There’s an old saying: “Three moves should equal a fire.” It expresses how important it is to use a move to get rid of stuff you don’t need or want. It’s an exaggeration, but not an extreme one when you consider how much of our spaces are taken up by items we rarely use.

Besides the junk and clutter, other possessions shouldn’t make it into your new home. These are items bulky, fragile, and expensive enough that you’re better off buying new stuff when you reach your next house or apartment.

Whether you’re moving for work and deducting your expenses on your taxes or you’re moving because you found a better place, it’s always hard to decide what to take with you and what may be cheaper to buy at your new home.

Define “Cheaper”

Your definition of the cost of the items on this list could vary based on personal circumstances.  It depends on how nice the things are that you own right now.

If, for example, you can replace it from the thrift store or with a garage sale expedition, it qualifies. If you’ve purchased expensive or hard-to-find stuff, you’ve priced yourself out for many items that otherwise qualify.

Distance is also a factor. If you’re just moving across town, a lot of these items are still cheaper to move than to replace. But it makes good dollar sense to scrap as much as possible for a cross-country or overseas move.

8 Things to Replace Instead of Take With You

1. Already Opened Cleaners and Cleansers

Cleaners and cleansers are inexpensive, and opened ones aren’t worth the replacement cost. But that’s not really what makes these expensive. It’s a matter of margin for error.

If one of those opened cleaners and cleansers tips and spills, it can leak onto expensive items. That puts you on the hook to replace something pricey. It’s far better to leave the opened stuff unpacked and use it for that final scrub-down you give your old place before saying goodbye.

While You’re At It…

Take a hard look at your cleaners, cleansers, paints, and other household liquids. There are likely many items you won’t use. Take this opportunity to dispose of these safely.

2. Baby and Toddler Clothes

Don’t get us wrong. Keep the stuff your baby loves and wears all the time. But for anything you don’t love or that they’ve grown out of, it’s time to say goodbye.

Little ones outgrow their clothes so often, there’s a constant supply of them at garage sales, thrift stores, and swap meets you can pick up for very little money. Pack only necessities from this category.

The same goes for clothes you’re keeping on hand for the baby to grow into in a few years. They’re also available for cheap or free from the same sources. There’s no reason to pay to ship things you can easily replace.

While You’re At It…

Do a deep dive into your clothes. They won’t be as inexpensive to replace, but we’re willing to bet you have at least a box’s worth of things you know you’ll never wear again.

3. Your Piano (Sometimes)

Your piano was expensive, and you may love it enough to bring it to a new house. But you need to consider three important things before you commit to this:

  1. Pianos are costly to move if you’re leaving town. Professional movers sometimes charge four figures for a basic piano model and much more for something higher-end.
  2. Pianos are hard to get rid of, to the point that sites like Craigslist and Nextdoor routinely have them available for free to anybody willing to pick one up.
  3. If you move a piano, you’ll need to have it re-tuned, which adds a hundred dollars or more to your cost.

Put that all together, and you’re often better off finding a used model in the town you’re moving to than bringing a piano without sentimental value along with you. You can get rid of your old one without paying moving fees by donating it to a local school or music shop.

While You’re At It…

Look at other musical instruments you have around the house. Many of us have a trumpet, guitar amp, or xylophone from music lessons we don’t take any more. This is a prime opportunity to sell or donate them, freeing space while making somebody else happy.

4. Dishes You Don’t Love

Dishes are fragile, so much so that many movers recommend transporting them in specially designed boxes that minimize their risk. They’re also heavy, making them costly if you’re paying movers who charge you based on items’ weight.

Fortunately, dishes can be cheap. There are always sets at the local thrift store, and replacing yours with new basic-model dishes can cost under $50. If you don’t love your dishes, you can use this opportunity to replace them.

While You’re At It…

Think long and hard about your sentimental kitchen gear. Most families have a collection of wedding gifts and hand-me-downs they never use that occupy their kitchen and pantry. Get selfish during this move and decide only to keep what makes you happy, not stuff you’re holding on to for fear of hurting somebody’s feelings.

5. Your CD or DVD Collection

You probably already have a membership to a streaming service that gives you free, on-demand access to almost every piece of media you physically own.

If you scrap your collection of CDs, DVDs, and their players, you free up much more space in your new home.

While You’re At It…

This is an excellent time to cull your bookshelves too. You won’t be able to replace them for less than it costs to ship, but take this opportunity to scrap anything you don’t think you’ll read again. You can sell them at sites like Powell’s or give them to friends as a forget-me-not.

6. Big Exercise Equipment

Large exercise equipment is so bulky and easy to replace that most thrift shops won’t accept it. Almost everybody has a few pieces they bought in a fit of optimism and haven’t used in years.

At any given time, you can find the piece of workout gear you need available free online or for under $100. Forego the hassle of moving your large workout equipment and just pick up a replacement in your new city.

The hardest part of this will be getting rid of your old gear. It’s a buyer’s market, and you might not find any buyers at all. The tried-and-true method of leaving it on your curb with a sign that says “FREE” still does the trick in many neighborhoods. If not, call around to your local rec centers and community centers. They often have a gym that could use extra equipment.

While You’re At It…

Take a look at your smaller, portable fitness gear. You won’t be able to replace it cheaply, but there’s probably some stuff in there you don’t use anymore.

7. Large, Cheap Furniture

To be clear, we’re not talking about your heirloom table or that beautiful couch you spent years saving up to purchase. We’re talking about the furniture you picked up for free or cheap while first setting up the house: that couch from a garage sale, that IKEA desk, and the dorm-room bookshelf currently in your garage. Those items you can get rid of for two reasons.

First, you bought them cheaply, and you can replace them just as cheaply. Second, when you move into the new space, the cheap furniture you purchased for your old space likely won’t fit quite right.

While You’re At It…

Think deeply about your pool table, ping pong table, and similar large pieces. When was the last time you used each? If it’s more than a few months, you’ll probably be perfectly fine selling it before you change addresses.

8.  Personal Papers

Papers worth keeping fall into two categories: those you can’t replace and those you can replace by paying the government a steep fee. The first category includes old letters, kids’ report cards, photos, and your grandfather’s diary. The second category includes your birth certificate, Social Security card, and the deed to your house.

For both, the best plan is to scan copies of everything and put that data on two different storage devices. If you have room in a cloud storage account, make that one of them. Then, you can cull through the papers and dispose of anything you don’t need.

In the case of sentimental items, it can cut down on the bulk you move. In the case of official documents, it means you don’t have to panic quite as much if something happens to them in transit.

While You’re At It…

Go through all of your papers and simply get rid of stuff you don’t need, like old utility bills, tax records past the seven-year mark, and things you’re not sure why you originally wanted to keep them.

Final Word

Your move is also a time to consider an upgrade for one or two of your large appliances or pieces of furniture. Is it time for a new fridge? A new mattress? New washer and dryer set?

Don’t go crazy with this spending since moving is already costly enough, but there’s no harm in splurging for one cool new thing. As a bonus, this saves you even more space for your move.

Ronald Young has moved three times in the past eight years and discovered that many times, it’s simply better to start with new items.