Designers Say Toss These Unexpected Items From Your Living Room Before Moving

home packed up for a move

Vladans / Getty Images

One of the benefits of moving is that it allows you to take major inventory of all of your belongings. It’s all too easy to accumulate clutter or hold onto items for “one day,” but when you’re packing your home into various boxes and suitcases, you’re forced to confront all of your possessions and evaluate which pieces are important enough to be transported to a new space. If you’ve completed many moves before, you may find yourself getting picky—we all know how difficult it is to sort through box after box when all you want to do is feel settled.

We spoke with designers to get the lowdown on the five pieces that truly can be left behind when you’re packing up your space—no feelings of guilt necessary.

1. Extra Art Pieces

Your favorite artwork will always be a top priority and have a place to shine. Explains designer Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, “We always move all good art and favorite pieces to the new home and find the right space for them.” But what about those works that you now consider to be just OK? O’Brien adds, “Many clients have piles of framed art tucked into a guest closet. Most of it is faded, unimportant and uninteresting.” These are the items to let go of once and for all. Says O’Brien, “There is no need to bring any of this with you unless it has extraordinary value, sentimental or otherwise.”

packing up artwork

The Spruce / Michele Lee

2. Unused Rugs

O’Brien says that like special art pieces, the right rugs will always take precedent. “If you have good rugs, you may keep them for a lifetime,” she says. “We often move rugs to a completely different room in the new house and they work beautifully.” (Just take the opportunity to get your beloved pieces cleaned before the move, she advises.) Any pieces that are iffy should probably  be discarded. “Good rugs are a great investment but cheap rugs often should not make the trip,” O’Brien explains. You shouldn’t feel too bad about parting with such pieces. After all, “[rugs] naturally incur some stains and wear and tear and their size is also so specific to a room,” designer Courtney Sempliner says.

3. Throw Pillows and Curtains 

Such pieces have likely seen better days and may even be a bit dated depending on how long you’ve lived in a space, so out they can go. “It always feels good to set up a new home with fresh curtains and throw pillows,” designer Leah Ervi says. And why not take the time to embrace a new hue in the process? Ervi adds, “The fresh start is a good time to challenge yourself with a brand new color palette, as well.” Don’t forget to replenish pillow inserts, adds Ines Mazzotta of Kelly Hopter Interiors. “Like ‘regular’ pillows, they collect dust and allergens so it’s important to replace them periodically,” she says.

stack of throw pillows

Anastasiia Krivenok / Getty Images

4. Unwanted Books

Stop yourself before you pack boxes of heavy texts that will be a burden to unload: Instead, decide which titles you truly want to keep and donate the rest—or pass some along to friends who may enjoy them. “Moving into a new home is the perfect time to curate your collection of books and to give away the ones that no longer serve you or your living space,” Sempliner explains. “It’s something that most of us don’t take the time to renew or refresh often, so a move is great motivation.” You’ll thank yourself later when you have plenty of free shelf space in your new home, especially if you’re longing for a more minimalist lifestyle.

pile of books

Florencia Viadana / Unsplash

5. So-So Decor 

We all have those decorative objects we scooped up solely because they were on sale, as well as items that were trendy at one time but no longer spark joy. Out they go! “I would say throw out anything that doesn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling,” notes designer Sam Cram. “You should love everything in your home, and if you aren’t head over heels for something—moving is the perfect excuse for getting rid of it! Start fresh in a new home...and curate over time.” After all, the best decorative items are the ones that you collect because they’re meaningful—maybe you pick them up while traveling or purchase something from an artisan you admire. These types of pieces will hold their value for years to come—and perhaps will even spark conversation when guests stop by.

The beauty of moving into a new space is that you can really take a moment to set your intentions as to how you’d like to live in your new home. Maybe you’re craving less clutter, a more neutral palette, stylish built-ins, you name it. You’ll be able to better accomplish all of these goals by parting ways with the pieces that are just taking up space and not doing much else. Your new living room is waiting for you!