I have moved many times in my life. Once (well, actually twice) in childhood. Once every year during university, and probably three or four times since then. While I’m not a fan of having to uproot a home and move to another, sometimes it’s mandatory. For me, those reasons ranged from relocating to a new job, to a horrible landlord. Either way, I’m a bit of a “pro” when it comes to this. Or so I thought. This past summer I made the decision that I am going to sell my house and find something that requires a little less maintenance. So, I started on this path feeling invigorated. But it hasn’t been that easy. The past four months have been a continual progression of cleaning, organizing, updating, painting, purging, rearranging and even some destruction. I am not finished with this journey just yet, but I do want to share some tips on what would have made this process a bit easier.
De-clutter… or Organize.
Over the years, I allowed my house to get filled with items that I thought I might use again some day. Don’t get me wrong, I still might use them, but I can’t hold onto them until that time. De-cluttering has been an emotional process, but it has also extremely liberating. For example, I was holding onto a large box of Christmas decorations, and yet, I’m not really one to decorate my house, or even be home at Christmas, so why am I holding onto them? To be honest, I don’t really know. I think I just forgot about them. (More on this later) I ended up sending some pictures to friends and gave them first dibs on some of the bigger ticket items and the rest went to the GoodWill. I also got rid of a bunch of bed sheets. I don’t have a twin bed, so why do I have twin bed sheets? Whatever you have in excess, get rid of it when its usefulness has run out. This doesn’t mean you have to be hyper-aware of all of your belongings, but do a check every now and then and see if something no longer has value to you. You might be surprised to find something that could prove useful.. and if not, someone else might find value in it.
Don’t put off renovation projects.
To be honest, my house wasn’t in that bad of shape. I had most of the “big” projects completed, or so I thought. My realtor came through the house in the summer and gave me a laundry list of things I needed to do. Well, its taken me four months to do the work, and not by myself. Most of the work was done thanks to my parents for the most part, and my brother to a lesser extent. Either way, don’t put these off. If you buy a new house put the effort into it before you move in. Even if that just means painting. It’s easier to paint when there is no furniture and dust! Cleaning and de-cluttering pale in comparison to the amount of effort I have put into painting. If you take away only one thing from this, let it be your commitment to wrapping up unfinished projects before they become unmanageable.
Don’t forget what you have.
You’re probably laughing at this one. Who forgets what they have? Well…. I guess I do? Being the youngest in the family and maybe the last person to become a homeowner, I have inherited almost every piece of furniture I own. If someone was upgrading to a new “whatever” I became the owner of the previous version. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of stuff that is extremely useful, but the amount of giving became overwhelming and I forgot what I had. (For those of you wondering, there is only one piece of furniture in my house that I purchased myself. One.) I mentioned earlier that I forgot about the Christmas decorations I had. As I went through the decorations, it occurred to me that I wasn’t even sure what the origin story was for some of these decorations. Did I buy them? Were they a gift? Were they a family heirloom belonging to my ex? Either way, they now have a new home.
I am still in the early stages of this process. I need to continue cleaning, organizing, purging and de-cluttering, but the house is miles ahead of where it was a few months ago. I need to keep reminding myself that this is a positive step for me and I’m trying not to get caught up in the negative feelings and emotions it can bring about. I mostly want to lay on my couch and binge watch TV, but there is a voice in my head that tells me I can’t. It tells me to keep going and not to stop until the job is complete. The voice can be a nagging one, but it is wise and has my best interest in mind. If you are planning a move in the next 6 months to a year, I encourage you to start packing up some things now and planning any of those projects that you’ve been putting off. You’ll thank me later!