The phrase “you get what you pay for” has never been more true when it comes to furniture. While you save major bucks on cheaper furniture like IKEA, you can’t really expect it to have a long life span. After all, a mahogany wood dresser has a very different quality than a faux wood one. Most inexpensive mass-produced furniture is made out of either plastics or particle board (a wood produce made out of wood chips), so it’s not made to last. “It’s not designed to be moved,” says Scott Michael, president and CEO of the American Moving and Storage Association. “The furniture probably isn’t strong enough.”
Your kids’ toys
If your kids are grown, why do you still have boxes upon boxes of toys from when they were five years old? Now obviously you don’t want to get rid of your child’s favourite baby blanket, but if it’s something they played with once or twice, or it’s been hiding in the back of your basement for a decade-plus, it’s not worth bringing to your new place. Struggling on how to pack all your kids’ toys? Michael actually recommends not packing it. “If it’s a toy that they love, make sure it goes with you in either the plane or car,” he says. “You want the toys they care about to be found easily.”
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Worn out furniture
If your couch is stained or missing a seat cushion, you should consider just tossing the piece rather than bringing it with you. Most moving companies charge per box or room for large moves, so you’ll save yourself some money by actually leaving things behind. Smaller moves are typically charged by the hour, thus the fewer boxes you have equals a quicker—and cheaper—move. But if you can’t bring yourself to throw away an expensive piece of furniture, try reupholstering the cushions or re-staining the wood.
You might not think of clothes as something you need to pack and plan for when moving, but don’t underestimate the amount of space and boxes that your closet takes up. Moving homes is the perfect opportunity to go through your wardrobe and purge or donate the items you no longer wear. That sweater you bought three years ago on sale and have yet to put on? Get rid of it! If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably never will. “However, if you smile with memories when you look at it, you can still save it,”says Joan Kagan, sales manager at Triplemint.
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Besides being very expensive, appliances like washers and dryers are considered a necessity by many, so why on earth would you not bring it with you to your new digs? Well, for starters, they’re very heavy and hard to move, so if it’s old, you might want to consider leaving it behind. Most washers and dryers have a lifespan of about eight to 12 years, so if yours is going on year seven, it may not be financially worth it to bring it with you. But if your appliances are brand new, they’re definitively something that you’ll want. Michael advises to have your appliances professionally packed because there are lots of moving parts that need to be secured properly.
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Books and magazines
Your pile of books and magazines laying in the corner of bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens take up a lot of space and are extremely heavy when boxed up. Ask yourself, “Am I ever going to read it again?” or, “Is there value in keeping it?” Libraries and schools are often grateful for gently used books. “I love books and vowed while in college to have a wonderful book collection, to have big bookcases to store my beautiful collection,” says Kagan. “Well, I don’t love the look of book-lined walls and most of those books are never read again. So, while it is painful, I have given away a lot of books to friends, donated some and, yes, I have a lot in storage.”
That can of soup from last winter
Instead of hauling your food from one place to another, donate it to your local food bank. You’ll be doing good and lightening your packing load at the same time. Most places will only take non-perishable food items so be sure to call ahead beforehand. Michael recommends checking out Move For Hunger, which is an organization all throughout the country that will actually come to your house and pick up your non-perishable foods (make sure it’s not expired, first). They’ll even box it up and deliver it to your local food pantry.
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It’s amazing how easily dishes pile up over time. Three coffee mugs somehow always turns into 30 and before you know it you have two cabinets overflowing with them. But do you really use that dish set you received as a Christmas gift at your office’s secret Santa five years ago? If the answer is no, then get rid of it. Dishes are a pain to pack because they have to be carefully wrapped and placed in a box to prevent breaking. “If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably don’t need it,” says Kagan.
Old financial paperwork
If you save all your receipts and bills, moving presents the perfect opportunity to clean house. in most cases you can throw away your tax returns and necessary documents after seven years, but it’s imperative to dispose of your documents carefully—shredding them is best—as you definitely don’t want any of your financial information getting into the wrong hands.
Originally published as 9 Things You’re Better Off Tossing and Replacing When You Move on ReadersDigest.com.