Organizing and packing can really make your move so much easier if, when you decide to stage with love, you also decide to pack with love. You can get very, very organized and prepared to move by simply getting ready in advance. So if you go through your house you may have all sorts of amazing artifacts that you’ve collected throughout your travels, photos, knickknacks, books and such. I am sure they are absolutely gorgeous so you can leave out a dozen pieces and pack the rest so buyers can see that you have amazing bookshelves and lots of space. Buyers will enjoy looking at, sharing and talking about a few thoughtful mementos, but what you really want to do is begin packing most of them to avoid a cluttered look, remove a few precious and valuable items and get a head start on packing. And by the way, yes, it is okay to leave out a few personal photos and mementos. Remember, today, we ‘do-personalize’ as your buyer wants to know a little bit about the family that made this house a home. And, let’s face facts there is no anonymity with Facebook, Google, reality TV, etc. So display a few personal items as it serves to pull at the buyer’s heartstrings and builds a connection between your home and them.
Packing and organizing can be tedious. Good home stagers and professional organizers can help you with this. You don’t have to do it all on your own, but either way, here are a few tips. Go room by room because chances are in your new home you’ll be putting things away room by room. I like to use those big Rubbermaid bins. You can color code them according to rooms. For example, all your bedrooms might be blue bins, your bathrooms are in green and your kitchen in purple. Next, I place a sticky note on the outside that tells me in which room it belongs and then exactly what’s in there, not only an inventory list but a location notation as well and but depending upon whether I am going to unpack the bin or store it, I may also tape a Polaroid photo on the outside. For example, I might have a big Rubbermaid bin and with a sticky note that says ‘living room’ pasted on the outside. The next thing that I would have listed might be ‘bookshelves’ so it tells me the location of the items and third on the list would be an inventory of what’s in that particular bin. Then the fourth thing would tell me what number this is. So if I need four containers, it might say one of four. Now whether I am storing, moving or unpacking I know exactly which room each bin belongs in, where it goes, what is in it and how many I have for that particular room or location. Easy to pack and easy to unpack.
As a side note, if you have packed something expensive, you may decide to also take a second photo for insurance purposes just in case it gets lost or damaged.
All of the labels get taped with packing tape on the side of the container under the handle so once they’re stacked, I can easily see the label. I stack them accordingly in the storage unit or in a garage, depending upon how much there is to store.
Organizing and packing now, makes it so much easier for you when you are ready to move so you can see why it is like packing with love for yourself! Once you’re prepared to leave, this makes selling and moving so much easier.
It might be that you have 1 of 1 or 1 of 20, but go ahead and organize it so that you know. When I took all of the items off of our bookshelves in our living room, it took me four containers so I had 1 of 4 in this particular category.
You can hire APSD® Certified Home Staging Professionals, you can hire organizers from NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers, you can hire a lot of people to help you do this or you can simply decide every single night you’re going to clear out one area. It may not be perfect, but as long as you follow a system you’ll then be able to backtrack and determine if you want to take more out of a room. Because you have a system, if you decide to add more packed items from any room, all you have to do now is simply adjust your box count. Instead of 1 of 4, you might have 1 of 5, because you decided you could clear out more.
Don’t clear out so much that you can’t stage with love. You can use your own items or you can rent items or you can hire someone who also has staging items. So you have three different options in order to stage with love. The important thing is that you understand how to do it. It’s not important as to whether or not you do it or if you hire someone who understands how to do it. What is important is that it is effective and compelling and helps you to sell in the shortest amount of time for the most amount of money.
Now that you understand the system behind organizing and packing how do you actually determine which items to pack and which to leave in the home? Think about whether or not you’ve used them or touched them in the past 60 to 90 days. If the answer is no, then chances are you can pack them. If it comes to clothes, shoes or seasonal accessories, decide what you will use in the next 30-120 days. Keep those items out and pack the rest. If you live in a very remote area or there is something really unusual about your home that may make it more difficult to sell, you may decide to extend this through 180 days. Consult your real estate agent or selling partner regarding the expected days on market for your home.
Finally, I recommend that you try to avoid storing your containers in your garage, unless you have a very large garage. You don’t want it to appear as though your garage is cluttered, too full or smaller than it actually is because it has so many extra items. You or your professional stager or organizer can rent a small storage unit to use while you are waiting on the sale of your home. And because you’ve already been very organized and systematic, it will be easy to arrange the unit according to the things that you anticipate needing first. So, you will pack the unit first with the items you will need the least. Your wedding china, that you’ve had for 21 years, even though you’ve never opened the box, you don’t want to sell it or give it away, those containers can go in the storage unit first, all the way to the back. This will also protect them from falling or damage since they will be snug and protected. Then progressively categorize your belongings so when you need the items, they’re more accessible to you.
If you have listed your home in February and you think you know approximately how long your house may be on the market, go ahead and pack your summer clothes and put them into the storage unit. Depending upon where you live, by April you may want to get to them if the house hasn’t sold. Those items would be packed toward the front, or toward the door of the storage unit so you have easy access without unpacking your entire unit or PODS. This will put your mind at ease, and when the time is right, make your move much easier.
For questions about buying or selling a home in Woodland Park or Colorado Springs, call Karen Schaefer with KSS Real Estate at RE/MAX Properties, Inc., at 719-244-342, www.KSSRealEstate.com, email: Karen@KSSRealEstate.com. Please be sure to ask about a complimentary copy of her Amazon #1 Best Selling Real Estate Book, ‘Love Sells; How to get every buyer to fall in Love with YOUR home!’