As Americans, many of us suffer from “too-much-stuff” syndrome. Having stacks of boxes and overflowing closets can feel cumbersome and overwhelming. In our latest post, we discuss easy ways to downsize your house without all the stress.
We are a consumer society and we love to buy stuff. Every year that goes by many of us slowly accumulate more and more personal belongings, furniture, knick-knacks, tools, clothes, sheets, cooking utensils, etc.
Many people buy a home when they are first starting their family, ensuring they have enough space for everyone. But as the years pass and the kids eventually move out on their own, they find they are living in a house that is too large and filled with too much stuff to manage. Below we offer some great tips for downsizing, making it easier to sell when you are ready.
Tip #1 – The One Year Rule..Or Maybe Five Years
You might have heard this rule for your closets. Turn all the hangers backward, and anything still backward in a year should be given away. To avoid sounding like a hypocrite I know how difficult this can be. I come from a family that never threw anything away. In the late 2000’s I fished out my old Transformers toys from the ’80s and sold them on e-bay. The point being is that there was stuff in the attic from when the home was originally purchased in 1968! Even today I have clothing in my closets that haven’t been worn in 5 or 10 years. I know how hard this can be. One of my motivations for writing this article was to get leverage on myself to throw away excess stuff!
Common Items To Go Through:
- Old clothing
- Picture frames
- DVS’s & VHS tapes (some of which can be sold)
- Kitchen Gadgets
- Craft Supplies
- Holiday decorations
If you haven’t used it in the past couple of years, the odds are pretty low that it will get any use in the future.
Tip #2 – Giving & Donating
Many of our belongings are attached to the memories of our past. I believe this is what makes us reluctant to throw it away. But who says it has to be thrown away? We can donate items to a charity to that a family in need can make their own memories with them. We can even give some of these items to our kids and grandkids.
Having too much stuff can attract insects, dust, and all sorts of critters. It is best to keep a neat and tidy house for the health and safety of those that live there.
Tip #3 – Have A Yard Sale
Yard sales are a great way to make some extra cash and network with the people in your neighborhood. You can get a lot of great information on the Raleigh real estate market by talking with neighbors and local vendors.
Tip #4 – Assess Your Furniture
Do you need that massive entertainment center in the living room? Did you know it is much easier to mount the tv on a wall to save space?
Do you need the massive sectional sofa anymore? Is the giant coffee table still a necessity? Think about your future new space, and what kind of items will fit nicely.
Tip #5 – Going Digital
Did you know that a lot of paper documents can be scanned, or photographed with a smartphone, and stored digitally? Also, all your old photos can be scanned in and stored online and copied to ensure they are never lost? This makes it easier to share with a family member as well. You can also use software to enhance the photos. You can scan in old bills and receipts if needed, and opt to go paperless for future statements. Make a rule to deal with mail as it comes in instead of letting it pile up everywhere.
Tip #6 – What Can I Do Without?
Do you need 4 sets of glassware and dishes? What about that old lamp from 1975? How long has that been in the attic? Take an inventory and keep your favorite items, giving away or selling the other items.
Tip #7 – Organize Everything
Before moving, take the time to organize all of your belongings. Group books, glassware, clothing, and other items. This will make packing and moving simple when you decide to go. Label all boxes and only pack similar items together.
Tip #8 – Hire A Pro
Yes, there is such a thing. You can hire a professional organizer to help you clear out the clutter. They can offer objective opinions if you are debating holding on to an unused item. They will help you get your belongings in order, making an eventual move a breeze.