Moving? 3 Things to Take, and 3 Things to Leave Behind


You're packing up and getting ready to move into your new place. Of course your furniture and personal belongings go with you. But what about items that are yours, but also seem like part of the house you're leaving behind? Here's a helpful list to guide you through what you should take and what you should leave.

1. Take your appliances

Unless your home sale contract specifically includes an appliance, all of your appliances belong to you. The only exception is the oven, as some lenders require that an oven be installed before they will approve a home loan. But all other appliances — washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, ice maker, and so on — are yours to take unless stipulated otherwise.

2. Leave behind hardware and fixtures

Here's a general rule of thumb: If it would damage the house to remove it, leave it behind. If taking down the wall-mount for the TV will leave damaged paint and holes in the wall, leave it up for the next occupants.

Another guideline is to leave behind any installed items that are necessary for the house to properly function. For example, don't remove the water softener that connects the water pipes and leave the next occupants with disconnected plumbing. (This happened to us with our first home purchase!) Unless you have permission from the buyers to take items essential to the basic functions of the house, they should stay where they are. (See also: 5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own)

3. Take your sentimental or valuable decor

As a general rule, items like light fixtures and cabinetry hardware should stay with the home. However, if you've hung a chandelier that is a family heirloom over the dining table, you don't have to leave it behind. You can take the decorative items or fixtures that have particular value to you, sentimental or otherwise. Specify in your contract which fixtures will go with you so there's no confusion.

4. Leave behind custom-made items

Those window treatments you had made to perfectly fit the front windows should stay with the windows. Likewise, if you've had shelves, shutters, blinds, or other items built or installed to match a precise space in your old home, let them stay. These custom-made items are often built into the house in a way that would damage or detract from its value if removed.

5. Take your outdoor furniture

If you have an outdoor dining set and a grill on the patio, a swing in the front yard, and a bench in the garden, those belong to you. Pack them up and take them along. Lawn equipment, such as a lawn mower or trimmer, hoses or rakes, should move with you, too. You can also take any houseplants, and outdoor plants in smaller, free-standing pots. (See also: 6 Surprising Ways a Houseplant Can Save You Money)

6. Leave behind the landscaping

Don't move potted plants large enough to function as a landscape feature: for example, that giant ceramic pot filled with annuals that takes up half of the front flower bed. Certainly don't dig up plants to move with you, no matter how much you love them. If you can't bear to leave your grandmother's peony bush behind (I understand the pain), take a clipping or get permission from the next occupants to dig it up. (See also: 6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing)

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