How to downsize your stuff for moving

You've amassed a whole lot of stuff over the year and now you're faced with the prospect of throwing it out or moving it. Don't do either! Find new homes for your stuff instead.

A woman with curly hair holding a stack of boxes with more boxes piled up behind her Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

After a moment of pure excitement when booking my flight home for the summer, I looked around my room and was overcome with the stress of having to pack up everything. From clothes to books, I’ve accumulated so much new stuff and realize I need to downsize my belongings. But where do I start? Where do I get rid of my belongings? Where and how do I get rid of my stuff in a responsible way (i.e not just throwing everything in the trash or on the side of the road)? Here’s what I found out about doing a good ol’ spring cleaning.


Find the area of most volume

If you’re anything like me, you have specific obsessions that make up the volume of your belongings. Mine are books, stationery, and skincare. Other areas could be shoes, clothes, bags, cooking wear, etc. Start downsizing in the areas with the greatest volume. Sometimes tackling the biggest task first makes the rest feel like a piece of cake.

Once you figure out where to start, how do you actually part with items that you claim to love? First and foremost, ask yourself if you really need the item. If you can’t come up with a good rationale for keeping it or if your answers include, “because one day…,” then it might be time to say goodbye. A few other questions I’ve asked myself about clothes are:

  • When was the last time I wore this?
  • Why did I buy this?
  • Would this item of clothing get shoved in the back of my closet if I bought something new?
  • Does it fit my style now?
  • Would someone else get more use out of it than I do?


The KonMari method

If you're feeling stuck in your decluttering journey, I highly recommend exploring the KonMari method by Marie Kondo. Renowned as an organizing consultant, Kondo has written several books detailing her innovative techniques and is the star of the Netflix series, Sparking Joy With Marie Kondo.

As the title implies, Kondo encourages people to consider whether a personal item brings them joy when deciding whether to keep it. This method extends beyond mere tidying—it invites you to envision your ideal lifestyle and evaluate each possession's role in achieving that vision. By aligning your belongings with your desired reality, you can cultivate a living space that truly resonates with happiness and purpose.


Where to go from here?

So, by now you probably have a pile of items that you have no idea what to do with. But don't worry because you have SO MANY options.



If you're interested in making a bit of cash, then selling your belongings might be your path. The easiest way to do it is on Facebook Marketplace.

My biggest tips for your Marketplace posts would be to make your pick-up locations public and/or don’t give out your address!



Donating your stuff is such a great way to ethically get rid of your belongings while giving back to your community. Here are a few organizations that accept donations:


Dress For Success

Dress For Success provides casual/business casual clothing and accessories to women entering the workforce. If you're interested in donating items that fit this category, make sure you use clear garbage bags. You can drop off your donations to 1595 Bedford Highway, Sunnyside Mall.


Diabetes Canada

According to the Diabetes Canada website, this organization “collects unwanted gently used clothing and household items, using them to raise much-needed funds for Diabetes Canada.” If you’re interested in donating, you can find your nearest donation bin here.


Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank

This local institution has been helping Haligonians for years. It accepts gently used furniture and household items (e.g. dishware, lamps, small appliances) if it’s not ripped, stained, or damaged, or full of pet hair, strong odours (like smoke), or mould.

Parker Street also operates Great Things in Store, a thrift store with locations in Dartmouth and Spryfield, which sells furniture and household items, as well as clothing. Which leads us to…


Thrift stores (Value Village, Salvation Army)

When in doubt there are always thrift stores looking for donations. Just make sure to look up the store's donation policy to make sure you're packing up your belongings correctly and arriving at the donation spot at the correct time.


Dalhousie Free Store

This is an exciting new pilot project for Fall 2024, that will provide a variety of household items and school supplies for free to Dal students and staff through a store on Halifax’s Studley Campus. If you moved out of residence in April 2024, you might have been asked to donate stuff that you didn’t want to take with you. Check the Dalhousie Free Store myDal site (login required) for updated information about donating and picking up free items.