Decluttering Before a Home Remodel

Remodeling your home is an exciting time because you get to enjoy a new, tailored space that functions for you and your family. Keep those goosebumps alive but know that the first step is to remove and store items from the space being remodeled.  We’re not trying to give you homework but it needs to happen. That’s right, we’re talking about the topic of decluttering. 

The Benefits of Decluttering Before a Home Remodel

Decluttering before a home remodel might seem like an added chore, but the benefits are many. Not only does it clear the physical space for the team to work, but it also paves the way for a less stressful, more efficient project. In fact, the running joke is that by decluttering your space, you realize that you may not need to remodel at all!  

Mental Preparation for Change

Home remodeling can be disruptive as it turns your familiar surroundings into a construction zone. Decluttering your home can help mentally prepare you for this change. It allows you to envision the space differently and makes it easier to part with items that will no longer have a place once the remodel is complete. For the items you remove, you’re now able to make space for items you wish were close by; think in terms of belongings stored away in linen closets, the garage or the basement that would be better stored near where they will be used.  

Making the Most of Your New Space

By decluttering, you decide what items are essential to your everyday life. This, in turn, can help you design a more intentional and functional space. It also helps you discover “hidden gems” that you may have forgotten about and some not-so-important gems, such as those tax returns from the 70s (true story from one of our clients!). Your newly remodeled space will have a defined purpose so you keep only those items that are needed. 

💡 TIP: If your remodel also involves an interior design change, such as getting rid of well-loved furniture or items that will not match your new decor, now is the perfect time to do so. You can always consider donating to Habitat for Humanity, Yard Sale Groups or to your adult kids.  

Effortless Cleaning and Maintenance

A cluttered home is more than just a collection of stuff — it’s a collection of dust, grime and hidden messes. Clearing out the clutter will not only make your home easier to clean during the renovation but will also make maintenance a breeze once the remodel is done.  Many times we hear how folks want more storage so they can keep their countertops tidy and ready to go for prep space.  

A messy kitchen countertop filled with dishes and cooking utensils after meal preparation.

The Decluttering Process

Decluttering can feel daunting, especially when preparing for a home remodel. Here are some steps we suggest to help you declutter easier.  

Schedule It

One of the biggest obstacles to decluttering is making the time (because who really wants to spend time decluttering, right?). If you don’t schedule it, you will put it off, and you do not want demo day to arrive and you’re still boxing up stuff. If this happens, it will impact your start date because the contractor will not be able to do their job.  

Start with the end in mind. You know the first day your contractor will begin work, so work backward from there. Think about not just the room (or rooms) of stuff you need to go through but also where you’ll temporarily store things while the renovation occurs. For example, if you plan to store items in your garage, you may need to go through your garage and organize that first before you have the space needed for storage. 

Break It Down into Manageable Tasks

Tackling an entire home (or room) can be overwhelming. Divide the task into smaller, more manageable projects, such as decluttering one room at a time, or in the case of a kitchen remodel, one cabinet or category at a time. 

💡 TIP: Dedicate 30 minutes each day to this task. At first, it will be overwhelming because you simply do not know where to begin. But after you’ve been at it for a few days, you’ll find your rhythm and before long, you’ll see progress.

Establish Decluttering Zones

Create designated areas for items you plan to keep, donate, sell or discard. This will help you visualize how much you’re letting go and make the process feel more productive. It can also deter you from changing your mind and keeping items you no longer need.

💡 TIP: If you have several items in the same category to sell, such as home decor items, consider selling them as a “lot” instead of individually. It usually makes these items easier to sell.

Enlist Help

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Enlist the help of family members or friends. Not only will this make the task more enjoyable, but it can also provide much-needed perspective on what to keep and what to toss.  Old memories can be shared, and new memories can be created.  

Stainless steel Thermador stove with a blue pot on top and a decorative towel hanging from the oven handle.

Room-by-Room Decluttering

Decluttering is highly specific to the type of room and its items. Here are some room-specific tips to help you streamline your belongings as you prepare for your renovation.

The Kitchen Update

A kitchen remodel often involves removing everything: cabinets, countertops, appliances, tile backsplash, soffits, old flooring and potentially walls. This means every item must be moved out.

Prioritize Essential Kitchen Tools

It’s easy to accumulate utensils, pots, pans, mugs and plates. Here are some decluttering tips:

  • Utensils: Lay out every item on your counter and select the essentials. If you have duplicate items, consider keeping only the ones in the best condition.
  • Pots and Pans: More pots means more cleaning and storage. Simplifying your choices leads to fewer dirty dishes at once, making cleanup easier. Consider your family size and cooking habits throughout the year; decluttering also means a hard look at holiday preparation. Keep in mind that big gatherings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter make up just a few of your cooking days. The same applies to casserole and serving dishes
  • Plates, cups and silverware: Remember that the less you own, the less you need to wash. During the remodel, set aside one set of these for each family member; this ensures that you don’t have a lot of dirty dishes sitting around (which are harder to clean without a full-size sink or handy dishwasher. As you pack up the remainder of these items, consider downsizing – maybe keeping double the number in your household (i.e., keep a set of 8 for a family of four).  And during the holidays, consider borrowing these items (or using disposable items).
  • Glassware: Wine glasses and other glassware can be trickier in deciding what to keep, but consider how often you host where you use specialty glassware. If it’s not often, consider downsizing to just a few glasses you can store in your pantry or china cabinet.  If it is hard to let go, consider aftermarket stemware holders or a new hutch (if there is space).  Again, careful planning of the kitchen is to ensure there is room for the items you do not want to let go.  
  • Pantry, Fridge and Freezer: This can be a vast collection of stuff you’d forgotten about (especially if you have a chest freezer). Before the remodel, challenge yourself to cook through as much of your pantry supplies as possible. This will reduce waste and make packing up the pantry much easier. Donate or discard items that have languished on the shelf for too long, and if you find items you’ll not eat but are still within their “best by” date, consider donating them to a local food pantry.
  • Manage Your Small Appliances: Box up those appliances you won’t need during the remodel and store them for future use. If there are any appliances you rarely use (we’re talking to you, air fryer – just kidding!), it might be time to sell or donate them to free up space in your kitchen.

💡 TIP: We’ve seen where some of our clients “gift” kitchen items to their adult children (or other family members). That way, they can borrow them when needed.

Related: How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

Bathroom Decluttering Tips

When it comes to a bathroom remodel, decluttering is about creating space and rethinking this essential area’s functionality. Here are some tips to streamline your bathroom essentials before the remodel begins.

  • Evaluate Your Essentials: Start by removing everything from your cabinets and drawers. Lay it out to see exactly what you have and the expiration dates. This is the time to be ruthless in deciding what bathroom products you actually use. Expired items and products that have never been used should be discarded. “Just in case” products could be stored in a linen closet or put in the stocking for Christmas.  
  • Tackle the Towels and Linens: Evaluate your towels and linens, keeping only what you regularly use. Often, bathrooms become storage for old or mismatched towels. Donate or repurpose old towels and keep a set number of towels per person in the household to prevent overaccumulation. 

💡 TIP:  Animal shelters are a good place to donate towels and linens, as they are in constant need of them. Contact them directly before donating.

Home Addition Decluttering Strategies

Decluttering beforehand can significantly reduce stress and streamline the process when facing a home addition project.

  • Assess and Allocate: Start by visualizing your new space and its intended use. This foresight allows you to identify which items will fit into the future layout (or interior decorating style) and which won’t. Additionally, if an item hasn’t been used in over a year or doesn’t serve a purpose in your envisioned space, it may be time to part with it.
  • Digitalize When Possible: Digitalizing can significantly reduce physical clutter for items like documents, photographs, or even children’s artwork. Various apps and services can transform these items into digital formats, preserving them without taking up physical space.  For children’s artwork, there are new frames that can hinge open to accumulate the masterpieces over time in one place.  
  • Temporary Storage Solutions: Store items you’re keeping in labeled boxes or another part of your home that won’t be affected by the remodel. This will make unpacking much simpler and protect your belongings from dust and damage.

The Renovation’s End: Decluttering Continues

When the renovation is complete, the next step is to thoughtfully reintroduce your belongings into your new space.

  • Assess Your Needs: When it’s time to unpack, reassess the items you stored. Since you have lived without them for a while, you might find you no longer need or miss them. Consider letting go of items that don’t fit your new space or lifestyle.
  • Reorganize Your Space: Take the time to place your items in your newly remodeled space. Think about how to organize your belongings in a way that is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.
  • Maintain Your Minimalism: Adopt the mindset of a minimalist with your newly remodeled home. Regularly go through your items and consider whether they still serve a purpose. By making decluttering a part of your routine, you can maintain a clean and organized home for years to come.

Decluttering is essential in preparing for a home remodel. It sets the stage for the transformation of not just your living space but also your life. It’s an opportunity to simplify and to think about your life in a new way, unencumbered by the things you no longer need. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your home renovation is a smooth and satisfying process from start to finish.

If you are considering a home remodeling project, contact us to schedule a consultation.

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