Most of us are pretty darn good at accumulating stuff — and cleverly stashing it around our homes to give us the false security that comes with thinking we’re not slobs, hoarders or worse.

Then it comes time to move, and all of a sudden we realize we don’t actually need 50 magazines from 2005 or all six yearbooks from elementary school.

Are you planning to move sometime soon? If so, take some time before your current lease is up to organize your belongings. In doing so, you can ensure you’ll have less clutter at your new place — which should make you happier, at least on some level.

Let’s take a look at seven tips you should keep in mind when you’re moving to a new apartment:

1. Start preparing for your move right away.

It’s never too early to start organizing your stuff to prepare for your next move — even if you’ve signed something like a five-year lease. There’s a reason we all know the phrase “spring cleaning.” It’s productive to get rid of the garbage in our lives, because clutter causes fatigue. Start planning ahead for your move right now. You’ll get an idea of how much stuff you have, and you’ll also get rid of some junk.


2. Know the size of your next place.

Are you moving into a tiny studio in the big city? Or did you find an ideal farmhouse in the middle of nowhere? Before you can give your belongings an honest look to see what you should keep, you need an idea about the size of your next place, so you know about how much stuff you can reasonably expect to take with you.

3. Determine which possessions you can’t live without.

We all have possessions we couldn’t imagine life without: old pictures, laptops, hard drives, musical instruments, clothes, keepsakes and the like. Take an inventory of the items you aren’t willing to part with. You can then begin to imagine how those belongings will be stored in your new space.

4. Figure out which possessions you can sell, donate or recycle.

When you move, you realize that many of the possessions you’ve been stockpiling are completely worthless. You can throw those things away. You’ll also find that you’ve changed your opinion about a few of your possessions. It still works and serves a purpose, but you don’t want anything to do with it. Rather than throwing it all away, considering selling it to make some cash to help with your move. Otherwise, you can donate or recycle it.

5. Ask yourself if you need self-storage.

Will everything you want to keep fit in your new place? Probably not. If you’re moving into a newer apartment, don’t worry about bringing things like window insulation with you. Typically newer apartments that are labeled Energy Star are about 15% more efficient in terms of energy saving. If you want to hold onto a few items, look at self-storage options, but be warned: do your research before renting one.


6. Throw away your clutter.

At this point, you should have determined what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. During the course of that decision-making process, you probably threw a lot away. Now, throw out even more. You don’t need 17 pairs of shoes, let alone 29 pairs of socks — at least five of which are stained.

7. Organize your new apartment.

Now that you’ve cleared a lot of junk from your life and moved into your new space, it’s time to thoroughly organize your belongings. If necessary, purge more stuff that made the first cut. At the very least, an organized apartment should give you a head start on preparing for the next move.

Here’s to finding a great new place, and transitioning there smoothly — good luck!