To the Dumpster or the Moving Van? 7 Tips to Help You Decide What to Throw Away and What to Keep When Moving

The average American spends $1,250 on a local move and $4,890 on a long-distance one. This doesn’t even account for the costs of closing on a home — or the deposits and fees required to rent a new place!

But did you know you can save considerably on these costs by purging some of your belongings beforehand? And you don’t need to adopt a minimalist lifestyle to do it!

Here are seven ways to decide decluttering before moving and what to bring to the dumpster and what to take with you on your next move.

1. When Was the Last Time You Used It?

If you haven’t used something in the last year, you probably won’t use it in your new home. As Marie Kondo would ask, “Does it spark joy?”

Some items you may choose to keep or throw away might fall into this category include:

  • Ill-fitting or out-of-style clothing and shoes
  • Books you’ll never read
  • Small appliances you hardly use
  • Utensils that you have duplicates of

You might consider selling these items online or through a garage sale. You may even want to donate them to Goodwill or another nearby thrift store.

But finding the right dumpster rental comes with an array of benefits if you’re purging your entire home before a move.

Not only will it be more cost-effective of your time and money, but it will also keep you safer and keep all of your waste in one convenient location, boosting your productivity.

Plus, your reduced trips will help cut back on carbon emissions, thus helping the environment! With a variety of dumpster rental prices and dumpster sizes, adding one to your moving budget will no doubt lift a weight off your shoulders.

2. Is It Old or Damaged?

Items that are old or damaged may not hold up well during a move. While your movers should handle your items with care, accidents and mistakes can still happen.

Moreover, your items could be damaged through no fault of the movers. Sometimes, the moving truck leaks. Other times, items that aren’t properly secured can bounce around and break — especially during long-distance moves.

Ask yourself if the cost of moving the item exceeds the cost of replacing it. Do you have a warranty or insurance to cover it?

Additionally, determine how easy the repairs would be if you did take the item with you. Could you do it yourself, or would you need to hire a specialist?

If it’s in your budget, it might be worth upgrading that torn sofa, broken bed frame, or wobbly table and chairs.

3. Does It Fit in Your New Home?

Think about the square footage and storage space available in your new home. Is your bedroom big enough for that California King bed? Are your closets spacious enough for those extra shoes and handbags?

As you walk through your new home, try to envision your current belongings there. Your flatscreen TV may be too big for the wall. You may not need a kitchen table if your new home has an island.

At this point in your move, it’s better to reduce or eliminate what you don’t need. Then, after you’ve settled in, you can get to work replacing or upgrading what you got rid of.

4. Where Will You Keep It?

Another key question to ask is where you’ll keep those belongings.

Sure, they might fit in your home physically. But do they achieve the aesthetic you’re looking for? Have you decided to do away with your old theme and start fresh in a new place?

If it fits, but you just can’t envision its placement in your home, this is another telltale sign its time part ways.

5. Will It Be Worth the Costs of Transportation?

Many movers estimate costs based on the amount of furniture you’re moving and how far you’re going. This is where you might need to get creative in packing your moving truck if you opted to do it without helpers.

If you paid for a certain amount of storage space in the truck, you’ll need to know what items will take up the most room. If any of those items can be discarded or eventually replaced, get rid of them now, then worry about it later.

6. Is It Irreplaceable?

It goes without saying that some things should just never be thrown away. These are included but not limited to:

  • Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Passports
  • Other forms of legal identification
  • Tax, insurance, and property records
  • Photographs
  • Keepsakes of lost loved ones
  • Family heirlooms

You might be wondering how long you need to hang onto those income tax returns. According to the IRS, you should aim for at least three years, but there are other circumstances where you’ll need to keep them longer.

For example, if you didn’t file a tax return — or you filed a fraudulent one — you’ll need to keep those records indefinitely. If you didn’t report income that exceeds 25% of the income shown on your return, you’ll need those records for at least six years.

If you filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction, you’ll need to keep those records for at least seven years.

Finally, you should keep employment tax records for at least four years after the tax was due or paid — whichever comes later.

7. Is It Safe to Discard?

While a roll-off dumpster or trash dumpster has many benefits throughout the moving process, remember that it’s not the be-all, end-all.

Some items are unfit for dumpster disposal. These include hazardous materials, such as:

  • Paint
  • Paint thinners
  • Medical waste
  • Household cleaners
  • Automotive fluids
  • Wood stains
  • Lacquers
  • Tires
  • Car batteries

Each dumpster rental will have its own policies as to what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Generally, though, you’ll be safe to discard things such as wooden furniture, household junk, lumber, home improvement debris, shingles, bricks, concrete, and asphalt.

Get Moving on Your Dumpster Rental Today

As you can see, renting a dumpster for your next move will ultimately save you on transportation and labor costs.

Keeping in mind what’s irreplaceable and what’s unfit for disposal, you’ll be on your way to a new, clutter-free home in no time!

Ready to get started? Getting a free dumpster rental quote has never been easier. All you have to do is text us a picture, and we’ll begin working on your waste disposal plan right away!

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Dumpster Medic
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