Unless they’re taking a listing from a devout minimalist, probably every REALTOR has uttered the dreaded, “you need to pack away the clutter,” mantra to prospective sellers.
And every seller probably looked around wounded thinking “Who, me?”
As much as we love the house we owned and only entertained in for 10 years….(and finally live in full time), we BOTH are slowly coming to the realization that it’s just too big for us and with torn meniscuses (and that’s PLURAL!!), our second story is basically unused except when we have guests. Actually we leave everything that needs to go upstairs, (like extra linens or holiday gifts we buy early), strewn on the first few steps and when it looks like the stockroom at Macy’s and no one can go up OR down, we actually toss for who goes up. The loser gets loaded up like a pack mule and makes the ascent. (With the winner doing a SILENT happy dance below not having to trek the two flights!)
That’s no way to fully enjoy the fruits of our labor. So inasmuch as we adore this home, the incredible serenity of its off the beaten track neighborhood, the four sided garden that brings me such joy each and every day, or the openness of the floor-plan that to this day still takes my breath away each time I come through the front door, we probably should let another family love it and go to a more practical ONE STORY home.
Knowing what we know from finally selling our other house after 30 years of accumulation, we KNOW while certainly not HOARDERVILLE as Pinetree became, this new house doesn’t have an inch of space free, either.
On a daily basis I tell myself, if we are even thinking of putting this on the market in the forseeable future, reducing “stuff,” now before it becomes a dreaded job, would make sense.
Tell that to Hank. I say, “we should start tossing things we don’t really use or need anymore,” and he picks up something of MINE and says “OK.” Really?? Really, dude?? What about the PINK POLYESTER turtleneck you MET ME IN?? Or the TRANSISTOR RADIO in the garage? For YEARS I bought his telling me, “after a hurricane with no power we’ll need it.” I think I’d rather sit in the dark with no noise than try to TUNE IN an ENGLISH SPEAKING channel on that ancient thing.
He has no problem reducing clutter if he can toss my crap. And if I’m honest, I could pare down his closet faster than getting to the Chanel store with a blank check. So how do you REALISTICALLY begin to reduce “the stuff” if you’re even contemplating selling in the next year or so?
To prepare for this, I did what I did when I wrote articles for my magazine and others, I researched what the “experts” say.
So over breakfast for the last two weeks I espoused my “findings” to deaf ears and actually thought I heard the Hankster “hissing,” this morning.
So I called Joy and after laughing and realizing it’s not just OUR dilemma, it’s EVERY potential seller’s issue; we decided it might be an interesting topic for her GREAT Florida Homes.com blog.
So whether Hank is “listening” or not, here’s what I learned: 1. the transistor radio GOES! HA!
Well not in so many words but the consensus of the experts is simple: START, start anywhere, but start. And if you are thinking of selling …. sooner IS better.
From Oprah’s people, (and we know the big O’s people are uber connected,) they say “get REAL.” If you haven’t parked in your garage in years, or have no idea what’s at the bottom of the pile of papers that sit untouched on your dresser or computer desk, or no drawer closes without a fight, you are clogging your “chi.” Not to mention seriously stressing yourself out on a subliminal level. Do you sometimes feel tense for no real you-can’t-put-your-fingr-on-it reason? Do you just “feel” like you CAN’T rest?
They say ours has become a super-size mentality. That even though studies show families are getting smaller our homes have gotten larger and in so doing we are filling every inch with stuff. Stuff that oftentimes we don’t use, have not used or even looked at in years. Attics, garages, and now so many families FILL off-premise storage units. (We resemble that remark! And share in the thousands of wasted hard earned dollars that now we pay MONTHLY to house our “stuff.”) That “stuff” creates responsibilities. Even just the responsibility to address it. THAT is the hidden stress! The reason even when resting you feel anxious.
Add insult to injury: they harkened back to the old adage, money can’t buy happiness. Big O’s peeps assert that, “more is not necessarily better. THINGS do NOT bring sustainable happiness.” Sure the Chanel I got for my birthday sent me to the moon and back. But they mean over-stuffed stuff. That essentially many of us fill voids in our lives with stuff—stuff that then clutters up our lives and causes us on-going STRESS, drama and then later… trauma sorting through it and finally, letting it go. Hmmm.
A point well worth considering.
And here’s the part that really caught my attention: “If your house is full of clutter, all the blessings that could fill your house and life, CAN’T GET IN.”
That made me think: Isn’t that the foundation of Feng Shui? The centuries old Chinese system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. Kinda like: move your big clunky couch from between your front door and the window behind it and the energy free-flows thru your home. Move the EXCESS crap outta your living space, and on so many levels YOU FIND YOURSELF BREATHING EASIER, living calmer and being more open to new possibilities and opportunities. The crap and the clutter weigh us down in very significant yet sometimes undetectable ways.
Maybe you THOUGHT of selling like we did YEARS ago but the thought of actually going thru the stuff is too daunting. It became that way for us, so we just let it, our opportunities and possibilities of what may come, languish. But ask yourself, are you going to be more stressed by WAITING until it HAS TO BE DONE, or doing just at your speed weekly?
The O’s people, psychologists and “clutter-ologists” all agree: the number one way to CONQUER the clutter that’s weighing you down …is just to begin. But don’t look at the garage and feel so defeated you head back to bed by way of the liquor cabinet. Start on just one shelf, one corner, or just one box or tub you haven’t opened in a decade.
Grab just one pile of papers on your desk, a garbage can and a few manila folders, turn on NETFLIX, and PURGE. Even making folders with papers you aren’t sure you want to purge is SUCH progress. It’s now at least a bit organized. When that pile is purged, go get another or not. Put the folders in a folder box or file cabinet, come back tomorrow or on the weekend or when you have an hour to do A BIT MORE. Designate a weekend morning early and set your clock for 7am and decide to work just until 9am and then go out and enjoy the day. Make a box for donate, a garbage pail for TOSS and mark a clean tub for SAVE and see how accomplishable it is. The third time I handled some dishes I really never used anymore, I gave them to the Pet Rescue thrift store. PLUS a backseat full of more stuff that after a bit of thinking, I realized wasn’t adding to my life, it was actually only weighing it down. And after it really was gone, the open space was incredibly liberating. And a calmness I never expected started to be palpable. I did not have the responsibility of knowing I should be going through stuff while I was trying to read, watch NetFlix or garden. I could actually enjoy what I was doing freely! I was finally guilt-free in the moment, not suspended in anxiety over what needed to be done.
The experts all agreed on something else too. Whether it’s precipitated by a move you know you will be making in the future, or just the desire to fully live and enjoy the all too short life we are granted, too much stuff keeps absolutely DOES keep you from enjoying, from being fully present in your life and from opportunities and pleasures you are missing because you can’t get out from under. And the pressure that mounts from knowing you need to mitigate the issue WILL NOT GO AWAY until the stuff is dealt with.
If you are thinking of selling, call a REALTOR now. Listen to their dreaded “clean out the clutter,” advice. It’s sage and it may be the best advice for the next best chapter of your happier, fuller, richer but less “stuff”ed life.
To learn how to increase the home value of your house, get great professional advice on how to PRICE it realistically, what professional steps you need to take now and weigh YOUR selling options, please contact the Great Florida Homes team at (954) 695-SOLD. They are here to help you sell your existing home or buy a new home that’s perfect for you, your family and your life.
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