Everyone, it seems, is moving. It might be a small move, relocating items from one place to another, like when buying a car or a large piece of furniture. It could be moving the contents of one room to another. It might be moving entire home or office across the city or country. Whether gaining or losing space, the task can be daunting.

I have done my share of moving. As an Air Force “brat,” I moved several times as a kid and teenager, back and forth in college, between different apartments in my 20s, in and out of classrooms as a teacher, and five years ago with a two-year-old in tow.

While all that packing, unpacking, and placing is hard work, I appreciate the opportunity that moving brings, the opportunity to start fresh and move forward, surrounded by what you love.

The temptation (and often reality) is to pack it all up, unload, and set things back up in roughly the same manner as before. Often little thought is put into whether the items reflect who you are now or the direction you are currently moving toward.

Once in place, many items remain “stuck” in place until it’s time to move or redecorate or something major happens. Things get added, but not subtracted, until one day you look up, wondering how it all got that way.

The good news is you don’t have to move (again) to get a fresh start. You can take some time each year to evaluate. Subtract before adding. Pay attention to what you really like.

Whether you plan to move or not, it’s time to look around your home and office and do a little subtracting. (I just did some myself!) Here are some common trouble spots:

• College (or work-related) textbooks. When was the last time you looked anything up?

• Wedding or baby shower gifts. If you didn’t register for it, haven’t used it, or it’s still in the original packaging, it’s time to let it go. Let someone else benefit.

Family photos. If you have multiple years of the same family members competing for space in one small area, it’s time to update. Put the most current photos in frames that you like (which may not be the ones they came with). Using similar colors or styles of frames shows off the pictures better.

• Souvenir dinnerware. Cups, mugs, glasses, dishes… kitchens are overrun with plastic memorabilia. Ask each family member choose to his/her favorites. Set a limit. Free up some space.

• The “just okay” stuff. When I ask a client if they like something, and they shrug noncommittally, that means “no.” Keep what you love. Opinions change over time, so don’t assume your husband still treasures the pen Aunt Mabel gave him 20 years ago. Ask. The answer might surprise you.

• The “I used to” things. I used to cross-stitch, collect small porcelain boxes, and adore Victorian decor. I don’t anymore. Those items served their purpose in my life, home, and office for a season. It’s now time to move on to a new season and make room for my current favorites.

• The “doesn’t fit” item. Whether it’s that pair of jeans that you “know” will fit someday, the box that has been moved but never opened, or the knick-knack that doesn’t go with anything, it doesn’t fit in your life any more. Time to let it go.

Whether you plan to move, just moved, or haven’t moved in a while, take a good look around. Do you like what you see? Would you hang it, wear it, use it, or buy it today? If not, let it go.

Don’t be in a hurry to fill the space that is left. Empty space is good. It provides room for possibilities. Moving forward, what do you want to be surrounded with?

Whether you are planning to move or simply need a fresh start, take some time to subtract. You’ll be glad you did.

©Renee Ursem, 2013

Author's Bio: 

Renee Ursem, Professional Organizer and owner of Get It Together, LLC in Las Vegas, helps people learn how to organize and maintain their spaces using simple, practical strategies.
Renee can be reached at www.get-it-together-llc.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GetItTogetherLLC) and Linkedin.