Real Estate Selling

10 Things to Leave Behind the Next Time You Move

As homeowners pack moving boxes and wrap furniture in blankets, one question inevitably runs through their minds: How did I accumulate so many things? Moving is a great time to purge items you no longer need, increasing the odds that your new home won’t fall victim to the same old clutter. What’s more, leaving certain items behind may actually help out the new residents of your old home. Before you pack a single box, take note of these 10 items you should never take when moving.
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Owner's Manuals

Some appliances—such as refrigerators, microwaves, ranges, water softeners, and hot water heaters—probably won’t move with you. Leave behind the owner’s manuals to make it easier for the new residents to operate and maintain the appliances, order replacement parts, and schedule service calls.

Related: 9 Signs You Need to Replace Your Fridge

Leftover Paint

Do you have a stack of leftover paint cans from last summer’s renovations? Please don’t load them into the moving truck. The new residents will appreciate having the correct paint colors on hand to touch up the scratches and scuffs that inevitably come with moving. Store the cans in a spot without major temperature fluctuations where the new owners can easily find them (for example, under a sink or at the back of a closet).

Related: 10 Unusual Tricks for Your Easiest-Ever Paint Job


When you move out, all curtains should remain on the windows. The new owners will be grateful for the coverings, which probably won’t fit your new home anyway.

Related: Lose the Drapes: 12 Better Ways to Dress a Window

Light Fixtures

Buyers expect attached objects, including light fixtures, to remain in the house. If you decide to take a light fixture when moving, notify the real estate agent before signing the sales contract, and replace the fixture with another one. Also, leave behind light bulbs so the new owners won’t be stuck in the dark. (Plus, bulbs are difficult to transport without breaking.)

Related: 16 Brilliant Lighting Ideas You Can DIY on a Dime

Old Clothing

Take a look in the corner of your closet, and you’ll likely find two-sizes-too-small jeans and misshapen T-shirts. Instead of bringing along clothes you haven’t worn in ages, bundle them up and donate to friends, family members, or your local secondhand store.

Related: 11 Things Never to Buy Secondhand


Unless you’re moving a short distance, it’s a smart idea to find new homes for your houseplants. The less-than-ideal conditions in the moving van, which include extreme temperature fluctuations, lack of water, and stop-and-go movements, may harm or kill them. Try gifting your spider plant or asparagus fern to a doting neighbor instead.

Related: Here’s What Your Favorite Houseplants Look Like in the Wild

In-Ground Features

Anything secured in the ground is considered real estate—not personal property—so it stays with your home after a sale. This includes mailboxes, birdhouses, yard lights, and fire pits. If you really want to take a particular item, make sure it’s listed as an exclusion in the real estate sales contract. Otherwise, after closing, it doesn’t belong to you anymore.

Related: 12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day

Outdoor Plantings

Trees, shrubs, and other landscaping features should be left behind. The new homeowner will expect all outdoor plantings to remain on the property, and established greenery probably wouldn’t survive being transplanted anyway. If you’re itching to bring along a prized rose or shrub, take cuttings to propagate at your new place.

Related: 9 Clever Landscaping Hacks for Your Best-Ever Yard


If you’ve remodeled recently, the new materials may have transferrable warranties that remain in effect after your home sells. Leave the warranty paperwork for siding, replacement windows, appliances, and other items on the kitchen counter, where the new residents are sure to find them.

Related: 8 Products Guaranteed to Last a Lifetime

Hardwired Alarm Systems

Portable wireless alarm systems, such as Wi-Fi-enabled cameras that sync with your smartphone, can be relocated during a move. But hardwired alarms that connect to your home’s electrical system should stay in place. If a security company monitors your alarm system, let both the company and the new owners know about the move. That way, you can discontinue the service, and the new owners can switch it to their name.

Related: 10 Safety Essentials That Most Homes Are Missing

Moving Matters

Moving is the final stretch in a long real estate process. From finding the right realtor to negotiating the final cost, there are a lot of variables when it comes to buying and selling a home. Once you’re settled in you can sit back and relax—just make sure you know these vital things about your new home!