New Year’s resolutions don’t always have to be about losing weight or fixing bad habits. Sometimes they can be a determination to start taking control of the things that surround us in our homes that block us from moving forward. What’s a better time than in January to start putting those thoughts into actions and making a plan to organize and clear out your home?
Organizing and downsizing in January can be especially fruitful if you’re planning on selling your home some time later in the year. The spring and summer months are peak times for real estate sales and moving. Working on your home now can yield big rewards when it comes time to sell your home, and signing a contract with a mover early and locking in winter rates can help you avoid peak pricing that most moving companies charge from April to September. The Move Makers offers free monthly downsizing workshops with practical tips, but here are a few tips to get started on your own:
- Make a plan. Even if you’re not a huge planner, this step gets you started in the right direction. A plan can be as simple as writing down tasks like “Sort through closets for donation”, or “Take unwanted paint to the recycling center”. Think about the biggest tasks in each room, and write down the things you want to accomplish there. Find a place to post that list, as you’ll be checking off each part of the plan as you finish (and you’ll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you do!).
- Begin those tasks. Start with one room, one closet, or one drawer. Allow some room to spread out the items so you can see what you have and what you may no longer wish to keep. In each room, have boxes for charitable donations as well as for friends and family. Don’t be surprised that after you move those boxes out, there will be a tangible lightness to the room.
- Ask for help. When family or friends visit, ask if they could run an errand or take some of what you have off of your hands. Taking some of your goods to a donation center as they’re on their way home can lift some of the burden from your organizing efforts. Often our friends and family want to help, and giving specific tasks makes the offer much easier.
- Give yourself a generous timeline. It took years to accumulate your items, so don’t expect your project to be finished in a week. If you plan to place your home on the market, set your deadline for a few weeks before your target listing date. Once your home is cleared of unwanted items, your realtor can arrange for photographs to be taken for the listing, and your house will show in its best light.
Consider a Move Manager. Professional Move Managers like The Move Makers work alongside you to coordinate dispersal of your unwanted items as you sort, allowing the tasks to be completed in a shorter time. Move Managers can also coordinate the entire move, including scheduling the mover, packing, unpacking and new home setup. Engaging a Move Manager allows you to be a part of the process without the worry and stress that accompany downsizing and moving.