We just sold our house this summer, and I, therefore, found it fitting to discuss a couple of aspects of this experience with you. When getting ready to list your house there are certain steps you go through; you meet with a realtor, set a price, take pictures and sign a big stack of documents. But before you take your pictures and list it for sale you might want to invest some time and money into getting it into the best shape you can. There is hopefully no need to break the bank, but doing a little here and there goes a long way.
In our case, we decided to do some minor repairs, do some touch-up painting and replace outdated light fixtures, etc. However, I strongly believe (and my realtor agrees) that the so-called “hidden” work we did made just as much of a difference, if not more.
Before listing our house, and before even meeting with the realtor, we started preparing ourselves and our house for the moving process. We went through every room, every closet, every drawer, and every cabinet. And I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE! We left no corner untouched and no item escaped our scrutiny.
So why did we do this?
We did it to jumpstart the moving process by getting things ready in advance.
Buying and selling a house and physically moving is very stressful. It is like a big jigsaw puzzle where you only have some of the pieces at any given time. By doing the mentally draining purging and decision making ahead of time we lessened the stress during the actual selling process.
When you have lived in a house for a long time you tend to collect and accumulate things. Closets and cabinets get fuller and fuller and we tend to become blind to all the unused items hiding in plain sight. Most people who have moved, one time or another, know that the likelihood that you end up bringing “junk” with you to a new house is high. This is unless you put in the work on the front end.
The prospect of a new house and a fresh start works wonders when it comes to purging. We felt that deciding on which things to pass on was not nearly as hard as we thought it would be. The items left in our house were all items we knew we wanted to pack up and take with us when moving day came.
We did it to showcase the house and its features rather than our stuff.
People want to look at a house and envision themselves and their belongings in the house. This is one of the main reasons realtors tell sellers to remove items like family photos etc. The other thing buyers want to see is a spacious home with room for all they want to fill it with. No matter how many square feet your house is, nothing says crammed like unruly drawers and cabinets and closets filled to the brim!
This was our problem! Our three-bedroom house was starting to get a bit tight for our family of five. We had put an office area in the master bedroom and our closets were filling up with seasonal décor and memorabilia in addition to clothes and such. By clearing out unnecessary items, giving the feeling of air, and neutralizing all our spaces, we were able to create a spacious, blank slate for potential buyers.
We did it to make the showing process easier on ourselves.
Let’s face it, showing a house is a constant rat-race to make sure everything is spotless and in order at all times. Now add three active kids, a busy schedule and two working parents and the task at hand seems nearly impossible!
By eliminating a large portion of the “stuff” in both our kids’ rooms and the rest of the house we were, by default, left with a much more manageable task come cleaning time. When your kids only have a handful of toys, they can only pull out a handful of toys. When you only have so many pots and kitchen gadgets you are limited in how much you can use at any given time, and therefore lessening the dish pile in the end.
Don’t get me wrong, we still put a basket of dirty laundry in our trunk and usually grabbed a bag for random odds and ends on our way out the door. But, overall, the
house stayed nice and organized the whole time it was on the market.
You might think this whole pre-moving process was a no-brainer for me since I do organizing for a living. Wrong!!! As all my clients will attest to, going through your own stuff is hard!! I assure you that I also wanted to give up at times and shove all my stuff back where it came from. But instead I took a step back and thought about what I would tell my clients in this same situation. And I also talked it over with my mom :)