In Real Estate you are often dealing with two main groups of buyers and sellers..Those growing a family and needing more space & those who have raised a family that has moved out on their own and they now need less space. These are the baby boomers.
Today we are talking about the baby boomers, who more often than not fall into the ..’already raised a family and want to downsize’ category! As a child of baby boomers I see and hear the challenges first hand and often wonder- will they ever get 45 years of raising a family- de-cluttered!!! If you have ever cleaned out a dresser..or a closet..or maybe even a garage- let me just say this- There is nothing that can compare to de-cluttering 45 years of life and raising a family, especially if you have done it primarily in one place!!!
So here are 5 Tips that have proven successful with clients..and with my own parents:
1. Set Reasonable goals— No need to declare you are clearing the house of everything, well unless you are literally just backing up a dumpster and throwing it all out!! As most of us will NOT be doing that..try to set a goal to clear out one room at a time, if that makes sense to you..or one area of one room.
2. Set 3 clear piles of items— As you sort, sort, reminisce, sort and sort some more there will be three types of items.
They are A). Items to SELL/DONATE B). ITEMS to TOSS OUT NOW C). ITEMS to keep. Having a place and a plan for each grouping is important from the start.
3. Children’s Rooms— If you have grown children who have not only moved out, but have families of their own- yet their rooms are still looking like they did when they lived there- the time is NOW! Ask the kids if they want items from the room- give them what they want and Sort as noted in STEP 2 above!!
4. Closets- Closets-Closets— Oh my , really, floral pants..circa 1963….Time to let them go!!! (for the sake of the grandchildren- they do not need to know you really wore those…to THANKSGIVING DINNER!!) Honestly, go through your closet with an honest eye…AND no fair doing your spouse’s closet BEFORE your own…it is always easier to clear out someone else’s items..so start with your own…perhaps your determination and discipline will motivate your spouse to dive into the closet project on their own!
5. Personal papers and photographs— TIME CONSUMING!!! Be realistic with the goal of going through these items- it will take a while, and it may evoke memories- both good and bad- smiles, laughter and tears. Just take your time, but do it..As many of your photos will be of the KODAK variety- you will need to have a system in place to organize and place them, if in fact your intention is to hold onto the photos. Another thought is to consider putting them together for Gifts to the children- or grandchildren…some of your grandchildren, honestly, have neer seen anything BUT a digital photo!! Share the love, share the mystery of a KODAK PICTURE!!!! And again with the paperwork- have 2 piles..Keep and Toss- and may I suggest a SHREDDER next to the chair- allowing you to simply shred as you go…This can be done while kicking back watching a movie or your favorite sitcom.
Now if you noted I said 5 tips to BEGIN the process..there is much more to do..so set a timeframe for downsizing and BEGIN the process. Next week I will give you 5, yes 5, more tips..for the really hard stuff!!!
Go on now, get to work….