OK, so it’s sorting & packing time. Every bit as much fun as the last time. These are my 13 steps:

  1. Prepare mentally for quite some time / procrastinate.
  2. Start carefully by looking at things while continuing to mentally prepare and/or procrastinate (it’s important not to start too early; it has to be done anyway and the earlier you start, the more time consuming it’ll be).
  3. Start with an easy room, and something easy in that room, such as a drawer in the bathroom. Or something that is even a bit fun, like clothes, shoes and accessories. Surely there’s a dress or two that merits your attention and some human contact.
  4. The previous steps might give courage to start going through the house, room by room, floor by floor (let’s keep the basement out of it for now). Once you start, it gets easier!
  5. Sort through things at least twice. The first time you’re always more sentimental, but then that first time hardens you so that the get-rid-of-heap gets bigger the second time.
  6. Give away / recycle / throw away anything that hasn’t been taken out of the cupboards since the last time you moved, unless of course it has sentimental value (but also see point 5; sentimental value may diminish for the second sorting).
  7. Do not attempt to sell or give away anything belonging to your children that might have sentimental value to them and do not think yourself the judge of that. Their reaction might be linked not only to their precious belonging, but to the upcoming major change in their lives.
  8. Go through as much as possible with your children (re point 7) – they get to help out and it’ll help them prepare for the move.
  9. Do not make the mistake of believing that your children will forget they had things (the giant cardboard house they made years ago for example) (re points 7, 8)
  10. Your spouse might forget though, so consider to secretely get rid of a few things that obviously need to go.
  11. Be systematic about it while continuing to forget about the basement.
  12. Consider getting rid of everything in the basement except the wine.
  13. Drink the wine. Makes the burden easier to carry – for you and for the moving guys!