Seven Easy Steps To Decluttering - Donate!

Overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering your home before putting it on the market? Here are seven easy steps to get you there!

1. Stow away important papers and valuables in a safe, secure place.

2. Walk through each room and use colored tags or sticky notes to identify which items to keep, store, donate, or throw away. Start with the largest items first.

3. If you're planning to donate items, call the organization you're donating to and find out what they'll accept. For example, many places like the Salvation Army will gladly come and pick up used furniture but not fabric items such as sofas or mattresses. Be sure to call well in advance, since it can sometimes take a few weeks to get onto their pickup schedule.

4. Throw away unwanted items. If you have larger items that you need to dispose of, call a junk removal company like 1-800-JUNK, who'll come and haul it away. Tip: If you need to get rid of items such as old tires, TVs, or computers, that contain hazardous materials, be sure to alert the removal company ahead of time. Some companies will dispose of these responsibly for you for a small fee. If not, you may be able to get rid of them during your town's upcoming hazardous waste day, or you can take some items like unwanted electronics to computer stores such as Best Buy. Be sure to call first to make sure that they are still accepting these items.

5. Start by packing the items that you aren't going to be using for a few months, such as out-of-season clothes or infrequently used kitchen appliances.

6. Mark each box to indicate its contents and which room it should go into in your new home.

7. If you're looking to declutter your existing house before you close on your new house, you can use a portable storage unit. Companies like PODS will come and deliver the storage unit to you. Store excess furniture and other items in the container, and once it's filled, you can either keep it on hand (usually at the end of the driveway), or have the company pick it up and store it until you're ready to have it unpacked at your new home.

Extra tip: Decluttering your own home can be a challenge (I can tell you this firsthand!) If you don't have the time to get the work done yourself, ask your realtor for recommendations of local home organizers or cleanout crews who can lend a hand.

Having trouble staying motivated? A decluttered home will yield a higher value than a comparable home that is cluttered. That's a great motivator when you get stuck!

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