Downsizing & Decluttering
THERE comes a time for many of us when we look around at our previously much-loved home and decide the time has come to downsize to something smaller.
This may be because your family has left to become independent and the property that once seemed to be bursting at the seams is just too big. It may be that you need to move to more convenient housing because health or financial necessities demand it, or because you would just prefer to look after and maintain a smaller place.
There are more options than ever for retirement living these days and, while property can help fund your care home should you need it, another route is to rent a retirement property.
Whatever you do next, you may well be faced with having to sell a property that reflects years of a happy home life. And that can mean a mass of possessions that may not fit into your downsized new home.
In order to sell a property, it needs to be as clear as possible of the life of the previous owner so that a potential-buyer can see where he or she might fit their lifestyle into it.
Decluttering your home takes a particular mind-set and genuine determination. In fact, as professional declutterer Amanda Manson of Orderly Office and Home points out:
“The thought of what you’re going to do with everything might fill you with utter dread!”
She recommends a simple plan of action:
Beginning decluttering well in advance of putting your property on the market assists in a quick sale and spreads the load over time.
“Try 10 minutes a day,”
“little and often. Don’t try a whole room in one go – you’ll end up exhausted and disheartened. Keep in the forefront of your mind your goal of moving into a new home and you’ll be spurred on to continue each day.”
MAKE A LIST
Keep track of where everything is. “
If your new home has been agreed, assign a number to each room, and pack your belongings in a box numbered accordingly,”
“If your new home hasn’t been decided yet, start grouping like items with like. Pack Winter/Summer clothing together, pictures and ornaments, books and bedding (always spread books across several boxes – your removal men will thank you!). Remember to label everything.”
Look at what’s in your home and ask yourself “Do I use it, love it or need it?” If the answer is “no”, is it time to say goodbye? Amanda suggests that clothing you haven’t worn in over a year you might never wear again so out it goes, along with gifts that you’ll never use. Give them to relatives or friends, a local charity, sell them in the local paper or on an auction site or list them online for free collection. Adds Amanda:
“Recycle unwanted items where possible, but if unsuitable then it’s a trip to your local rubbish tip or a call to your local council for removal.”
If you have no garden, garage or guest room in your new home be realistic about whether you’ll use certain items like, for example, a lawnmower if you’re going somewhere with a serviced garden or no garden. Is your furniture too big for your new property? Try to imagine the bare minimum you could manage living with, and take it from there.
“Often the additional ‘stuff’ we keep with us becomes an emotional weight around our necks,”
A GIFT TO YOUR CHILDREN
If your loft has been home to items belonging to children like their earliest artwork, toys and other memories, now is the time to give them back. Explain your reasons, keep what you really can’t bear to part with and ask them to collect what’s left, with a deadline.
All open surfaces and room space should be as clear as possible ready for estate agents’ photographs.
“Buyers can be easily put off by what appears to be a cramped or cluttered space,”
Don’t just wonder if prospective buyers will look inside your cupboards. They will. If you have fitted wardrobes and sleek kitchen cupboards, buyers will want to know what they can fit into them.
STORE UNTIL YOU MOVE
If you have a move date, this makes deciding what to keep out and what to pack away and what can go much easier. Without one, you’ll have to get organised. Box up seasonal items and store them away in a loft, garage or in a storage facility until you move and keep your cupboards, wardrobes and kitchen space for things you use often.
STOP BUYING MORE!
If you’re really set on making the move, start paring down any consumables right now, insists Amanda.
“Sort through kitchen cupboards and freezer to see what meals you can make with what you already have. Discard out of date items, meal plan and make amends to your shopping list so you’re only buying the item you really need each week. Repeat the process with your bathroom cupboards and toiletries – and avoid the BOGOF temptations as it’s just more stuff to move.”
PAPERWORK AND READING MATERIAL
As the years go by, it’s easy to let papers build up. “
Sort through your paperwork piles and discard or shred anything that you really don’t need like outdated bills, manuals for items you don’t now have and old magazines,”
For more information go to www.orderlyofficeandhome.co.uk