When you’ve lived in it for a long time, getting a home ready to sell can seem daunting. If you are considering selling your home this year, try to get started early. That way, whether you decide to sell or not, your home is organized and easier to maintain.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Stop adding to the clutter. If it is your habit to purchase multiples of sale items, stop! Or, if these are items you use all the time, reduce the number of multiples to no more than you will use in a month or so. Instead of ordering large quantities, place items you use consistently on a schedule for reorder instead. That way, you’re not filling up your shelves and closets with the extras, but you won’t run out either.
- Plan where things go. Set aside a couple boxes or bags to handle items you plan to give to charity and those you plan to give to family members and set aside what to sell at a garage sale. Consider keeping the boxes or bags in your trunk. That way, as soon as they get full you can deliver them where they need to go. For items that you intend to keep, take them to the location they belong immediately.
Choose one thing. This week, simply choose one thing to organize.
- It can be a drawer, a closet, a storage bin… It really doesn’t matter what you choose, but make sure it is achievable in one day. So, if your attic is a massive project, don’t start there. Each week (or each day if you’re really motivated) choose another item to organize. Even if it is just your medicine cabinet, organize it by getting rid of expired medicines (take them to your pharmacist for proper disposal), old make-up and items you haven’t used in a couple years.
- Don’t fear your piles. Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of getting organized, you need to have piles, stacks or other groupings of things that need long-term storage or that you need to deal with. If the item is long-term, you can set it in one of your planning boxes. If it needs to be dealt with soon, choose one evening (or morning) each week to quickly go through and file, mail, respond, etc.
- Find a way to handle paper. There are a few papers that must be kept: original birth certificates, marriage licenses, contracts, etc., but many items we keep in paper form could be kept digitally in far less space. Consider getting an organizing scanner such as a “NEAT” that can scan and organize receipts, bills, business cards and myriad other paperwork for you.
- Let go of items you don’t use. Just because Aunt Sally gave you a toaster for your wedding six years ago, don’t let it fill up your counter or cupboard space if you’re not using it. Donate it to a charity that can get it into the hands of someone that will use it. To make certain to protect the sentimental value of the gift, start a virtual scrapbook with images of items you give away, and a short note of who gifted you with the item, a special memory about that person and where you gave the item.
Organizing is just the first step toward getting ready for a sale. I have helped many sellers get ready by performing a “pre-listing walk-through” of their home. I can advise what to organize, what to fix or update, what to store, etc. I have referrals for estate sale experts, cleaners and more. Call me today if you want to get started.