Sell This House: Get Rid of the Clutter

Pack it up, ship it out!  One of the biggest steps towards selling your house, while you are living in it, is to clean out the clutter.  When you have pared everything down to what you consider to be the bare minimum – get rid of 1/3 more.  You want the house to feel so big that you don’t have enough stuff to put into the house.  You have to be cold about this.  Detach youself emotionally from this process.  You are selling a HOUSE – it’s not yours anymore.  Your house should be as anonymous as a hotel room – anybody should be able to visit the house and see themselves staying there. 

Get rid of any excess furniture or items that don’t serve an immediate purpose.  Remove anything that states a personal preference.  For example: your taste in books, family photos, religious artifacts, etc…  You want people to imagine themselves in the house.  You don’t want them to feel like they are intruding into your personal space. 

For someone like me, this has been both a cleansing and draining process.  I still have the blue and red windup robot that I played with in Thailand when I was 6, the music box that my Grandmother Dorothy gave me when I was 9 and my faded and worn twin size comforter my dad bought me in Korea when I was 13.  Every time I move, I whittle away at my trinkets and have packed my life into 2 rubber maid totes full of memories.  As for the rest of the house, well, let’s just say we’ve been busy these past few weeks.

We rented a 10X15 storage unit and have been making nightly trips to fill it up.  I’ve done my best to pre-sort and organize our belongings.  Each night is a different theme.   

Rather than mark “KITCHEN”, “MSTR BEDROOM”, “LIVING ROOM”, etc… on the boxes, I label each box on two sides with the contents and assign the box a number.I record each box number into a journal and list the contents.  I will input this list into Excel so we’ll have a nice little cargo manifest when it comes time to move.  Labeling and numbering the boxes is VERY helpful for storing and moving items.  Since we don’t know how long our stuff will be in storage, I can quickly reference our list and retrieve a box by number if I need something from storage.  It will also be easier when we move to our final destination (For example, boxes 1-10 in the kitchen). 

Here’s an example of how we’ve been spending our time (and why the blog has been quiet of late).  One night the theme was books.  We gathered every single book we own into one spot and sorted them into keep, sell, and yard sale/donate piles.  The keep piles we sorted and packed according to genres.  The sell pile I boxed up to take to our local book reseller and the yard sale/donate pile has been placed in the designated yard sale area.  I call it the yard sale/donate pile, because we promise to donate everything that doesn’t sell at our yard sale in June rather than drag it back into the house.  At the end of every night, the hubby loads up the van and makes a trip to the storage unit – usually around 10 or 11pm.

My little sweetie pie LOVES, LOVES, LOVES paper.  She’s been having a blast helping me pack.  She’ll wiggle, scoot, and roll her way across the room to chomp on my packing material.

Oliver has been taking it in stride.  We try to do everything after they go to bed so they can avoid the mess.  When the packing overflows into his life, he gets a bit stressed.  Selling this house is going to be a big transition for him.  As long as we have paper around, Evelyn will be fine!

As of tonight, we have hauled 58 boxes over to storage.  I’m guessing that we have another 58 to go!  On the plus side, our attic is almost empty!

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