Whether you're just doing some spring cleaning or getting ready to place your house on the market, the old homestead can probably use some decluttering.
Doing this every so often will make life much easier the day you do decide to sell, as you won't have years' worth of belongings to sort through.
Unless you're a ruthless organizer, belongings seem to accumulate over the years, breeding quietly in the back of the closet. When you decide to clear everything out, you discover you've been ambushed.
Here are a few tips for tackling the lot with a minimum of stress.
First, don't try to do everything the same day. Create a schedule. Start going through your belongings a bit at a time, so that each small accomplishment will spur you on to do more.
Start with the things that don't fit or don't work - things you don't really want anymore, but have never gotten around to unloading.
Designate a box - or several - to collect everything that falls into the "doesn't fit" category. When it's full, take it to your favorite thrift shop and get another box.
You need to take another tack with things that don't work anymore. The thrift shop probably doesn't want them either.
Freecycle might take them, even if just for parts. Stuff that's beyond even parting out needs to go to the dump.
Clear your closet of all clothing that doesn't fit or doesn't look good on you. Don't forget to go through back-of-the-closet and top-shelf items.
How about old purses, shoes, boots, belts, ties, jackets, backpacks, fanny packs, tote bags, sleeping bags, laundry bags, duffel bags, suitcases, briefcases, surfboards, skateboards, roller skates, roller blades, golf clubs, skis, basketballs, footballs, baseballs and bats? And for goodness' sake, don't forget old exercise equipment.
Go through your kitchen cupboards and drawers, getting rid of duplicate items, unused gadgets and unwanted utensils.
Are there more dishes or coffee mugs than you really need? Is there a fondue set you haven't used in 25 years? Do you have an espresso machine that last saw the light of day in 1993?
One alternative to making a thrift store trip is organizing a gadget or utensil exchange at work.
However, you want to take care not to come home with more items than you left with. The idea is to acquire, retain and store only the things you're actually going to find useful.
Take a hard look at your hobby materials. Are there items in there you aren't likely to ever use? How about things you bought, then decided you didn't really like? Out they go.
As you evaluate each item, ask yourself whether it is something you truly cherish or actually use. If it isn't either, don't keep it.
Getting rid of the things you don't care about frees room for the things you do. That allows you a better chance of caring properly for your belongings, so they remain in good condition.
For people getting ready to sell their homes, even items that remain on the keeper list are often better left in storage while the house is listed for sale.
Family pictures can be the most distracting things to potential buyers. They stop to look at the pictures instead of looking at the house.
What we suggest, because they're starting to pack anyway, is to go ahead and pack up those things they don't need to use every day. Pictures, personal trinkets.
If there's a shelf with too many things on it, put all those things in boxes and store them in the garage. People expect to see boxes in the garage, so that's not as much of an impediment as personal belongings.
I recommend packing away anything that won't be used during the time the house is on the market. The idea is to leave as clean a space as possible, so that the house itself is the only item on display.
The technique does multiple duty. With fewer belongings out, there's less to keep clean and organize, so potential buyers can be accommodated on short notice.
Often, that kind of staging effort helps with the moving process to follow. It helps them to pack up in a more organized way, when they get this kind of head start anyway, instead of just throwing everything into boxes the week before they move.
In addition to reducing stress, packing up the house a little bit at a time can help to ensure that when you reach your new home, you can actually find the things you need to unpack first, in the box where they're supposed to be.
Find me @