Moving into your new condo signifies a fresh start, but it can be stressful if you bring clutter with you. Understandably, it can be challenging to organize your stuff and decorate your new place. You may feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to sort, pack, and transport. Emotions and memories are often attached to things, making it harder to leave some items behind. But imagine being in your new condo with everything in place. Doesn’t it feel good? Moving in can actually be stress-free. Although it may be difficult, if not impossible, moving in without hassle is easy. Follow these 8 move-in tips for new renters.

1. Start immediately and combat procrastination

Move-in Start Immediately

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Move-in tips must begin with this oft-forgotten advice: declutter immediately. Your things will not sort themselves out on their own. It sounds obvious but procrastinating involves a hidden wish that clutter will suddenly vanish without you lifting a finger. Packing all of your belongings and preparing for the move will take a lot of your time, energy, and, if you keep on delaying, resources. Declutter before and during packing so it will be easier for you to move. If the temptation of delaying is strong, call a friend to help you pack in a hurry. Support each other in keeping focused and avoid goofing off. If you have many things to transport, there are moving companies that charge a decent price and can come over as soon as you’re ready.

2. Declutter your to-do list

Move-in hacks include giving your to-do list an honest look. Sometimes, it’s a cluttered to-do list that’s causing you stress more than a cluttered space. Give your productivity and motivation a boost by de-cluttering your to-do list. Watch out for tasks that make you feel good without contributing to your goals. For example, if labeling your boxes with printed stickers and embellished tags is taking a long time, drop it from your to-do list. The truth is you cannot do everything, but you can definitely do all the important things. Determine the tasks based on necessity. Be realistic with time and don’t hesitate to remove a to-do item that distracts you from your main objective: to move in.

3. Save time by sorting the bathroom first

Move-in Sorting the Bathroom

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Moving in can be a hassle because it forces you to go through all of your stuff. As what usually happens, people take time deciding whether or not they will discard sentimental items. Save time by sorting impersonal items first. The bathroom and your toiletries are a good place to start. People are likely to have less attachment to an old toothbrush than to an old school T-shirt. Starting in areas with items you’re less attached can help you downplay the potentially-emotional process of decluttering. If you immediately start in your bedroom or living room, you might end up looking at old photos, souvenirs, and documents. As a rule of thumb, if an item is already damaged or has been unused for over six months, you likely won’t miss it if you discard it. For clothes, it’s better to donate or toss those you haven’t worn in over a year.

4. Do it one step at a time

It’s impossible to do everything at once. Do it step by step to avoid the hassle and stress. Organizing all your things and decorating your condo in an entire day is not a good idea. Not so many renters have the energy and the focus to spend more than 8 hours cleaning and sorting. You’ll likely end up frustrated and inefficient if you push yourself to the limit. It’s smarter to do it in batches. Depending on how cluttered a room is, set a goal to pack up the things in that particular room. Try to spend two to three hours maximum on one task or area. Doing this can fuel your motivation without burning you out in the process. Work through one goal at a time and avoid thinking about what’s next.

5. Smart categorization is key

Is sorting all the clutter getting the better of you? Try sorting items into three categories: keep, donate, and toss. Keep necessary items like those you use often and those of true sentimental value. For items to donate, pack only those in good condition. Avoid donating unusable items. If you have plenty of unused clothes, donate an item for every two that you keep. Rely on your instinct. Items that don’t spark any interest are best donated or thrown away. When coordinating “keep” boxes, label each box according to condo area. You can label the box for your kitchen with a blue marker and the box with bedroom items with a red marker. This labeling system can save you lots of time when you unpack.

6. It’s OK if it doesn’t look perfect

Perfectionism can cause you stress. When decluttering, “good enough” is often good enough. When organizing your items in your new condo, avoid the mentality of making everything look exactly like those you find in magazines or shopping catalogues. Your new condo can look good and feel comfortable without having to look like an advertisement. Organize your space based on need, focusing more on keeping your things clean and tidy. Your home should provide you comfort and support your lifestyle. It’s fine to get inspiration from magazines, but you’ll ultimately be disappointed if perfection becomes your goal.

7. Organize first before buying anything

Move-in Organize First

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Renting a new condo is exciting. But moving in can be stressful if you buy more than what you need. Organize all your items first before thinking of buying new stuff. The objective is to declutter. Avoid unnecessary purchases that will clutter your new home. Don’t obsess over all those pretty-looking containers and accessories at the mall. They won’t do you any good if they end up cluttering your condo. After cleaning and organizing your stuff, only then should you begin to assess what items you really need to buy. Remember that you can always add later. It’s better to have more space than ending up with items you don’t need.

8. Have a system that works for you

Move-in Systems that Work for you

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Landlords expect renters to take care of the condo. To keep a well-organized space, it’s important to establish a system that works for you. Without some sort of organizing system, your condo is likely to end up cluttered and chaotic. If you’re living with a family or a roommate, make sure that each household member adheres to the system. It may take some time for a system to really work, but eventually it should become second nature. For example, instead of stashing different items in a single drawer, label each drawer for similar items. While condo living has the luxury of regular upkeep, your system should prove more efficient in keeping order everyday.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes. Decluttering takes time and effort. But following these clutter-free move-in tips for renters should make things easier. An organized move-in should give your more time to focus on other important things like understanding real property tax, enjoying your condo’s amenities, and having a relaxing condo life.