What About All My Things? How to DeClutter, Downsize and Move Forward!

Case Study:

Virginia was moving out of state to be closer to her children. Only the second owner at her current address, she has lived 50+ years in her home. Having a lifetime of possessions, family mementos, collections reflecting a variety of interests, businesses and activities she and her family took part in, she now had to first declutter so her home showed at its best for buyers as she listed her home for sale.

The first order of business was to clear all countertops and table tops so there was as little as possible to distract a buyer. This was an opportunity to box up picture frames, statues and decorative items. She separated those most important to her from those she would likely discard.

Next, we created space in each room by moving unnecessary items to the basement or garage. This again was a perfect time to throw out items Virginia knew she wouldn’t want to take with her. A few of the closets
threatened to burst open from overload, so I suggested she remove out-of-season clothes and start packing those for the move, storing and labeling storage containers in the basement, The basement is usually the place to store anything that is not used on a daily basis, however, even the
basement has to show at its best for the buying public. To maximize space there we had all boxes and storage items moved to a comer area or along the wall, This made sure there was an ability to easily walk through the basement to see the utility areas and feel the space for family living,

Note: with apartments decluttering is even more important as space is so limited. Decisions as to what to discard or pack to move needs to be made at this point. Renting a small storage space may be important to increasing the sales price of the apartment.

Once there was a contract on Virginia’s house it was time to organize what to move with her, what to give to family, sell, donate or discard/shred.
Virginia decided what she would want to move into her new apartment. She had a representative from her new senior living complex work with her using a floor plan and dimensions of her new apartment to decide
what pieces from her current home would fit and, allowing for new furnishings she would incorporate in the design. This plan of action certainly helped Virginia avoid paying to move items that in the end wouldn’t work.

Virginia tagged items she wanted to sell and at my suggestion checked several tag sale services to see what services they provided, their cost, and if they felt they would have enough to warrant a sale. The
service she ultimately chose evaluated what her sale would generate and they also recommended an antique dealer plus special companies to advise her on her special collections – ie photography, record,
stamps, coins. These specialty firms had a ready source of buyers for these collections. Virginia’s tag sale was scheduled approximately one month before her closing and her movers (she interviewed three moving companies for price and services such as boxing) removed all going to her new location before the tag sale. This way there was an attractive, organized presentation for the tag sale and all were very satisfied with the results of the sale. Virginia’s tag sale service arranged for an additional “garage sale” of leftover furnishings that would have
diminished the tag sale presentation, and did a final clean out of debris remaining so the home was in “broom clean” condition as specified by her contract of sale. If a tag sale service representative had felt the home’s contents wouldn’t have generated enough to undertake a sale, then I would have suggested Virginia check with the various charities. They would at least have removed the items they wanted and given a tax receipt for the donation. Finally, if a tag sale service hadn’t been used I would have recommended several contractors bid on the removal of all debris and items remaining to meet the required “broom clean” condition to close the sale.

For Virginia, the steps of decluttering ahead of the sale helped maximize her sale price. The process of downsizing and organizing what to take with her, what to give to family, sell, donate or discard was undertaken in timely steps ahead of the move. This greatly eased the stress of moving for a longtime homeowner at a most sensitive time in her life.

This article was provided by Helen Keit, Licensed Real Estate
Broker, Certified Senior Advisor and Seniors Real Estate
Specialist. She is part of The Keit Team at Keller Williams Realty

You can contact her at 800.742.0126 or on the web at
www.KeitTeam.com or Facebook at