SPOTTLIGHT — Contemplating or preparing to move? Time to ditch that clutter!
March 1, 2017
Whether you are moving across the country or just going across town, there is no better time to get rid of all of that clutter you’ve accumulated over the years. Lightening your load is like making a new start. Refreshing!
Discarding all the extras way before it’s time to prepare for your home search or moving day will not only save you time but will also save you money. You won’t have to pay the moving company to pack it and move it. If you’re smart, you’ll be so successful at lightening that load, that you won’t need to rent storage units. Who needs those bills!
The best time to tackle clutter is way before you put your home on the market. It alleviates some of the stress that comes with selling your home. It also makes your home more appealing by improving its appearance when potential buyers come to take a look.
I always recommend the less-is-more theory. Remove all the clutter and extras but leave enough in place to give your home a comfortable feeling. By decluttering, you open the space and create room for potential buyers to mentally place their furniture and belongings in your home, as they consider making your home, theirs.
Logic might dictate that all of those unopened boxes you have stored forever and have never opened in years should just be tossed outright, since you haven’t touched them or needed their contents. But not many of us are able to use logic when it comes to getting rid of our stuff.
Sentiment and memories. Those are the chief reason people hang onto all the extras.
The decluttering golden rule is “Touch it once and then put it in one of three boxes, each with a different destination.” Box 1: To be donated. Box 2: To be sold. Box 3: Damaged—to be given away or tossed.
If you haven’t worn a garment for a year or longer, donate it. For those big ticket items like furniture, sell them or give them away. If you have items that are in great condition, consider putting them into a consignment shop.
And don’t even get me started on basements! They are the catchall for everything. Company is coming over, no time to clean? Toss the stuff you want to hide in the basement. Kids not using toys anymore, throw them in the basement. Kids moved away from home but they still want you to house all of their stuff? Basement!
Then there is the attic. Everyone thinks that’s also a great place to store stuff, but it is never a good idea for all of the same reasons that the basement is a bad idea. And by the way, make sure you are not using the rafters in you attic or garage to store stuff, as they are not built for holding that kind of weight.
If you’ve got boxes of paperwork such as taxes or legal documents, shred them at home and use the shredding for packing, or take them to a shredding company.
All this advice about getting rid of your clutter and boxed-up stuff is true for those of you who are preparing to move to a new home.
And even if buying a home or selling your home is not on the horizon, there is no reason for you to delay ditching the clutter now.
Get the jump on spring cleaning. Make a fresh start!
For advice about what records homeowners (and others) should keep and for how long, see Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/taxes/how-long-to-keep-tax-documents/
For small business owners, the IRS has a succinct guide: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records
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