Perhaps your kids have gone off to college and you need to downsize; or maybe your third child is on the way and you need more space. Regardless of the circumstances, clutter can be a major obstacle to moving. After years or even decades of accumulating “stuff”, the task of de-cluttering can be daunting, but it’s not impossible. When you put your mind to it, it can even be fun and liberating! Here are some tips to help de-clutter your home.
SELL UNUSED FURNITURE
Chances are, some of the furniture you’ve accumulated over the years is just collecting dust in the basement, a spare bedroom, or even a self-storage unit. Rather than moving this stuff to your new home, have you considered selling it?
Not only will selling unused furniture save you time and money on your move, it will also clear up space to make your home feel bigger and more welcoming during showings!
Selling furniture is easy, now more than ever. With websites such as Craigslist, Letgo, and Facebook Marketplace, it’s incredibly simple to find ready and willing buyers for your unused goods. I personally prefer the Facebook Marketplace, because it’s simple to use and has millions of users.
Helpful Hint: Selling is not limited to furniture. Once you have some success selling big-ticket items, try selling some smaller things, such as kitchen gadgets, DVD’s, video game consoles, etc.
DONATE OLD CLOTHES AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS
Let’s face it. There’s certain things you can’t sell, or aren’t valuable enough to make it worthwhile. I’m mostly referring to clothes, but this also applies to old household items (plates, bowls, etc.) and home décor.
It's estimated that the average American only wears about 25% of their wardrobe on a regular basis. If this applies to you, then perhaps now is a good time to purge and donate. This will not only clear up space to make your closets show better, but you'll also be helping a local charity.
The same idea also applies to household goods and home décor. Remember that hand mixer you got from Miss Dixon at your wedding in 1979? You probably should’ve donated it when you purchased a KitchenAid mixer 10 years ago, but you’re holding on to it just in case Miss Dixon comes over for a dinner party. Sound familiar? Donate it!
Helpful Hint: Some non-profits, such as Volunteers of America, offer porch pick-up, which can save you tons of time and is extremely convenient for large or heavy donations.
THROW AWAY YOUR JUNK
Sometimes it’s best to toss things in the trash instead of donating them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Non-profit organizations are often over-inundated with “junk” that they have to sort through and throw away. Here’s a list of common donations that are better off going to the trash:
Clothing with holes and stains
Underwear (unless it’s new or like-new)
Mismatch electronics (these should be properly recycled)
Books – except for classics, textbooks, and antiques
Open make-up, sunscreen, household cleaners, etc.
Games and puzzles with broken or missing pieces
Promotional products (plastic cups, frisbees, koozies, etc.)
Large appliances (refrigerator, ovens, dryers, etc.)
Infant car seats and cribs (due to liability and recalls)
PACK WHAT YOU DON’T NEED BEFORE THE MOVE
Once you’ve sold, donated, and thrown away everything you don’t need, your home will look significantly better! But there’s always room for improvement. The next step is to pack away everything you love, but don’t necessarily need to use before moving.
This includes off-season clothes, kitchenware for special events, and holiday decor. If you’re not going to miss it between now and the move, then use this as an opportunity to get ahead on your packing. Store packed boxes neatly in your basement, garage, or even a neighbor's house.
Helpful Hint: When in doubt, throw it out! Or in this case, pack it away. If you’re hesitant to pack something up, just ask yourself if your can borrow it from a neighbor or friend on the off-chance you need it.
Clutter isn't always attributed to having excess stuff. While having too many things can contribute to a cluttered home, the biggest factor is actually disorganization.
One strategy for getting organized (especially when selling your home) is to setup boxes and caddies for commonly used items (toiletries, toys, kitchen gadgets, etc.). These should be small, simple boxes of your essentials that can quickly be tucked away when a showing is scheduled.
The goal is to get clutter off your counter-tops, and into a discrete box. After all, it’s easier to move a box than to clear off your entire bathroom counter. This strategy will make your home show much better, and will help reduce pre-showing stress.
De-cluttering isn't rocket science, but it does work wonders on a home. I truly believe it's one of the most effective things you can do to increase your home's value. And if you plan on moving soon, it gives you a major head start on packing. When it comes to de-cluttering, you can't go wrong. So set aside some time this weekend to get started; and when you're done, you'll be amazed at what you accomplished!