Planning Your Move
People in the business of staging property for sale are forever bringing up the business of decluttering your space. The reason they do this is…well…you cannot manage an effective move (or a successful sale) without tossing some of the superfluous stuff. The truth is, some of us have been carrying a few boxes around with us for all our adult lives without ever reopening them and evaluating the contents. This is not just counterproductive from the moving-on perspective, it can be expensive. The trick to a successful move – and a record-breaking home sale – is to plan to dispose of the things you no longer need, use, or want.
A classic example of this is the older empty nesters who downsized their home from a three-bedroom bungalow to a two-bedroom townhouse. They kept the bedroom suite from the third bedroom. Why?
The fact is we don’t always think these things through thoroughly. Just as we do when buying a house, we make decluttering decisions from an emotional place in our brain. We tend to cling to things to which we are sentimentally tied. To avoid some of these mistakes, we’ve compiled a few strategies for downsizing.
1) Be ruthless. First get rid of the big stuff you won’t need in your new digs. (Like that third bedroom suite.) It’s expensive to move furniture and appliances, so only move the things you must. If you don’t get rid of the extra stuff, particularly if you’re moving into a smaller space, you might have to rent a storage unit on top of the cost to lug the stuff cross country or across the street.
2) Be thoughtful. If you’re moving into a dramatically smaller space, consider the size of your furnishings. Measure your chairs, sofas, beds, and tables and satisfy yourself that they will fit into the new place. If not, a good solution might be to consider losing the sofa and opting for armchairs. Allow your creative juices to flow freely.
3) Sort. When it comes to your clothing and knick-knacks, develop two piles. One for the things you’re keeping and another that will be sold, donated, or thrown away. Once that step is complete, go through every last item in your disposable pile. While you have the item in your hand, decide if you are really willing to live without it. If it makes you happy just to hold it, keep it. Downsizing doesn’t mean you have to part with the things you really love. Instead, concentrate on those things, and we all have them, that you have no real need for. Truth be told, if we all simply tossed the things we are ambivalent about, we could probably move into a much smaller home.
4) Open those old boxes. During a recent weeding out of the garage, one husband found a box marked “keepsakes” the couple had been carting around with them for decades. The ‘keepsakes’ turned out to be a plastic punchbowl, six matching cups, and a few mismatched tea cups none of which had saucers. These items were not only no longer needed, they weren’t even wanted – evidence, the box was packed with newspapers dated 1985.
5) Follow the “one year rule”. If the item in your hands has not been used for more than 12 months, dispose of it. If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will. You can certainly keep your old business suits and/or dress clothes in hopes that they will come back into fashion – they may, but it will take years. Instead of clogging up your wardrobe, why not treat yourself to new ones if and when you need them?
Whether you will continue to live in your home while it is listed or plan to take yourself and your family totally out of the picture until the sale is final, your transition begins with a thorough sifting through and prioritising of your personal belongings.
When you’re finished with the downsizing and decluttering, it will be time to call in your favoured home styling company. Staging property essentially begins and ends with a blank slate. The point behind the entire exercise is to give the prospective buyer a clean canvas upon which they can project the rest of their own lives. Staging property needs to be about showcasing your lovely home, so your home stager will be grateful that you’ve pared down the non-essentials and are ready for the serious business of preparing your home for sale.

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