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Declutter House Prior to Moving

Here is an article from the Express-News mysa.com that has a lot of really great information to help with selling, packing and moving!

original article: http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Declutter-house-prior-to-putting-it-on-the-market-3535643.php#photo-2888725

Looking at new homes and finding your next digs is the fun part of real estate.

Actually packing and moving? Not so much.

“It’s a lot of intensive work,” said professional organizer Cynthia Cunningham of Absolute Organization. “Depending on how long you’ve lived in the house or how many times you’ve moved, some people don’t even unpack their boxes. Now you’re just moving boxes and you don’t even know what’s in them.”

Cunningham has one client who lugged around boxes from house to apartment to new house over a two-year period. Then when he and Cunningham finally opened the boxes it turns out they were full of old mail.

“You aren’t making a home,” she said. “You’re living in your storage space.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Professional organizers say that preparing for a move is a great opportunity to shed clutter, which can make your home look nicer and save money.

“Less boxes, less tape, less movers, less time,” said DaLona Niland of Organized by Design.

If you’re selling your home, decluttering and organizing can help “stage” the home for sale so it’s more attractive to potential buyers.

Shedding the weight

Organizers say should only carry what you love to your next house.

“If you’re not really loving it at this house, why would you love it at the next house?” asked Jennifer Ford Berry, author of the “Organize Now!” series of books.

She recommends starting the purging and packing process several months out so that you can take your time and not get overwhelmed.

“People get a lot of anxiety because it’s a huge job. You have to account for that,” Berry said. “Do one room at a time. Don’t pack a box here and there. Pack up what you can live without for six months and give away what you do not want to take at all.”

If you need to, arrange for an off-site storage unit.

Niland said closets, linen closets and kitchen cabinets are problem areas in most homes.

“Moving is when you ask, do these clothes fit me? If they don’t, get rid of them. Do you need eight sets of sheets for two or three beds? In the kitchen you’ll find unused toaster ovens and ICEE making machines, but their kids are in college now. They have just crammed everything in there and they’ve haven’t looked at it in years.”

Put similar items in one place to evaluate how many you really want to keep. “Be honest with yourself,” Niland said. “Do I really need 24 blankets?”

Buyers look everywhere

Berry said staging a home for sale can be emotionally difficult for homeowners.

The idea is to declutter and depersonalize to let potential buyers envision themselves in the house and get attached to it.

“People don’t want to let the ownership of a house go. They still want to say, ‘It’s my house and I’m living it,’” Berry said. “I don’t care about your personal life. I don’t care about your taste. I don’t care about your family photos. The more you can make it look like a neutral space, the better off you’ll be.”

She recommends putting away family photos and artwork or bedspreads that are more than five years old.

Berry said that four people, on average, come to a showing. So you need to have enough room for them to move around — something to consider when deciding whether to shed some large pieces of furniture.

Cunningham said that buyers look in all of the nooks and crannies of a home.

“People don’t think someone is going to walk in and open up a cabinet door. They think because it’s behind closed doors it’s not something you need to address,” she said. “You don’t have to clear out everything, but if they see that all of your bowls and pots and pans are cluttered in there, they’re going to get the impressing that there isn’t enough space.”

Niland said children’s rooms can be a problem because parents tend to put things into toy boxes, and no one ever sees what’s on the bottom. “It’s a great time to ask, what are your five favorite things to play with? Everything else can go with some exceptions. Overall, children don’t need more than that,” she said.

Tackling boxes

When it comes to packing, Niland recommends labeling boxes on all four sides. Don’t label them on the top, because you won’t be able to see what you wrote when they are stacked.

Cunningham said you should pack one room at a time. “Don’t look at the whole house. Just do one room at a time and donate, throw away or pack everything in there.”

And make sure that the things you need the most are in easily accessible boxes and bags, such a clothing, laundry detergent.

“When you first move in, there are things you need to function: your sheets, your everyday dishes, your pillows,” Berry said.

How should you tackle unpacking boxes?

One at a time, Berry said. Finish it, “then you get the next box,” she said.


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