Close up of a grandfather having breakfast with his grandchildren

Decluttering 101: Tips to Make it Easier

Decluttering 101: Tips to Make it Easier

Have you ever made plans to clean out the garage or set aside a weekend for Spring cleaning? Then, you became overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you’ve collected over the years and just gave up? Decluttering can be quite a chore. Debbie Keller, founder and president of Home and Office Transitions, answers common questions about decluttering with tips to make it so much easier.

I’m perfectly happy in my home with all my stuff. Why should I consider getting rid of anything?
Everyone should be happy in their home, it is something we all strive to achieve. At some point however our possessions become a burden, to us and/or to our families. Beginning the process of downsizing and or letting go sooner than later, gives us the opportunity to be in control of those decisions and to enjoy sharing things with others, whether family and friends or to a charity supporting individuals in need.

My house is full of small items that I once loved and now, I just want less. Where should I start?
Begin small. Take one drawer or one closet or cabinet at a time. Decide to tackle one area a day. Starting in a small area first gets you into a pattern that provides momentum for tackling larger areas in time.

How do I  handle things that no one seems to want anymore, like china and silverware? Are they worth anything?
Most everything has some value but very few things have the value we might want to attach to them. Many items can be consigned but remember the consigning shop will take approximately 50% of the proceeds. Many people prefer to donate either for the tax write off or for the joy of giving something of value to others who might have very little.

How do I know if I’m getting the most money for the things that I sell?
That is never a guarantee. Do some homework on craigslist or on other neighborhood buy sell and trade sites. That will give you an idea. If you list too high you’ll know pretty quickly because no one will be calling you to buy it. Again, very few things have the value we might want to attach to them. In the end, remember your goal is accomplished when you let go and anything you get for it is a bonus.

I have a whole houseful of items – large and small – that I want to get rid of. Can I just hire someone to come in and take care of it all at once?
You certainly can. Seek a reputable estate sale professional in your area for assistance.

I’ve always heard that you divide your stuff into piles – throw away, sell, consign, etc. But, I don’t have the energy even to do that. Where do I start to actually get this done?
Many people are overwhelmed when facing the task of sorting their own things. Seek out the help of a professional move manager. They are skilled in guiding clients through decisions like that. Even if you are not moving, their skills and services would be beneficial to you.

I really don’t want my children to have to hassle with all this stuff when I’m gone, but yet, I’m struggling with getting rid of stuff I’ve collected over the years. Any advice on that?
Depending on the availability, family can sometimes be a great resource. They may love to go through the house with you, sharing memories as well as getting about the work of getting rid of years of accumulated treasures. Many items may be left over from their growing up years!  Even then you still might want to consider the resources of a professional move manager to assist in the process. That person can keep everyone focused and the project moving along, as well as provide resources for “getting rid of” things to be discarded, donated or sold.

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Debbie Keller is founder and president of Home and Office Transitions, a move management company offering services to residential and commercial clients and providing specialized services to seniors in transition. She has successfully guided hundreds of individuals and families through the process of downsizing, simplifying lifestyles and/or moving.