Is it Time to Downsize and Sell Your House?
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?
Let’s be honest, if you are even thinking about selling your house down the road, the thought of cleaning out your house and makes your heart pound.
Maybe you’re not thinking of selling at all, but you desperately need to update your home and do some serious redecorating.
Well, you can’t do any of those things until you really declutter your whole house. Keep reading, it isn’t that bad if you lay out a plan. I’m going to help you with that.
Take a minute and 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.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you have beautiful things that you paid good money for. Clutter doesn’t mean you have junk, it means you have just accumulated a lot of STUFF over the years.
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I have to get to work and I am going to take my own advice and declutter my own home.
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, rename it as yours, and then `check out all the room tabs on the bottom, 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.
The whole idea is that when you are done, you only have what you really need and what you really want.
My Plan of Action:
Calling a realtor is NOT the first step.
I’m not ready to hear how I need to start painting, taking down wallpaper, or making repairs first.
I figured there were probably people who had done this before me and could offer some advice.
So 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 keep track of everything and keep me sane.
Tip: Have your spouse declutter the garage first.!!!!!
You are going to want the space.
In the plan coming up, you are basically decide what you want to keep, what you can donate or sell, and what you are going to throw away.
1. What Are You Sure You Want To Keep?
First, get yourself some Strong Moving Boxes with handles so you can move them around easier.
Next, I created two lists to organize the things I want to keep.
A. My first list of things to keep includes everything I want to keep but shouldn’t be in the house while we are trying to sell it.
A good place to start is to 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’s in it.
- Label each box with a number.
- Add the number with the picture to your list in your Workbook.
- Remember, none of this is written in stone. You can change your mind later.
Trust me, this step is going to save you a ton of time!
- Store the boxes in a corner in your garage or rent a storage unit.
B. My second list is things I want to keep and will leave in the house until we actually 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.
2. What To Do With Your Children’s Treasures?
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 go ahead and 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.
3. What Will You Decide to 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?
This is super hard because it includes things you have loved in the past or maybe paid a lot of money for.
Don’t forget to open your Decluttering and Organizing Workbook to keep track of everything!
Note all the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet to organize every room in your house.
Of course, there are lots of items and clothing that are worth donating but not worth much if you were to sell them.
You know, things like outdated furniture, holiday linens, your husband’s shoes.
You get the idea.
The kitchen is a tough one for me because I like to cook and have so much stuff!
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, but I think I’ll put them on the sell list.
Another important tip for things you donate:
TAKE PICTURES and add them to a list.
You’ll want to 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 when they left home?
We talked about this earlier, so don’t be surprised when they say, “thanks, but no thanks”.
Make no mistake, this will be tough, but you may need to sell some of your most-loved treasures!!
This can be heartbreaking I know, but keep telling yourself it is only stuff and if you don’t need it anymore, let it go.
For me, this includes my red Christmas dishes, expensive wine glasses, and silver!
( I finally talked the kids into taking these!)
If you do decide to sell some stuff, the question becomes, do you have time to set up a sale yourself or maybe you want to list things online?
I have friends who say it is super easy to sell things on local rummage sale sites through Facebook.
If you decide to give this a try, be sure to take good pictures.
For example, if you decide to sell a chair, take a nice picture in good light without your pet sitting in it.
Of course, a total moving sale is not out of the question, either, 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, but I might list things online.
I know there are companies you can hire to do this and they keep a percentage of the sales.
This is really not a bad idea 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.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Throw It Away!
(This is the best part of decluttering in my house)
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 “toss it”.
I found old candles, make-up, magazines, old cleaning products right away.
Don’t forget 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 especially in the dreaded basement.
Now you have an organized plan with a list for everything in your house.
5.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 is it so out of style, you would 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.
6. 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!
7. The Basement- Decluttering Nightmare
I am not suggesting saving the basement for last.
In reality, it should be first so you can store packed boxes there if you need to.
Truthfully, I would feel so virtuous if my basement was decluttered and organized!
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.
All kidding aside, have you ever wondered after cleaning your basement how it keeps refilling? 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. Even 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!