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Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Posted by cathycdk (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 19, 06 at 12:14

Our goal is to list our home for sale mid-February. With selling our home and making a long distance move in mind, we need to declutter. I'm having some trouble organizing in my mind how to get this enormous task done. I try to take stuff down to the thrift store as I pack up things we are donating so it doesn't build up. We have some things that we'd like to sell at a garage sale, but may need until we actually move. (These are mainly baby items that I use in my home daycare.)
We also have "what if we need it" disease. The goal is to move as little as possible, but we don't want to replace a lot of things in our new city. How do we draw the line at what to move and what to part with?

Any tips on keeping a room clean and organized once it has been decluttered?

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

I have seen this trick on HGTV shows. Need to do it myself as we move into our new house this weekend.

Take 4 boxes, or laundry hampers. Lable them:
TOSS
KEEP (everyday use or display)
STORE (long term storage)
DONATE or TAG SALE

And in regards to your "What if we need it" disease: if you have not used the item in the last 6-12 months (you pick the time line) say bye-bye to it!!

Good luck!!!


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

As far as the replacing stuff after you move factor--how much time will you have to do that? An old TV or couch may be heavy in the move, but you may not want to spend the first two weeks trying to replace household goods. You can always donate or freecycle after the move.

I wouldn't store anything for a garage sale. Since they are home daycare items, could you donate them to a family shelter and take the write-off?

Now, I would start in the kitchen with the goal of just decluttering. Did you use the item in the last year? Do you love it? Does it make you smile? If you said no, then put those items in the charity box. A room a day and move through the house, just focusing on give away stuff. Go back and start over. Look in every drawer, every closet, look at the nick knacks. Once you've been through the house twice, you should be reasonably decluttered for resale purposes.

The biggest wasters of moving are items in garages and basements. Aside from holiday items, what else is really there? Sports gear, camping gear? Evaluate it for need once you move. If the family no longer camps, give the stuff away. Same with a storage shed.

As far as the "what if we need it" part. I've taken Flylady's message to heart that this is thinking based on fear. I have faith that I can provide something if I need it. Now, I'm not going to get rid of my bathtowels and then moan and groan. But I don't need thirty towels around either. But that bucket of nails and screws my very unhandy husband hauled through the move? I know if I ever convince him to change a screw, I'll be able to go to the hardware store and get some. If you are moving 100 miles from the nearest store, it would be wise to save a bucket of screws. We live less than a mile.

Gloria


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Gloria's idea about maybe using that old tv or couch is exactly what we ended up doing. We had to move out of our house and when we moved back in we were going to get rid of
the last pieces of furniture but finding what we need is not so speedy or easy. We have ended up using some of the old (and in bad shape) couches and chairs, as it is tough sitting on the floor.
But if moving a couch will cost you $200 I would think differently.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

We moved recently from SoCal to Oregon. Took just a 17 foot U-Haul truck and a small trailer.

Over a two-month period we sold or gave away most of our furniture, even some pieces I really liked but just couldn't see moving. Made our house look bigger and easier to sell.

I didn't declutter enough though - and it's the small stuff that killed us, not the big things. The small stuff ate up the time in packing and made me crazy to the point of just not wanting to deal with it at all.

We ended up leaving stuff on the curb with "Free" signs on it - good stuff! - and posting messages on freecycle and craigslist about "moving - free stuff on curb." Folding wooden bookshelves, crates of good office supplies, queen mattress/box spring and frame (we're now sleeping on a futon sofa we bought here), miscellanous kitchen equipment including toaster oven, and so much more - out on the curb. I was aghast, knowing I'd be spending money on replacing a lot of that stuff at the new place.

We've been in a small rental apartment since we moved but now we're buying a house and it will seem almost vacant for awhile as I look for and buy furniture for dining room, family room, office, bedroom ...

If I'd been more organized ahead of time we could have taken a lot of that stuff with us. It would have been better to realize that we needed a larger U-Haul and pay extra for it, than try to stuff everything into the smaller one and then leave things behind.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

About ten years ago,my sister moved during the week between Christmas and New Years. They had lots of help, schools were closed so it was less upsetting to their kids.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

The biggest wasters of moving are items in garages and basements. Aside from holiday items, what else is really there? Sports gear, camping gear? Evaluate it for need once you move. If the family no longer camps, give the stuff away. Same with a storage shed.

I would SO agree with this. Last time we moved, we moved craft supplies, junky photos, household knicknacks, office supplies, old linens, all stuff we have and never use that's in storage.

Also, I would seriously limit the amount of "cheap" furniture that you move. I love IKEA, but much of their stuff does not travel particularly well. If you're going to use it at the new location, okay, but try to be ruthless.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

marge, don't you think it would still be worth hauling a couch for $200, when the replacement is going to cost $2,500? At least, that's what it's been for me.

I've moved the same kitchen table and chairs three times, still trying to find something I like better. I paid less than $100 for them 15 years ago. My beat up old comfy couch has a slipcover so you don't see the holes and marker on the fabric. Still looking for a replacement for that also. Got rid of the $2,500 replacement couch.

One thing I meant to mention and minet spoke to this is a decluttered, purged home is so much easier to deal with. My boss from hell wouldn't let me take any leave days, so I couldn't have packing time or time to deal with the movers. I had seriously decluttered and purged for four years (I'm slow) and we had our 2,600 sq. ft. 3 car garage house packed in 3 days. The movers came at 9 and had us totally loaded by noon. I had all of the boxes and furniture color coded and at the new house I had a floor plan with the colors designated, so they could tell where to put things without having to have someone at the door to constantly direct traffic. We only moved across town, but the move went so smoothly our final price came in at $1,000 less than the quote due to it not taking as much time as anticipated.

And I still had a couple of van loads to take to the thrift store as I unpacked.

Gloria


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Sell, get rid of as much as possible and then get rid of more. We just moved and I wish I had followed my own advice. I did declutter a lot and donated many items to others but still filled up a U-Haul for our long distance move. Be sure to mark your boxes and totes so you know what is inside. That alone will save you a lot of time and frustration later.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Is there a way you can get the thrift store to come to you? There are lots of charities that do pickups.

We usually book for a charity to come pick up two or three weeks ahead. That gives us lots of time to declutter. As we declutter, we make lists of what we're giving away so that we can get the tax deductions, and (this is key), pack it all in copier paper boxes. The copier boxes stack NEATLY, which is a plus if you're showing your house. We usually tape a piece of paper to the copier box lid so that it's easy to list our donations as we put them in.

You could do what one lady on the Flylady site did and arrange a standing charity pickup appointment. She had her charity come by every week at a designated day/time. And she always had a lot for them.

Do you know where you're going? If you know the dimensions of the space you're moving to, you can measure your furniture and know what will and will not work in your new space. We didn't do this and I wish we had. It took soooo long to pack up our old apartment and we ended up getting rid of about 1/3 of it after our move.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arrange-a-room online at bhg.com


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

My sister is moving across country in 2007. She has to pay for her own move. After getting bids (including UHaul which would be tricky cause who would drive their cars) she realized it would be cheaper to buy new stuff. She's keeping a few antiques that can't be replaced otherwise the rest goes.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

You are going through a lot right now...
You don't have to add this to your list of things to do.
Yeah it can save you a lot of money for moving but one fact remains, when I toss something, I usually want it back. Once you get to your new home and get settled, you will be tossing stuff left and right and your head will be much clearer.

So, in the mean time, rent storage pods, put as much as you can in those or rent a storage facility so that the house is practically empty and all valuables are in a safe place, in one room that you can stay in while people are looking at the place.

Now there is some level of organization I would recommend doing. It's easy though. Divide stuff into two catagories. "Essential" and "non-essential". It is the essential stuff that you need for everyday living so you can move right in and have the basics. That might include dishes, clothes, tv, phone, financial records, and your valuables etc
Everything else is non-essential and you can sort that out at your leisure.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long dis5tance move

Oh one more thing.

You asked any tips on keeping a room clean...
Yes! Don't use it!!!


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

quirky, I really have to disagree with this advice. Now is the perfect time for the OP to weed out stuff. To rent a POD (which aren't available everywhere)and move stuff is a waste of energy, in my opinion. People come here for advice on controlling the stuff in their lives, not how to put it into storage.

Thinking we can always deal with things later is what gets many of us overloaded to begin with. To move it seems redunant and a waste of time and money. The OP isn't listing her house until Feb. That's over 30 days of decluttering time which shouldn't be wasted. Who says she is going to have "leisure" time to do this later?

To overload a new home can be depressing. And the suggestion of not using a room isn't very helpful for those of us live with other people and actually use the rooms in our homes. I guess if you have 8 rooms and live alone that would be do-able, but it sounds like someone's house is too big if they don't need a room.

Gloria


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Cathy,
My vote is to let go of the garage sale idea. Do you really want the bother of storing stuff until then, plus give up a couple days have it?

Next: The "what if we need it" disease.

"The goal is to move as little as possible, but we don't want to replace a lot of things in our new city."

Your GOAL says it all. Move what you currently use. For example, let's say you're debating on whether or not to take your punch bowl with you. You haven't used it in years but MIGHT need it once you move, and you don't want to have to SOMEDAY replace it. The worst that could happen is you (1) go to the thrift store and buy a replacement for $5 or, (2) serve alternate beverages at your first party.

Or, let's say you have 4 dozen tupperware containers. You don't currently use them but MIGHT want to in the new house. Get rid of them. If you decided you REALLY want plastic containers, go buy Gladware--it's cheap and easy to find.

Or let's say you have an abundance of knick-knacks and decorative items that MIGHT work in the new house. Unless you LOVE them, don't take them. No sense moving something you barely like, just because you already own it. You'll be "stuck" with it forever, looking at something you really don't like. You won't have to "replace" decorative items right away, but can add pieces little by little over the next few years.

Or, let's say you have 2 microwaves and can't decide if you should move them both. One "might" break. The worst that could happen is that you take one, get rid of the other, and SOMEDAY you have to shop the ads to buy a new microwave on sale for $60. You don't need to move duplicates (which you probaby don't "need" in the first place). It's like Gloria said above, you NEED towels, but don't need 30 of them.

For me it's always easier to let something go once I've planned how easy it is to replace *IF* I ever need to.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Cathy,

We have moved 10 times in twenty years. This last move was into a house 600 SQ FT smaller than the house we had. Two and a half years later I am STILL clearing out stuff I moved here I do not need or use but felt I could not get rid of at moving time.

You have had some very good advice here. I will add try to keep in mind the cost of replacing verses moving it. If I had it to do over again I would have tossed a lot more than I did. We had just moved a year and a half before this last move and I THOUGHT I really had dumped a lot of stuff then. It was not enough. Save your very favorite things and the things you use and since I do use lots of things in my arts I allowed myself to save the very best of the junk stuff I make things with. I am using those things up fast now.

I also agree with the what if thinking. Do not go there just get new unless it really is something you use in your lifestyle now.

I also agree on do not bother with yard sale. If I had to store and drag all the stuff I donated back out again I might be tempted to keep it. use that energy to keep sorting and purging. Give yout purged things away with a happy heart to know someone will find the treasure you thought it was when you bought it. What you give away comes back to you ten fold. I am not sure why but it has happened to me. So give it with a smile and free your heart and brain. I have not missed anything I gave away. I know many of the things I did give away brought joy to others. That brings Joy to me.

I peeled my extra things away like layers of an onion. Going through and choosing three things on every shelf and in every drawer to pass on. The first couple of times through it was easy. After it took a little more thought but worth every effort. I know it is important to keep at it since you do have a limited amount of time. Just keep in mind when you get brain tired from making decisions take a break. If you keep pushing too hard it becomes easier to say to yourself I will just keep this or that and you do not want to go there either. Stop and rest and go back to it when you are refreshed.

Good luck Chris


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

We are also moving this spring, and Flylayd taught me to talk to my "stuphhh".

"Do I love you? Do I love you enough to pack you, move you, and find you a place to live in our new house?"

That's it--do I love that item enough to go through all that work with it? And part of the answer to the question tells me where I'm going to put the stuff.

Craft items for Girl Scouts: yup--you should see the looks on their faces on 'craft days'. It's bulky, space-consuming, and will be hard to deal with--but it's worth it. I have my eye on a bin storage unit from Sam's Club. It'll be kept in the basement storage area in the room off of the rec room.

An entire cabinet worth of tupperware I hardly use: nope, just keeping some of it. I've given 1/2 of it away already--time to give away the other half. Keep stuff that stacks well together and uses the same lids. Give away anything that doesn't.

Glass bowls: already got rid of the ones that don't stack well. The ones that stack get kept

Camping gear: yes--it goes in the basement. We'll get a metal storage rack for it all.

Clothes that might fit me someday: they're all gone. And then I lost weight--2-3 sizes worth. I had to go buy all new clothes. (Rough life) BUT, the one pair of jeans that I somehow kept is going--they are out of style and ride too high on the waist and my weight is proportioned slightly differently--wasn't worth keeping.

Towels: we're going to pack with them and then buy new towels for the new house. They're all getting sort of ratty anyway.

Tools: keep. keep them all. DH will weed through them someday, he tells me. (My set stays in the house. He's never heard of anyone having a 'tool basket' before.) He tried to replace it with a toolbox. I balked. I still have my tool basket.

Magazines: thin and toss. If I can't file it somewhere, then I must not need it very badly. If I did, I'd have a file marked for it. (i.e. kitchen appliance ideas)

Games/toys: the elementary school teachers were the recipients of all games my kids had outgrown

"Do I love you? Do I know where you're going in my new house? Are you worth packing and transporting? Are you worth paying someone to move for me?"

If the answer is 'yes', then you know what you're getting into. If the answer is 'no', then you know that however much you might like an item, you don't love it *enough* to keep dealing with it.

--Beth

Here is a link that might be useful: Our house being built


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

bethohio3, you have taught many of us something with your last post.

"Do I love you? Do I know where you're going in my new house? Are you worth packing and transporting? Are you worth paying someone to move for me?" will be my new mantra as I declutter the spaces I didn't get to last year as well as giving those items I already went through a second decluttering. We should be moving out of state next year (again) so it's time to make my new list of things to go through and get started.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

Can you get some idea of what it's going to cost per pound to move everything? It might be a lot easier to choose to leave behind a $50 microwave if you know it will cost you $75 to move it. There are some things you can't replace for their sentimental value. And there are a few things you want to have with you right away, like clothes for the first week, maybe even that microwave. But for anything you can't easily replace or don't need right away, a pure dollars and cents appraisal may help you weed out a lot of it.

I'm just moving down the road a few miles, so the cost factor isn't much of a consideration for me. Anything I'll use in the new house is worth taking for me. It's just a matter of going through it all - and having DH do the same.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

I can't tell from your post if you've evey made a long distance move or not BUT as someone who has 3 times let me give you a few things to think about.
First most movers will charge by weight AND distance moved,
so you want to get rid of things with weight.
Second when moving plan on EVERYTHING going wrong. Murphy's Laws apply strongly to moving. If something can go wrong it will AND at the worst time possible.
Anytime you move there is a chance your stuff will end up in storage someplace, even if that was not in your original plans. Storage can mean lost or damaged stuff.
Ask your moving company to come in and give you an estimate for what you have to move. That alone can motivate you to downsize more than you would normally.
The moving company will also have a list of items you can not take in their vans/trucks. Those items you might as well get rid of now with the exception of those you know you will need before your move to maintain your home. Have it planned where the remainder will go before the movers arrive on moving day.
Use one closet to store the stuff that is going with you in your car/van or plane. In there should be important documents,old phone book from your current area, kids records, medicial records....ANYTHING you would need to live the first week in your new home somewhat comfortable. Movers NEVER arrive when they say they will...stuff happens!When it comes moving day put caution tape over that closet door and don't let the movers near it. It helps to pick out a single spot for all that stuff now so it doesn't get mixed in with other stuff and so you can keep a visiual on how big a pile you plan on taking yourself is.
A new house usually requires a new look. So unless your furniture is irreplaceable, as in an antique or family heriloom you might want to let it go now rather than later. You can always borrow pieces or make do with a thrift store find. Often not having furniture will motivate you to get one room done in your new place quicker.
AS for keeping it all looking good while you are getting ready to move. Start in your storage spaces. Attic, basement and gargages first. They are the hardest to clean out and any buyer is going to want to look at them too so start cleaning there.
Label everything. A for Attic, B for basement, G for garage.
Writting out words can get tough around box 50.
Keep a master list with your codes with you. I suggest a spiral notebook dedicated to the move for all your moving stuff.
When you get your storage spaces done they should look nearly move ready AND you should have some space for boxes from the house. Things you need but it would make the house neater if they were packed up till after you moved.


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

We moved in June. We were moving into an apt. because our house wasn't ready, so we couldn't take too much. The cost wasn't a factor for us since it was a job-related move. We knew we had a lot of stuff that needed to go even if we didn't have to pay to move it. We just didn't want to have to deal with it again. We didn't even attempt a yard sale. I did put a few things in boxes to try to sell on Ebay. Guess what? I haven't gotten around to that yet. I only have about five small boxes, though, & hope to do that around the first of the year. We filled a dumpster with junk & donated a a lot to charity. They sent a large panel truck to pick it up & it basically filled it.

My tastes have been changing over the past few years to a cleaner, less cluttered look. I love the cottage look & wanted to have something similar in my new home, but not quite so fussy. I was able to get rid of a lot of things just because I knew they wouldn't work with what I wanted.

Julie mentioned decorative items & knick-knacks. That was a difficult one for me. Although I knew I wanted a less cluttered look, I still had a hard time letting go of a lot of decorative things. We'll go through the boxes again when we move & will probably gid rid of more stuff.

Some major things we were able to get rid of:

Tupperware: I had too much & it was all odd sizes & shapes that didn't stack. Plus part of it was missing lids. We kept only a fraction of it that we actually use.

Pots & pans: We had bought a new set about a year before the move, but still had some odd pieces that we didn't use.

Small appliance: We had some things like a sandwich maker & baked potato maker. They were gifts, but we never used them. The George Foreman does double duty making grilled sandwiches & the microwave works for baked potatoes. Out they went.

Clothes: We kept a few too-small pieces. I kept more than DH, as I have some classic things that I love that I've outgrown in the past couple of years. Anything that looked really dated or frumpy went even if it fit. We also got rid of our worst "around the house" clothes. How many stained t-shirts do you really need for cleaning?

Books & magazines: We got rid of a lot. We only kept reference type books & a few hardbacks by DH's favorite authors. We got rid of almost all magazines. I kept a few for reference for the house. We don't really buy DVD's except exercise & a couple of movies, so those stayed. If we'd had a big collection it would've been thinned.

CD's & DVD's: We use iTunes & have the device hooked up so we can play our music wirelessly thorough the stereo. We ripped all CD's to digital format & stored the originals in one box. An even better thing is that now I don't have to arrange storage for those CD's in the new house. I think this is one of the best clutter-busters I've even seen, even better than one of the large CD changers. CD's take up so much space in most people's living rooms. We only have a few DVD's because we don't really buy them (usually rent movies), so all stayed. If we'd had a large collection we would have thinned it.

Linens: We tossed anything really ratty.

Paperwork: This has always been a problem area for me. We purged a lot of old paperwork that we didn't need. A shredder was an excellent investment.

Electronics & computer stuff: DH is a programmer. We had all sort of software, as well as various cables from purchases like DVD players. He kept only what we'd need to hook everything up in the apt. & then in the new house.

Hobby/craft supplies: I like to work with silk flowers, making wreaths & arrangements. I had accumulated way too many flowers, in large part because of not saying "no" to donations from my sister. I purged a lot of that. I also purged quite a bit of old fabric that I'd been keeping to practice sewing. A lot of this again was due to donations from my sister. When she cleaned out her stash, she offer me what she didn't want. I won't fall into that again unless it's something exceptional.

Tools: We kept the majority of them.

We kept the majority of our furniture, but only until we move into the house. We were planning to buy new family room furniture before we moved, so we moved what we had & will buy once we're in the house.

Good luck!


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

This is great stuff! Thanks so much!
We haven't listed our house yet, still working on it, lol. Why does everything take longer than it looks? Like eyes are bigger than our stomach, lol!

I have been doing good getting rid of stuff.
12 garbage bags full of girls clothes...gone!
3 garbage bags full of girls shoes....gone!
many boxes of kitchy knick knacks, stuff in case.....gone!
11 garbage bags of women's clothes not worn in 7 years since I left work to be a stay at home mom......gone!
Next big project.....toys toys toys! Where to start? We get hung up on getting all the pieces of each game or whatever together so we can donate it or give it way as a usable item, and not just throw it away. This is a project that has gotten started and "so far" probably about 20 times. We get interrupted or run out of time, and it gets undone by our girls.

As we get rooms done and ready, I am learing:
It is SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier keeping an uncluttered room clean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I enjoy dusting, and enjoy vacuuming, and taking 5 minutes to spruce up a clean room is so easy compared to letting it go and needing hours.

So much stuff, so little time!


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RE: Decluttering for selling home and long distance move

A lot of that stuff costs more to move cross country than it would to replace it, so keep that in mind for the "what if I need it" items. You'll probably come out ahead if you end up replacing a few of them than if you moved ALL of them.


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