitchen items from around the house including the casserole in the garage, the BBQ set out back and the waffle iron stuffed in your hall closet. Get the picture? As you pack each item, wipe it off, make sure it works and, if it passes all of the rules listed above, pack it for the move.

Collect items from each bathroom and group them together. This provides an opportunity to see the enormity of your collection and will help you decide to pack or purge.

Group, separate and classify your book collection. When your books reach their new home, they will be organized and ready to begin anew in their respective rooms. Pack them into smaller boxes so that you can move them around yourself if necessary.
If you are in charge of packing for the move, pack like a professional. Gather boxes, packing material, packing tape and large felt tip markers. Label each box on the top and sides with the final room destination.

Use large boxes for lightweight items like linens. Use pillows and towels to protect your fragile items within boxes. Place heavier items in the bottom of the box.

Realize that when you move across the US, movers rarely keep pace with your travel agenda. Your furniture often lags behind 3-7 days after you arrive. Pack enough clothes and toys to keep your family comfortable for up to two weeks. You might need to stay a few nights in a hotel or your new home before your furniture arrives.

Pack these items to move with your family (not the moving company):
pillows, a small blanket, a week’s worth of clothing for each family member, books, magazines and games, hearty snack foods, your personal address book, stamps for the kids to mail postcards, pen and notepad, mini-first aid kit and a personal hygiene kit for each family member.

You will have a brand new space when you arrive in Boston. Take advantage of this opportunity to create a fresh look. Give yourself permission to give up the items that no longer fit your taste. Let loose and toss the old shower curtain. Buy new décor after you move. It is invigorating and healthy to create new beginnings. Have fun!

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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