The secret to a relatively stress-free household move is to declutter and purge, and to decide what stays and what goes, before the moving truck is pulling up the driveway. In monetary terms, why pay a moving company to move the stuff you don’t want? So here you go: the truth about downsizing and moving.

In addition to coordinating and expediting an household or office transition, moving also includes, among other things, making arrangements for consignment preview and pick-up, donation pick-up, junk collection, and of course, packing and unpacking and getting organized before and after the move. This is where having a competent and experienced professional organizer comes into play.

Should you decide to endeavor the move on your own, please consider the following list of moving myths before moving forward:

Myth: I’m not a hoarder, so why should I declutter:

Truth: Everyone, including myself, has things they no longer need, use or want. Over time, we accumulate more and more stuff, which, in most cases, gets stashed away in the recesses of our homes, never to be seen again until it’s time to move. Having too much stuff does not mean you have hoarding tendencies, it means you’re human. It’s how you deal with the excess stuff, and to what degree you are able to “let go,” that makes the difference between a seamless move and a move filled with fraught.

Myth: Moving’s not difficult, I’ve done it before.

Truth: The older we get, the more stressful the move. This is not only because of the accumulation of more stuff, which naturally precipitates the need to de-clutter and downsize, but also because the older we get, the busier we are, which translates into less time to focus on the task at hand. Moving takes time, patience and a clear sense of what needs to be done and how best to get it done. Think about it, if you need help with your taxes, you hire an accountant. If you need help with your estate, you hire a lawyer. So why not hire a professional organizer to expedite your home or office move? The truth about downsizing and moving.

Myth: If something breaks, it’s the moving company’s responsibility to repair or replace it:

Truth: If you packed an item yourself, it’s definitely not the moving company’s responsibility. If the mover packed the item and it breaks, it may or may not be the moving company’s responsibility. It all comes down to what you agree upon when negotiating the contract, including, breakage, insurance and deductibles.

Myth: I can always get a storage unit. What’s the big deal?

Truth: How about the fact that once something goes into storage, it will never see the light of day again? Not to mention, when you die your loved ones will have to deal with all the stuff you couldn’t bear to part with when you had the chance; choosing instead to put it into storage to collect dust for many, many years. Save yourself the time, aggravation and expense of putting something into storage by unloading it before you move.

Myth: It’s the movers’ job to unpack and put everything away in an organized fashion:

Truth: Before assuming the moving company you hire is going to do everything you think they should do, it’s a good idea to get it in writing. And while most moving companies will assemble beds, set-up and place furniture and put clearly marked boxes in the designated rooms, they will not unpack the boxes unless they are paid for this specific service. In any case, even if you pay to have the movers unpack the boxes, don’t expect them to line the shelves and drawers and to put everything away in an organized fashion. For that, you need to hire a professional. (Note: packing materials are charged separately.)

Myth: Charities will take anything, even if it’s junk.

Truth: Charities do not want your chipped crystal and broken plates, rusty pots and pans, stained clothing and bedding, and cat-scratched, urine-stained furniture. For items that are saleable, try to consign or donate them. Items that are not saleable should be disposed of in a responsible manner, including recycling.

The truth about downsizing and moving: there’s so much more to a household move than logistics and teamwork. In the end, it all comes down to how much advance planning and decluttering you do, including an unbiased evaluation of what will actually fit in your new home.