Decluttering Before a Move or Showing
Selling a home is already hard enough, but when you have to declutter your home as well, it can be emotionally taxing at a whole new level. There are many reasons that we as humans don’t like to get rid of our stuff sometimes it’s because we don’t like to let things go to waste, sometimes it is because we are attached to the stuff, and sometimes it is simply because of the lack of direction associated with decluttering. This article has just a few tips that might help you get started, but if you need more help, contact a professional. There are professional organizers that can help you to get your home in order if need be.
How much should I get rid of?
This is a big one when it comes to decluttering a home. There are many different opinions that are floating around, and it really depends on your situation. If you are just decluttering for a showing, then try to cut down on the amount of stuff you have by 1/3 or ½ depending on your home. You can pack the stuff up or get rid of it, it just depends on your situation.
If you are decluttering because you are downsizing, then you will want to figure out the percentage change of square footage from your old house to your new house and use that as a guide. So, if you are downsizing from a 2,500 square foot home to a 2,000 square foot house you will want to decrease your amount of stuff by about 20% because it is a 20% decrease in square footage. (2,500 – 2,000= 500 500/2500=0.2 0.2*100=20)(This is not an official standard, there are plenty of people with 2,500 square feet of space in their home only own enough stuff to fill a 2,000 square foot home or less).
Start by cleaning like normal
This may not be what you were expecting, but if you don’t clean first, your perception of your things will be skewed. So, be sure to clean like you would normally so that everything is in its proper place, you can then start the decluttering process.
Begin with the garbage
Garbage is one of those things that just seems to take over a home without warning—like mold or a cancer it can start to build up at alarming rates. So, the best thing to do is to start by chucking the junk. The junk and garbage we refer to can be literal trash like wrappers and things of that nature, or it can be things like old magazines you been hoarding and telling yourself you will someday read.
One of the leading causes of clutter and garbage in a home is junk mail. Credit card offers, promotional deals, and advertisements, they are all the enemy to your decluttering project. So get rid of them first. Be careful with credit card offers, though. Many times they will be partially filled out by the credit card company with your information and it these are not shredded someone can use it to steal your identity. So, when you hunt down the garbage in your home, you will want to have two garbage bags: one for garbage that goes straight into the bin and another for things that need to be shredded.
Once you have gone through your house, cleaned it, and thrown out the garbage, you will be surprised at how much space you actually have. This can be great for you if you have to downsize because it means that you won’t have to get rid of as much stuff as you thought. However, if your home needs more help, then here are some tips that will help you to chip away at this project.
The Sticky Note Trick
For this trick you will need a lot of sticky notes (stickers will do fine as well). You will want 20 – 25 sticky notes or stickers in three different colors. Let’s say you have red, blue, and yellow. Once you have your sticky notes or stickers you are going take the first color, red, and stick them on 20 – 25 of the things that you use the most: laptop, a book or two, etc. You are then going to take the next color, blue, and do the same thing with your next 20 – 25 most important items, and so on and so forth with the yellow stickers. These colors will symbolize when you will go through them. For instance, yellow things will be sorted through three weeks before the showing or move date, then blue two weeks before, and red the week before. This method can also be done with packing as well—pack all your yellow, then blue, then red so you know for sure that you will have your most important things until the very end. (You will want to exclude the things that you need during your day to day life like clothes, food, alarm clock, etc. Unless you have excess of these things).
After you have used all your colors you are going to start the decluttering with everything that doesn’t have a sticky note of any color and then work your way through the colors. You are going to separate everything into one of 5 bins or piles: keep, store, donate, sell, and trash (You don’t need to actually move them if you can’t, just making a list will do for now). Then you will want to do what you picked for each thing and do it fast—especially donating, selling, and throwing away. Be sure, however, to only put easy to sell things, or very expensive items that you don’t want to donate in the sell category or else you may not get rid of it after all.
Be kind to your heirlooms and collections
Unless you have an excessive amount of trinkets, heirlooms, and collections, don’t worry about trying to weed through these as they have higher value to you personally than the other stuff in your home. Store your collections, heirlooms, and trinkets until you have a new place for them. If it looks like you are going to have to get rid of anything in this category (especially heirlooms) think about giving them to someone else who will appreciate them as you do, like a relative.
Throw out doubles and extras
There are some items that, for one reason or another, we have two of. While you are going through your home cleaning or throwing out the garbage, look for doubles and extras. Once you find one see if you can part with the extra one and get rid of it.
If you are planning to donate anything here in Boise, you will find that there is a number of different charities and thrift stores across the valley that would be happy to take your unwanted items. Chinden Boulevard and Fairview Avenue are two of the best places to start with—there are several places to donate on these roads.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks that can help you to tame your home. Whatever method you use, however, just be sure to do it quickly so that you aren’t halfway through the process when someone comes to see the house. Talk to your agent if you need more help or suggestions.