Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Use It or Lose It!

It's been a crazy month in my household, primarily because we're planning to put our condo on the market next week. As you might expect, I've always considered myself and my home to be fairly organized. However, preparing and staging a home for sale takes decluttering to a whole new level. In case inquiring minds want to know, here are the steps we're taking to hopefully showcase our space, not our stuff, for a speedy and top dollar sale.

1. Ruthless Weeding 
As a professional organizer, I'm pretty sure that regular weeding of my stuff is programmed into my DNA. We make routine donation drop-offs throughout the year. But if there's ever a time to step up the weeding, this is it! We forced ourselves to make the decisions that we'd avoided in the past and also to go through every space...big or little...in our condo to thin out the cabinets, closets, and of course surfaces. Not only was it the perfect time to do this (so as not to end up packing and moving things we don't want), but it was also key to making our storage spaces appear spacious and to make room to put away last minute surface items before each showing. One huge bonus is that it is so much easier to clean with less stuff to clean around!

2. Short-Term Storage 
For the first time in my life, we are renting a small storage unit to house items we want to keep but do not need to use in the next few months. This includes off-season clothing, infrequently used kitchen items, personal photos, books, and off-season outdoor gear. I've always been a believer that there is a time and a place for storage units, especially in the short-term...and this is our time and place. We won't keep the storage unit after we have a new home to move everything into. The interesting part of the experiment is that I'm guessing we will not miss many of the items we put in there. That's not to say that we won't be happy to see them, but it will be proof that if we needed to live with less, we certainly could, and happily so. Who knows, maybe we will decide to part with some of what we stored after our brief separation from it. 

3. Use It or Lose It
Last but not least, I have instituted a 'use it or lose it' policy for small items discovered during the ruthless weeding. This includes a basket of food items in the kitchen, some toiletries, desk/office supplies and some reading materials (newsletters, etc.). If they do not get 'consumed' before we start showing our condo, they're gone. It's been a neat experiment and again has shown me what I can and do live without!

Bottom Line: Whether or not you are preparing to sell your home - in which case I recommend you call your favorite professional organizer to help - we can all benefit from taking a 'use it or lose it' view of our space and stuff. What can you live without?

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