Rubbish Removal and Clutter Clearing Tips When Moving House

Preparing to move house is an exciting but busy time. You’ll likely have a list of things to do longer than a giraffe’s neck but it’s a great opportunity to have an efficient clear out of those items you no longer need. There’s no point taking a spare Christmas tree, broken microwave, or unused bedding to your new home.

Sorting out waste before you move can save money and time too. It removes the effort of packing stuff that’s just going to be thrown out anyway and means there’ll be less for your removal firm to manage, which could lead to lower fees. Your future self will thank you for removing waste sorting from the list of jobs to do in your new house.

Hiring a skip can be tempting but it’s expensive, you need the space (and a permit if it’s not placed on private land), and often everything ends up in landfill. Instead, follow these tips to manage all your waste efficiently, cost-effectively, and in an environmentally friendly way when moving home.

boxes packed up for a house move.

Find a new home for furniture

The biggest items you might want to get rid of when moving house will probably be pieces of furniture. Now is the time to say goodbye to that old sofa you’ve been meaning to replace for years, a broken wardrobe, or the dining chairs and table that won’t suit your new home’s style.

Otherwise, you’ll spend money and effort carting big bits of furniture around just to take them to a different tip. That should be your last option to get rid of furniture when moving home, although it may be necessary if the furniture contains persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The greenest choice is to pass on your old items of furniture for others to use if they’re in decent condition.

Ask friends, family, or neighbours if they want anything, which prolongs the furniture’s life. Donate furniture to a nearby charity shop – some even offer free collections to save you a trip. Alternatively, sell online using sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree (you can even make collection mandatory, so you don’t have to transport the furniture).

What is POPs waste?

Switch electrical appliances

White goods and electrical appliances are some of the other bulky items you might consider getting rid of when moving home. You’ll likely leave the oven behind anyway. If you’re organised you may have agreed to include some other appliances with the house sale, such as a washing machine.

It can be a good negotiating option and saves you the hassle of shifting a few big items. Only leave behind any white goods if it’s been agreed with the buyers. Most people take fridges, freezers, washing machines, and tumble driers with them. If you’re not leaving these items then it’s a good time to assess their future.

You may want a more energy-efficient fridge for your new home or should your washing machine be playing up it could be time for a change. Repairing any faulty electrical appliances is best to extend their life, and save resources, energy, and money. Those beyond repair should be recycled as electricals contain many valuable and hazardous elements.

Many electrical retailers are part of a distributor takeback scheme for WEEE in the UK. Check which stores near you participate and if they’ll accept your old electrical items. This offers a free way to recycle all sorts of old electronics. With small electronic items like kettles and toasters, you can take them to electrical recycling banks.

oven in a kitchen.

Bundle up clothing, bedding, and soft furnishings

As you’re emptying your wardrobes to pack up clothes for moving you’ll probably come across items you’d forgotten about. Now is the perfect time to review garments that no longer fit, suit your style, or will be worn again. Put these to one side rather than boxing up with everything else.

Do the same with any sheets, duvet covers, and other linen you’re not going to use in the future. Clothes and bedding in decent condition can be taken to most charity shops and sold to support the cause or sent to those in need. You can also sell old clothes on second-hand sites like Vinted or recycle them in clothes banks.

Threadbare rugs and old carpet rolls might not be worth taking to your new home either. However, if you’re getting a fresh carpet fitted in your new home then contact the carpet fitter and they may remove and recycle your old rugs for you. Otherwise, visit your local household waste recycling centre (HWRC).

Your duvets and pillows may have lost their shape, become stained, or even faded and ripped after years of use. These are trickier to recycle but some retailers offer takeback schemes (such as Dunelm) to ensure responsible disposal. Alternatively, donate to an animal charity or shelter that could use it as bedding.

Get rid of garden waste

Before putting your home on the market you probably tidied up the garden to make it presentable. If you’ve got a garden waste bin then you can use this (as long as it’s emptied before you move out – you don’t want to leave a full bin for the new owners).

Emptying the shed can uncover lots of old tools, plant pots, and gardening equipment you no longer need, especially if you’re moving to a home without a garden. Donating to charity shops, passing on to friends and family, or selling online are all good options. You could also check if any local community groups or allotments can make use of your old gardening gear.

If you’ve got a compost bin then decide whether you’ll leave it for the new owners or take it with you. It’s unlikely you’ll want to transport it full of compost so either spread it on part of the garden that needs it or bag it up. You could also give some compost to any neighbours or nearby allotments that want it.

Learn about garden waste disposal
old trowels outside a garden shed.

Bag up books, toys, and devices

Sorting through the attic, cupboards, and under the bed can uncover all sorts of miscellaneous smaller items. It’s prime time to decide what’s worth keeping and what needs a new home, like you. Separate and bag or box up books, toys, games, small electrical devices, and other things you won’t take with you.

You can’t recycle books in your household recycling bin due to the glue holding the pages together. Instead, take these to a nearby charity shop or local library. Toys, games, and many working electricals should be accepted by most charity shops as well. This extends their life and prevents them from going to landfill.

How to get rid of waste 
before moving

After sorting through everything in your house and deciding what’s coming with you and what must find a new home elsewhere, you should do everything you can to ensure it avoids going to landfill. Whatever items and amounts you decide to throw away, there are a few ways to get rid of waste when moving home responsibly:

  • Take it to the tip – you can recycle a wide range of domestic waste at most HWRCs, but you’ll need a vehicle to transport everything to your nearest one.
  • Donate items – pass on anything in a usable condition, such as clothes, appliances, electronics, and bedding. You could donate to a charity shop, animal shelter, or just friends, family, and neighbours.
  • Sell stuff online – make a bit of money by listing items from your home on sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. They’ll need to sell before you move though.
  • Contact the council – some councils offer bulky waste collection services that can remove certain items from your property. However, slots may be limited (by time and the type/number of items collected) and some authorities charge for the service.
  • Arrange collection – use a professional waste management company such as Business Waste to remove and recycle big items such as furniture, electricals, carpets, and bags of garden waste from your home at a suitable time.
family moving into new home.

What to do with wheelie bins 
when moving house

Leave your wheelie bins behind as they’re essentially council property and there should be wheelie bins provided for general waste and recycling at your new home. There’s no law around it but it’s good etiquette to leave the bins empty if possible for the new owners.

They’ll likely create a lot of rubbish in the first week so will need the capacity. If they’re not moving in immediately you could fill them and ask a neighbour to take them in after you’ve left. You could also ask your neighbours if you can put a bit of rubbish in their bins too.

Leave no waste behind 
when you move

It’s poor form to leave lots of rubbish and waste items behind for the new homeowners or tenants. This passes on the responsibility for them to dispose of it, which could cost them money. Only leave anything that’s been agreed in the terms of the house purchase – such as an oven, washing machine, or anything else.

There could be possible legal consequences if you leave anything not agreed in writing with the new homeowners and solicitors. You also don’t know how the new homeowners or tenants will get rid of these items – they could end up in landfill. Contact Business Waste and we can find a solution to help dispose of your waste away from landfill.

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