4 Questions to Ask Before Deciding What to Keep When Moving

I sometimes like to tell people that between the ages of 20 and 40, I moved approximately 20 times. Normally, their jaws drop and a look of incredulity crosses their face. That’s a lot of packing boxes and upping sticks and while some moves simply took me across town, others moved me across countries and continents. While I may seem a glutton for punishment, I was always up for a new adventure and I like to think during that time, I became pretty good at deciding what to keep and what to throw away when moving.

And now, after being settled into my current home for the last 8 years (the longest stretch I’ve ever done since I was in my parental home), we are looking at moving early next year. I admit, like everyone else, I’ve probably amassed many more items than I’ll ever need and I have a loft stuffed to the rafters to prove it. Oh dear.

shelving decor from swoonworthy blog

Source: Swoon Worthy

Now, I have found with moving in the past, that it really does help to start purging early on – as soon as you know you’ll be relocating and as far in advance as possible. Editing the items you’ll want to take with you and deciding what to leave behind is never easy but it is necessary if you don’t want to still have unpacked boxes sitting in storage when you decide to move again (yes, I’m guilty of that one).

So here are four questions you might want to ask yourself whilst going through your belongings to make the process just a little bit easier.

Is it Useful?

kitchen shelves interior design by swoonworthy

Source: Swoon Worthy

Of course, you’ll probably want to keep those items you use on an everyday basis. But what about things like that old sandwich maker that’s been gathering dust at the top of the kitchen cupboards? That can go. But the high-end food mixer you spent £500 on 2 years ago that’s only being used every couple of months may be another story.

So, keep in mind how much you’ve used something and further, how much it would cost to replace. The worn-out bathmat that’s seen better days may be useful but may be more bother to take it with you. For low value but practical items that have seen better days, it may make more sense to just replace it once you move.

Is it Valuable?

vintage glassware interiors by swoonworthy blog

Source: Swoon Worthy

While the collection of original 1980’s Star Wars Lego figures may not be particularly useful, they might just be worth some money in the future. The same goes for the things like original artwork or antiques which increase in value over time. If you still like the item and you still wish to have it than carefully packaging these up for your next home might be a good idea.

On the other hand, if you are hanging on to the old silver platter that Aunt Josephine gave you for your wedding 15 years ago that’s never been used (and you don’t particularly like), then perhaps it’s time to sell it on and use the money to fund your move.

Rather embarrassingly, I insisted on hauling my huge collection of nail polishes with me when I moved from the US to the UK. These low-value items took up valuable space and I ended up replacing them in time as my tastes changed anyway. So, bear in mind the longevity of the items and whether they are actually worth the space they’re taking up, no matter how small.

Is it Beautiful?

coffee table vignette by swoonworthy blog

Source: Swoon Worthy

There are plenty of ways to add personality to your new home and decorative items are a great way to do that. So, if you have some items around – perhaps a gorgeous vase or decorative frames that you still cast your eyes over and bring you joy, there’s no reason not to take these with you. You may find you are holding on to things, however, that you no longer really love or no longer fit in with your style.

If the item is still in good shape but is not worth a particularly large amount, then consider a charitable donation. Consider as well selling the items online – either in local Facebook groups, online auction sites or online selling websites to make some extra cash.

Is it Loved?

jewellery on dressing table by swoonworthy blog

Source: Swoon Worthy

And finally, those sparkly vintage dresses your mum gave you from when she was young may not be something you wear now but probably hold sentimental value. Perhaps you are a bibliophile and your books bring you great joy. There is no reason to rid yourself of your large collection (although an edit may be in order if there are books you didn’t like or never read).

If something has no real practical use but simply brings you happiness by owning it and would be difficult to replace, then a ruthless clutter may not be the answer here as you may only regret getting rid of it.


So, there is clearly a time to be ruthless in your editing and times when you don’t need to be. Not everything in your home can be useful, valuable, beautiful or loved and if you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, then perhaps it’s time to part ways.

Be sure to check out more of our valuable tips on moving in our blog posts 13 Things to Do Before You Move and Packing and Storage Tips for Moving.