Planning to de-clutter

De-cluttering your home is not just reserved for a home sale. It’s also a bit more than just a thorough cleaning and putting away items that are not in use. You may already be overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning, but remember that if you prepare a realistic plan and stick to it, you will be finished before you know it.

When going through each room, decide which items are necessities and which items need to go. There are many items that you may decide are not necessary to keep, yet they are personal or sentimental. Professional home stagers talk about the idea of “depersonalization” when discussing de-cluttering. This means that the home should be “neutralized” so, rather than view your life and personalization, home buyers can have a vision of the home as their own. Keeping depersonalization in mind, decide which items need to go.

Remember that de-cluttering doesn’t necessarily mean that you dispose of everything you don’t need or want in your home. Many of your personal and sentimental items you wish to keep can be stored temporarily or for long periods of time. You can rent storage units of various sizes on a monthly basis, or you may decide to have a portable storage container delivered to your home. The portable storage container is a practical solution if many of the items that you’re pulling from your home will be used in your new home. Additionally, if you’re move is not immediate, the portable storage container can be transported by the company to storage until you’re ready to unload the container in your new home.

The items you decide that you no longer need or want can be donated, disposed of, or you might even decide to have a yard sale! If you have many items that need to be removed from your home, consider donating the items to a charity before throwing it all away. Since many charities vary on what is acceptable for donation, it’s a good idea to check with them before scheduling a pick up or dropping items off to their collection site.

Be careful when throwing items away; you may need to take precautions or make separate disposal plans for certain materials. Some items that cannot be picked up by the regular trash collection can be scheduled for pick up by the county or local municipality; or can be hauled to the local processing facility. If you’re unsure how to dispose of certain items, you can check with the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services for facility hours and disposal/recycle procedures.

If you don’t have the time to haul your unwanted items on your own, you may decide to hire a hauling company. Charges to haul items away can vary depending on the company, as well as how they dispose of the items. Some haulers may drop everything to a county processing center, while some may sort your items either for donation or sale.

De-cluttering is the keystone to your home’s presentation. De-cluttering a home may sound laborious, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a realistic plan. If you’re unsure how to begin de-cluttering your home, you can check with your Realtor® or you can hire a Professional Organizer. The National Association of Professional Organizers ( maintains a national directory of Professional Organizers.

by Dan Krell
© 2011

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