Are you planning to move any time in the next 20 years? This blog post is for you! We recently helped my mother-in-law (Tine – Dutch for Tina) move from Texas to North Carolina. She has been living in Houston for 23 years and lost her husband 15 years ago; she’s never moved or sold a home by herself.
Moving is the 3rd most stressful thing a person can experience. You are often changing your zip code which means getting used to a new area, making new friends, finding new doctors and getting a new driver’s license (yuck). It does not have to be a terrible experience; follow these steps to make it easier:
Step 1: Decide where you want to live?
Do you want to move into a smaller space? Maybe a condo, apartment or independent living is right for you. Is the yard work too much or the stairs to get to your bedroom? A one-level ranch may be your perfect fit.
Tine decided to come back East and live closer to family. She did not want to be responsible for a house or yard anymore and she is physically and mentally fit. The best option for her was an apartment.
Step 2: What do you want to take with you?
Moving is the perfect time to purge! If you are moving into a smaller space, you can’t take everything. Stick to the necessities and irreplaceable keepsakes such as photos. Go through each room and make a list of your “must have’s” and your “really wants”.
I recommended 4-6 of each dish, glass, a few pots and pans, one of each used small appliance (coffee pot), the clothing you wear, the furniture that will fit in your new space, framed photos and art, linens, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, electronics, etc.
Don’t worry, anything you don’t take can be donated or maybe even sold.
Step 3:Plan ahead for the move: Get moving and packing quotes ahead of time.
Movers will come to your home and give you a free quote. I highly recommend getting at least 2-3. You may find that storage pods are a better fit or renting a truck yourself.
We decided to hire movers and rent a truck that my husband and his brother drove from TX to NC. This is not the best option for everyone but they wanted a bro road trip and we were able to save Tine some money on a cross-country move. I packed her belongings for her 2 days before the move, the movers loaded everything onto a U-Haul we rented, the guys drove to North Carolina and another team of movers unloaded at her new apt. I also hired unpackers for her so she could be completely ready to spend the night in her new place.
Step 4: Estate sale or donation pick up
Anything you don’t want or need anymore is much appreciated by charities. There are many who will pick up your house hold items for free and give you a letter for your taxes. Go to www.donationtown.org to find a charity near you. Would you rather try to sell your items? Contact some estate sale companies in your area and get them to come give you an estimate (estatesales.net will have a list). Most have minimum requirements and take a % of profit. If you are living in your home, there are some online estate sale options too: try max sold or everything but the house.
For Tine’s house, we went with an auction clean out company. Her HOA does not allow estate sales so this was a good option for her. What they did not take, we had a charity pick up.
Step 5: Getting your home ready to sell
You may have to do this step while you are still living in your current home. If so, just move this to step 1 or 2. The key in this day and age is to make your home as neutral as possible for the buyer. You will want to start with a budget; how much can you afford to put into the home without losing too much. The most important thing is to fix anything that needs an obvious repair: leaky roof, water stains in the ceiling, stains or bad odors in the carpet, etc.
For Tine’s house, I interviewed and hired a roofer, painter and floor company to give the house a fresher look without breaking the bank.
For detailed tips see my blog: www.simplyorganizedyou.com/gettingyourhomereadytosell
You will also want to hire a reputable real estate agent. I interviewed 3 in Texas and chose her neighbor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the neighborhood and can keep an eye on the house for us.
Step 6: Enjoy your new home
After you have done all this hard work, made your repairs, sold your house, moved into your new place and unpacked, it’s time to sit back and relax! Yes it’s hard to make big changes in your life but you have your future to look forward to. Life is not about the stuff you had to part with, it’s about the memories you have made and the new ones you are going to make.
Need help with project management, packing, unpacking, pre-staging or more? Contact us at 404-825-2105 or email@example.com
This is a great time of year to sell your home. Recently, I have helped several clients to prepare their home for potential buyers. The number one thing to remember is that many buyers want their new home to be “move-in ready”. The second item buyers want is to be able to picture themselves living in your home. You do not have to spend a lot of money remodeling your entire home to achieve these goals. Here are some easy tips you can do that will help sell your home quickly and get you a higher asking price:
#1. Landscaping/ the outside: If your home doesn’t look clean and fresh on the outside, your buyer may never even see the inside. Plant some flowers, keep the lawn mowed and pressure wash anything that looks mildewed. If the front door looks old, put a fresh coat of paint on it. Also remove any items in the yard or deck that look rusted or broken.
#2. Detail clean: I recommend hiring a cleaning service and tell them you want a “detail cleaning”. Most companies will charge $100-$250 to clean your house top-to-bottom which includes blinds, fans, inside cabinets and refrigerators, ceilings, vent covers and baseboards – THE WORKS! Of course you can also clean it yourself for no money at all just some time and elbow grease.
#3. Let there be light: The lighter your home is, the warmer and more inviting it looks. Put new light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures. Use the highest wattage you can for each fixture. Keep all windows and glass doors clean and your blinds and curtains open.
#4. De-personalize: If a buyer is going to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, it helps to not have photos of you and your family all over the house. I know it sounds strange but what if a family with four children walks into the home of someone with no children; they may think there isn’t enough space for all of their kids even if there is. Also, put away anything that shows your school or state spirit. Could a UGA fan buy a house from a Georgia Tech fan? Probably not! You don’t want to lose a buyer for any easily avoidable reason. Pack up your framed photos, your fanfare, your “collections” and anything that may be offensive. Also, remove the photos and the magnets on the fridge.
#5. Clean floors, clear shelves and open spaces: The more of the floor you can see, the better. This goes for every room but especially closets. You want the closets to have as little on the floor as possible and some space on the shelves open so they look more spacious. It is also good to have open space to walk from room to room and around furniture. You don’t want anyone having to squeeze past the dresser to get to the closet.
#6. De-clutter: Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter! If you have not used something or worn an item of clothing in 1 year, donate it. Take the time to go through your old books, papers, tools, kitchen appliances, clothing, toys, VHS and cassette tapes (you know you will never use them again) and get rid of it. If you pack these items up, you are wasting money paying someone to move them just so you can toss them later.
#7. Pack it up and store it: Anything you do not need to use for the next six months should be packed up and stored elsewhere. This includes the bread maker, the train set and the skis. Move the out-of-season clothing out of your closets so they look more spacious. If you can get a POD great, if you can’t, at least have it out of the way in a garage, storage area (like an attic) or under the bed. Use Space Bags to get the bulky comforters, sleeping bags and coats smaller so they won’t take up so much space.
#8. Touch up paint: Paint is the cheapest and easiest way to make a room look brand new. A buyer may not appreciate your love of pink and purple polk-a-dots. Try to make each room a neutral color. The whole house doesn’t have to be painted beige but you should try to stay in the gray, taupe, beige or white family. If you have holes in the walls or scratches on any doors or molding, use touch up paint or the Magic Eraser (how does Mr. Clean do it?).
#9. Decorating and staging: Less is more! You do not have to have every surface decorated or every room full of furniture. The most important rule here is every room should have one purpose (if possible). A buyer should be able to tell what the room’s purpose is easily. For example, a bedroom should not have a desk, treadmill and kitchen table in it. If a room has too much furniture in it, it looks smaller. If all the tables, dressers and mantels are covered with knick knacks and picture frames, it looks cluttered. Your home should look clean, spacious and welcoming.
I was recently interviewed by Belinda Skelton on WSB radio here in Atlanta, GA. I should not have been surprised that every single caller asked for help when dealing with their family member’s clutter. We often want to blame our problems on everyone but ourselves however, when it comes to stuff, it’s everyone’s problem.
Most of my clients presently have or have had children in their house. We are living with the “boomerang” generation where it seems perfectly acceptable for our adult children to come back home whenever they need to. What parent could turn away their precious baby? But what about their stuff?
One of the callers to last Saturday’s show is in the process of a downsizing move. She has “children” in their late 30’s who have left her basement full of their belongings (Barbie’s, stuffed animals, text books, etc.). She has asked them to come get their stuff and they say they don’t have anywhere to put it.
The way I see this situation is very simple; you have 3 choices:
1. Give them a definitive time period (1 month) to get their things. After the month, whatever is left gets donated to charity.
2. Charge them a storage fee just like an outside company would.
3. Buy your next home large enough to continue storing your “children’s” stuff until they decide to get it.
Which of those 3 choices sounds the most rational to you? Why do they not value your space, time or money? It’s usually easier said than done but I think it’s time for some 1950’s tough love. You deserve to set boundaries.
I’m assuming the reason this process is so difficult for most people is because you do not want to get rid of anything that seems like part of their child hood. It’s also hard to part with items you spent good money on. It feels like they do not appreciate you or the gifts you gave them.
Take it from someone who’s Mom decided to give her back her stuff at 25 years old: they know you still love them! Also, they will still love you even if you get rid of all of the items they obviously don’t want (or they would have them in their home).
Take back control of your space. You will not lose your children, you will gain square footage!
I get asked every single day about charitable donations. You don’t want your stuff anymore and you can’t seem to sell it so who should you give it to? Charities will pick up everything from furniture and clothes to dishes and décor. Most people have their favorite charities but they don’t all take everything. Because I like to “keep it simple”, I find making one call to one place who picks up almost everything, is the best way to go.
There is a website where you can find a list of charities who will pick up items at your home: www.donationtown.org. Most will need 1 week – 1 month notice to get you on their schedule. The only caution I will give you is not all charities will pick up all of your items. Remember, the charity has to sell your items at their store in order to donate money to the greater cause. Items most donation companies will NOT accept:
Damaged furniture (scratches, mildew or stains)
Recalled items (children’s car seats, cribs, bumper pads, etc.)
Trash, paperwork, magazines, family photos
In the Metro Atlanta area where we live, the best place I have used is a thrift store who contributes to an abused women’s shelter. They pick up just about everything (if it’s in good condition) and they bring trucks and men to do the lifting. The thrift store is called Cheaper By The Dozen 5261 Buford Highway, Norcross, GA. You can contact Bruce Carter at 770-873-6058 to schedule a pick up.
What if you have items like tile, lumber, cabinets, lighting or appliances?
Habitat for Humanity ReStore free pick up 770-962-4200
So what do you do with items you can’t donate? Their are tons of trash removal companies who will come to your home for a fee ($85-$600+). They take anything from old paint cans to whole house clean outs. Here are some companies in my area who can help:
Stand Up Guys 770-369-0305
College HUNKS 888-689-5999
Need someone to shred your personal documents? Google “free shredding events” and the name of your city first to save tons of money. Shredding companies will also come to your house for the same price as taking it to the local office supply store! Eco Shredding: 770-826-5459
Have further questions or need help figuring out what to keep? sell? donate? or trash? Call us at 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hate New Year’s resolutions! They set us all up for certain failure. My 2017 resolution is to have no resolutions at all. I realize I’m not the first person to say this but why does everyone keep shelling out money on gym memberships in January only to quit by February? Using words like “always” or “never”, “all” or “none” are not realistic words.
I love the idea of working on yourself and having hopes and attainable goals. Do me a favor and try something new this year. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” focus on what you can do to be more healthy. For example, drink more water every day, move your body more times per week, reward your success with something other than a fattening treat. All of these examples are simple, attainable and will make you feel better. You will also be more likely to continue these goals because you won’t feel the disappointment of the scale if you haven’t reached your goal weight after only 1 month of trying.
Here are other ways you can use attainable action steps instead of resolutions:
I would like to read more books in 2017. I’m shooting for 1 per month but in my busier months will be ok if I don’t finish.
Giving makes me feel good. I’m going to donate 2 hours of my time each month to my favorite charity. You don’t have time to give? Give some money you would have spent on an unnecessary item.
I’ve always wanted to learn a new language. I’m going to take a language course in 2017.
My sister is so crazy busy all the time. I’m going to offer to baby sit for her at least once per quarter.
The only thing stopping you is your imagination. Dream big but set goals you can achieve without feeling bad or sacrificing too much of your day.
We wish you a very happy 2017!
If one of your goals is to work on your time management, de-clutter or get more organized, call us at 404-825-2105 or email: email@example.com
We just returned from the trip of a lifetime. My husband Tim and I went to Italy. We spent 2 days in Rome, 7 days in Florence and 1 day in Venice. Our friend moved to Florence a few months ago and we wanted to surprise her for her birthday by visiting her new home town. While we were away, we posted lots of photos of our trip on social media. Many of my friends commented how jealous they were or how they have always wanted to go on an amazing trip but never would be able to. I want to give you some tips so you can plan that trip of a lifetime. Never say never.
1. Come up with a budget and savings plan today. Give yourself 1 year (or whatever you need) to save the money so you don’t feel guilty about spending while your trying to enjoy your vacation. Decide where you want to go and estimate at least $3000 for flights, hotels, food, etc.
2. Ask for time off from work ASAP. The quicker you ask, the better chance you have of getting the time.
3. Enlist the help of a travel agent. Travel agents know the best places for you to go, stay and tour guides while your there, train schedules, luggage rules, plus they save you loads of money. You do not pay for their services, they get a percentage from the airlines and hotels. The best travel agent I know is Melissa IntVeldt with My Traveling Panda. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Now that you have your trip booked and are saving towards it, come up with your home back up team. You will want people to help you with child care, pet care, house sitting (getting your mail) and in my case running Simply Organized while I was gone.
5. When you are within a week of your trip, check weather at your destination so you can plan ahead with packing the right clothes. We had to buy water proof jackets for Florence and I was so glad we had them. Get a converter for your electronics and find out if you need an international phone plan if you are going over seas. Schedule your dates for out of office messages on your e-mail and voice mail. Figure out how you will get to the airport (parking vs. Uber).
6. Go on your trip of a lifetime! I could spend days telling you what to pack, how to pack light, or how to get the most time out of each day but instead I want you to experience your trip. Part of the fun of a new destination is the little hiccups, the detours and figuring it out.
Please call me if you want any help: Heather 404-825-2105 or email@example.com
It seems like October has been senior month for Simply Organized. I gave three presentations to 55 and older groups and also had an elder care panel at our NAPO meeting. Not only did I give a lot of advice, I learned a ton too!
I usually tell people what to keep, what to donate, what is worth reselling and help with creative use of space in their new smaller home. I’m usually the bearer of bad news when it comes to value of “antiques” and letting people know that most of their adult children do not want all of their stuff. I have zero attachment to my clients belongings so it is much easier for me and sometimes comes across as very unsentimental.
During our elder care panel, one of our speakers, Valerie Darling from Home Care Matters told us that most seniors want to leave their legacy. It’s important to them to know their memories will be passed on. I needed to be reminded of this so I will now use more patience and compassion with my senior clients.
Owner of Life After Loss, Doris Vaughans, taught us that older people are more emotionally strong than we think. They have experienced a lot in their life time and have handled more than we know. We should not assume that they can’t get through a loss or a move. We should also give everyone the time they need to grieve and adjust to their new surroundings; it takes some more than others.
The estate attorney on our panel, Meridith Bush, made us all more aware of estate planning. Tell someone you trust where you bank, prepare a notebook (or two) with account information, your will, your living will wishes and any other documentation that will be needed if you are in an accident or in preparation for your loved ones. Don’t assume someone knows your passwords or can find your safe deposit key.
If you are planning to downsize in the next 5-10 years, if you are planning to move, if you need help with home health care, grief counseling, estate planning, packing, unpacking, de-cluttering or anything else, please contact us. We have many resources to help solve most of your problems. 404-825-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are about to enter what most people think of as the most stressful time of the year – the holidays. With so many parties to plan and go to, shopping, wrapping, cooking, family and travel, don’t let gift giving stress you out.
Last year I encouraged you to give and ask for time, memories and or gift cards to reduce the amount of stuff we don’t really use or need. This year, I’m doing it again! Here are some of my favorite ideas for giving and receiving gifts:
Babysitting = give the gift of a night out for your friends or family
Memorable outing = take your loved one to a play, tree lighting, concert or holiday festival.
Gift certificates = massage, nail salon, dinner, movies or 3 hours of help from Simply Organized (gift certificate on the home page)
Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card = If they love books, tv, music, or movies
Potluck dinner = My friends and I do a potluck dinner instead of gifts each year. We get to spend a few hours face-to-face with each other and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Sometimes we have it in January because December is too hectic.
Photo Book = If you have a little extra time, Use Groovebook.com (also app) or Free prints, Shutterfly or Snapfish to create a photo book.