How To Simplify The Seemingly Complex Task of Moving

This is a guest post by Akilah Richards

It's safe to say that moving is one of those tasks that few people enjoy. While it is exciting to start a new phase in our life journey—be it a new relationship or job—the idea of packing everything up and then spending a great sum of money to move it is understandably less than appealing.

However, when the move is thoughtfully planned out, the whole process can actually be very beneficial and even cathartic.

Taking the Minimalist Approach

The less belongings that people have, the less it costs them in terms of time, expense, maintenance, immediate space and storage. Consider the reality that the desire to create more time to devote to what is really important in your life, is not about managing time, but more so about managing environment and experiences.

Below are four ways to successfully adopt a minimalist approach when planning out any move.

1. Run a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Moving is usually expensive, which is why it is so important to do a cost benefit analysis prior to starting the packing process. Once you understand what the budget will be, it is easier to determine what will be kept, packed and used and which items should be discarded, donated or stored.

For instance, moving companies often charge by the pound, while some charge by the box or square footage. If you're moving from Miami, Florida to rent or buy real estate in Chicago, for example, the distance and weight will be significant expenses. Run the numbers beforehand, to minimize the stress of having to estimate costs.

2. Downsize with a Sense of Urgency

One of the best ways to minimize cost and concern in a move is to downsize. The process of downsizing allows you to prioritize what you need and release what you don't need. It also automatically creates more valuable living space.

Keeping in line with the move to Chicago as an example, getting rid of items that are not vital to survival leaves you with more space and more money (lighter travel costs) to actually enjoy your new city.

If it feels like you're losing something by selling it or giving it away, shift your mindset by thinking of downsizing as a way to take advantage of all that Chicago has to offer in terms of art, culture and entertainment.

Having less items to worry about, haul, house and store will provide more time to engage in meaningful activities than offer enrichment than ownership of belongings could never offer.

Here's how to downsize and declutter:

  • Go through each room and make decisions on what will be moved, stored, donated or discarded. Whittling the task down in this way makes it much easier to confront.
  • Donate, discard, or gift as much as you can. While it may seem more costly to discard certain things only to buy similar ones later, the truth is that it can actually be much more affordable. With the cost of moving materials and movers and storage, planning to buy later is an excellent alternative, and you may find that you don't need to replace many (if not most) of the items you sold. For instance, there are numerous thrift store, estate and rummage sale options in cities like Chicago. In this way, you can better furnish the new space according to functionality and have more fun choosing new items.
  • If you have precious cargo such as family heirlooms, the best strategy may be to arrange for storage ahead of time. Choose carefully and keep in mind that everything that is kept will cost to maintain in one way or another.

3. Choose a Storage Facility

If you're moving to smaller or uncertain quarters, choosing a storage facility near your new home may be a good strategy. Choosing facilities that are close to home helps to maintain the downsizing approach since the items will be easily accessible.

After you've settled in, re-visit your storage unit and do another round of donating or selling. It may be even easier to part with old items once you're in the energy of the new space.

They say it is divine to collect experiences, not things. If that resonates wit you in any way, then try the steps in this article to get aligned with that space. The main thing to remember when adopting the minimalist approach to moving is that old baggage never fits well into new spaces.

Give yourself an opportunity to experience your new space without the influx of old items. If you've downsized and kept the things you need, then you have room to be really thoughtful about whether you actually need to replace the discarded items.

About The author

Akilah Richards is a Certified Family Life Educator who helps people design their ideal lives. She shares articles on simplicity and self expression as resources for those looking to lessen the stress of everyday life talks like moving. Websites like can be great at reducing the stress of a move by giving insights on real estate in Chicago, Charlotte, or any other major U.S. city.

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6 Responses to How To Simplify The Seemingly Complex Task of Moving

  1. Christy King August 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    This doesn’t work unless you plan ahead – and unless you don’t worry much about looks! – but my husband and I have decided to not replace most worn furniture. We’ll just get rid of it when we move and buy new afterwards.

    • Akilah August 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      I agree that planning ahead is the best way to do it, Christy! It leaves you more present throughout the process, and then you get to use the steps I included.

  2. Mohamed Tohami August 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    That’s a smart decision Christy. Worn furniture won’t serve your new future location for sure.

  3. Kimberley August 27, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    When we relocated, my husband’s company paid for our entire move, however, I was still ruthless. It was very “cleansing” to just let it go. I would also add that if the item you are paying to move costs more to move than its value, let it go. Exceptions being sentimental items, however, I am in to the “let’s take a picture of it and let it go”.

  4. Moni August 30, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    I love the “old baggage never fits well into new spaces” – that can be applied in so many other areas of life.

    • Mohamed Tohami August 30, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      That’s a very good catch Moni. Holding on to the past will never lead to a better future.

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