Getting ready to put your home on the market can seem a daunting task but there are a few simple stepsDSCN1974 you can take to lessen the stress.

Note: If you have difficulty making decisions on what to keep and what not to keep, you may want to hire a professional home stager or organizer to assist you. They can help walk you through what you do and don’t use and why you may want to get rid of certain items.

First, if it is still in a box in your basement or attic and you haven’t used it since the last move or in over a year, put it in the donation pile. (This rule works for most things that haven’t been used in over a year.)

Next, use the 80/20 rule – we use 20% of what we own about 80% of the time. So begin by taking a look at each room and identifying those items you use all the time. Separate those from the rest of your stuff. Take a really good, honest look at what’s left and identify those things you don’t use. Resist that thought that says, “Well, I might use that.” Pack those up and put them in the donation pile. Finally, box the items that you use only occasionally and that can be placed in storage; clothes, linens, kitchen items (pots, pans, utensils, etc.). Remember to clearly label the boxes with room and item type so when it comes time to unpack you’ll know where they go.

Go through your children’s toys and pack those that they haven’t played with in a while and place them in the donation pile. (You may need to do this while they are in school, as they will often tell you they want to keep it even though they don’t play with it anymore!) If your children are grown and you still have some of their childhood mementos, box the items up, give the box to your children; let them choose which items they would like to keep.

Stay on top of your paperwork. The best thing you can do is to handle it once! Paperwork can become overwhelming if not handled quickly and efficiently. When you open the mail, take care of it. You have 4 choices; toss it, file it, shred it or act on it (and then file it). Don’t set it aside for “later”.

Last, take a look at your furniture. If you have pieces that have meaning think about whether they will fit in your new home or if it will be something you would like to pass along to your children or other family members. If neither scenario fits, add them to the donation pile. There are numerous charity donation organizations that will be happy to come by and pick up your donations.

By going through all these steps prior to placing your home on the market, you will create a much more relaxed and organized feel in your home for both you and your buyers. Also, it will make it much easier to keep your home in “show home condition” for buyer showing

Written by Kevin Fletcher