We’ve all heard that moving to a new house can be one of life’s most stressful events, but methodical decluttering and good preparation can contribute to a quick sale, a calm move and an organised start in your new home.
1. Start early
Tidy and declutter
inside and out in advance of having your photos taken. Get into the corners of your house and look for items that are unused or broken. Start as early as you possibly can; remove items unused since your last move (!) out of season clothing and things that have simply been outgrown.
Items from attics, garages and sheds can probably all be packed weeks in advance. Consider storing these items at a family member’s while your property is being marketed.
2. Sell their dream (not yours!)
When staging your home for sale, try to create an overall visual impression that is comfortable, clear and uncluttered.
Now is a great time to pack away your family photos and heirlooms. Whilst these undoubtedly make the house your home, remember that your viewers are looking to buy their
new house, not your
Providing a clear and neutral environment
will help potential buyers to visualise their furniture and pictures in your property, encouraging them to feel ‘at home’ and more inclined to purchase.
3. Clear out closets and cupboards
As you tidy, don’t be tempted to hide things in wardrobes or cupboards. Viewers will undoubtedly look inside and it is important that they get a sense of order and space.
Ideally, clear the floor of your wardrobe and linen closet and pack away bulky or unnecessary items. Bear in mind that towels and sheets make ideal packing materials for ornaments and picture frames.
Reducing the contents of kitchen cupboards down to the items that are used on a frequent basis should be enough to allow viewers to visualise how the storage can work for them.
4. Identify the keepers
When looking at your belongings, rather than thinking ‘what should I let go?’, start from a position of identifying items that you definitely want to keep and take them out of the equation before selectively going through the remainder.
5. Less is… less!
As moving day approaches, bear in mind that removal companies
usually charge by volume – quite simply, the less stuff you have to move the more money you will save, so doing a big declutter can ensure a quicker and more efficient move.
Packing and paying to move or store items that you no longer need can be frustrating and time consuming. So pare down your belongings to the ones that you actually use, need or love!
Consider whether physical items can be replaced with digital versions i.e. donate some of your hardback books to charity and download the titles onto an e-reader. Recycle user manuals as most can be accessed online or you can find instructions on YouTube!
7. Create a moving file
As soon as you know you are moving, put together a moving file for all quotes, schedules, action lists and reminders relating to the move.
Listing everything that needs to be done in a spreadsheet is a brilliant way to keep track of all the activities, deadlines and contact information. Minimise stress levels by emptying your head regularly - this is much easier if there is one central place to capture everything that you need to remember!
8. Ask for help and take breaks
Whether you ask friends and family to help, or bring in a professional organiser, having extra people on board can help enormously with the practical side of preparing a house for sale, as well as giving you moral support and encouragement to keep you calm when you are in the throes of packing.
Taking regular breaks to grab some water and fresh air will give you some breathing space and help to keep you energised.
Kate Galbally is a professional organiser and founder of Better Organised, a member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers) working in and around Glasgow.