Is it Time to Downsize and Sell Your House?
Maybe you were thinking of calling a realtor- Don’t do it yet!
Are you planning to sell your house within the next year, or maybe you would like to start some overdue redecorating?
Put calling a realtor or an interior designer on hold, because you have some serious work to do first.
Look around your house. Do you see stuff everywhere?
Are your closets, cupboards, drawers, and basement all full of stuff?
It’s commonly called, Clutter.
You need to get to work to organize and declutter your home right now!
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How many times have you told yourself you need to get started with organizing your house, but it seems so overwhelming you put it off, again?
I have to get to work and I am going to take my own advice.
If you are a Baby Boomer like me, hoping to sell your house to Millenials (Minimalists), you need a plan to start throwing, donating, and selling right now.
You can get started now with your
Declutter and Organize Workbook.
All you have to do is make a copy of the workbook, check out all the room tabs, and make it your own.
What is Decluttering?
Clutter does not mean everything you have is junk or garbage, much of it is things you don’t want to part with, I totally get that.
But the reality is for most of us, we have a ton of things that we no longer need or just don’t use but just haven’t done anything about it.
We have been empty nesters for a few years, and have really let this clutter stuff get out of hand!
Every room, closet, and drawer needs to be decluttered.
Then there is the basement, there has to be a better word than “cluttered” for my basement.
My Plan of Action:
Calling a realtor is NOT the first step.
Some would tell you, you need to start painting, taking down wallpaper or making repairs first.
I decided, there is no point in starting to paint or make repairs until the house is emptied out a bit.
But the truth is, when you have lived in a house for 20+ years, decluttering can seem daunting.
I jumped online looking for suggestions to help with this monumental task.
As you know, I am a list maker, so I created a
Declutter & Organize Workbook to make a plan to keep me sane.
Tip: Have your spouse declutter the garage first.!!!!!
Things I Know I Want Keep.
First, get yourself some Strong Moving Boxes with handles so you can move them around easier.
I created two lists to organize the things I want to keep.
A. Things I want to keep but shouldn’t be in the house while we are trying to sell it.
Gather up all the family pictures, heirlooms, and things saved from your children’s childhood.
you can start packing these valuables in boxes right away.
Be sure to wrap pictures with glass frames in heavy-duty Foam Wrap Cushioning Sheets.
Tips on packing boxes:
- Take a picture of the inside of each box before you close it. This will give you a general idea of what is in it.
- Label the box with a number.
- Add the number with the picture to your list in your Workbook.
- When it comes time to move, you can ask yourself again if you REALLY want to keep these things without opening the box.
- Store the boxes in a corner in your garage or rent a storage unit.
B. Things I want to keep and will leave in the house until we move.
After all, you still need to sit somewhere, right?
And, if you plan on showing your house before selling, you have to have it look like a home, right?
Be honest, do you really need or want to keep all of this?
This is a good time to try becoming more of a minimalist, right?
Important Tip: DON’T SAVE YOUR STUFF FOR YOUR CHILDREN unless they tell you to.
Things that belong to our children.
We have been more than happy to store all of our children’s childhood treasures until they had their own homes and would come and get their stuff.
I can hardly write that with a straight face. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO COME to TAKE ANYTHING. But you can try.
Find a place that you don’t need for living right now and start a pile for each child. As you declutter the rest of the house, these piles will grow.
Let your children know that they can come to take what they want, and help decide what to do with all the rest.
I can’t wait for our daughter (mother of two boys) to decide what to do with her massive Barbie Dream House.
Donate or Sell
Now you need to decide what is too good to throw away, but you just don’t have any use for anymore?
Open your Decluttering and Organizing Workbook to keep everything together.
Note all the tabs at the bottom to organize every room in your house.
Of course, there are lots of items and clothing that are worth donating but not trying to sell.
You know, things like outdated furniture, holiday linens, your husband’s shoes.
You get the idea.
Donate or sell any toys the kids don’t take. Don’t make the mistake of keeping toys in case you have grandchildren who will play with them.
It is not likely going to happen.
Don’t forget the kitchen. Do you still bake, or need 3 sets of dishes?
If you haven’t used something in over a year (or three) consider donating it.
My collection of 20 cookie jars will have to go!
Another important tip for things you donate:
TAKE PICTURES and add them to a list.
You do this for a couple of reasons.
First, hopefully, you can deduct some donations on your taxes.
More importantly, when you or a family member start searching for something they think they have lost, you will have a list of inventory to check!
“Oops, I guess I donated that, sorry.”
How about all of the things you kept for your kids because you were sure they would want them, and they say, “thanks, but no thanks”.
This can be heartbreaking I know, but we just have too much crap!
For me, this includes my red Christmas dishes, expensive wine glasses, and silver! ( I finally talked them into taking these!)
Make not mistake, this will be tough, but you may need to sell some of your most-loved treasures!!
The question becomes, do you have time to set up a sale yourself or do you want to list things online?
I have friends who say it is super easy to sell things on local rummage sale sites.
If you decide to give this a try, be sure to take pictures right away, even if the sale is going to be a while from now.!
Of course, a moving sale is not out of the question, but do it now, not when you are going to list your house!
Truth be told, I am too lazy to go through the work of a moving sale.
There are companies you can hire to do this and they keep a percentage of the sales.
This is great because you are letting someone else do the decluttering for you!
Advice from Experts
Have you heard of Marie Kondo and her amazing advice on how to live more simply by decluttering and organizing your life?
I saw her on TV and she is adorable. I know she has a Netflix show but her book is really what you need. Get it from Amazon here.
Throw it Away!
(This is my favorite way to declutter)
Throw as you go!
Plan on using a large lined garbage can that you can take with you room to room.
Believe me, this is so much fun! There will be lots of things that you know you can throw right away.
I am starting to think that when I say “declutter”, I mean “throw”.
I found old candles, make-up, magazines, old cleaning products right away.
Actually, throwing includes out-of-date medication and vitamins, rusty tools, dead batteries, pens that don’t work, torn clothing, stained tablecloths. Anything broken or unusable goes.
Keep throwing as you move on to closets, drawers, and the dreaded basement.
Time to Dive Into Decluttering and Organizing
Now you have an organized plan with a list for everything in your house
Work in chunks of 15 minutes to two hours.
This advice is a game-changer for me. I can do this.
If you have your list prioritized you can choose what is doable in the time you have.
I am totally going to live by this rule. I am going to set a time for actually no more than an hour at a time. That seems so much more manageable.
Timing yourself is especially important when starting big projects like closets, kitchen, and basements.
Plan to work in small chunks of time and when that time is up – QUIT. It will be much easier to start again if you follow this rule.
Decluttering Closets are a Special Challenge
How is it that four-bedroom closets are stuffed full, and the kids took their clothes?
Here’s why. One closet is for the three different sized clothes I have saved in case I need them when I lose or gain weight!
Be honest, when going through clothes, ask yourself if you will ever be that size again, or should be embarrassed to wear it?
Shoes and purses lurk here as well. If you haven’t worn them or used them for over a year get rid of them now.
I love these Storage Bag Organizers to keep everything neat and clean.
Look at them! They have compartments and fold-up when you’re not using them.
Declutter and Organize Drawers & Shelves
To declutter drawers and shelves, you take everything out or down.
You may as well clean it while it’s empty, right?
Only put back only what you absolutely want to keep!
The Basement- Decluttering Nightmare
I am not suggesting saving the basement for last.
Truthfully, I would feel so virtuous if that was done!
You know what’s down there, so just use the same declutter categories and strategies you used for the rest of the house and do it in chunks.
Don’t get me wrong, I have cleaned the basement many times.
All kidding aside, have you ever wondered how your basement REFILLED over the years? I have no explanation for that.
Are You a New Empty Nester?
Here are some tips just for you:
- It’s a good idea to not wait until it is time to downsize before you declutter & organize.
- Be sure to take your time and take a break when you feel stressed- there is a lot of emotion in this job!
- Try to picture yourself in your new house without any clutter.
- I have a feeling most of us won’t need a storage unit if we follow this plan.
Please share your decluttering tips, advice, and experiences! Please add your advice in the comment section below. We really want to hear what you have to say!
P.S. If you are not an Empty Nester, you should read,
How Does an Empty Nester Try Minimalist Living?
Only 50% of Americans Have a Home Inventory, Do You?
AND Cleaning Tips! Best 10 Products for Your Home!