Sorting Through

Written by

The New York Times had an article recently about staging a co-op (like a condo) for sale. This particular unit was crammed full of antiques, expensive collections and goo ga’s and in order to get the best sales price, the owners had to massively declutter, pack up stuff and move things out of the home. Buyers want to see pared down interiors that are simply staged in light colors.  I agree with the article, as the more crap you have inside, no matter how valuable, the least likely it will be that a buyer is going to be able to see through it and envision themselves in your home.

My friend Linda Hilton is an expert at helping hoarders and assisting folks in downsizing and is a professional organizer. As a borderline hoarder myself and working to improve my ways I was eager to fill a seat at a recent lecture and take notes home and put her words into actions. The first rule was something I’ve been trying to do in the past year: if you buy something/bring something home, you play the trading game with yourself. If I buy a pair of pants, I give a pair to a charity. Nowadays, I always have a bag in the garage that I’m slowly filling with donations and when it’s full to the brim, it’s donated. Another rule was if you think you haven’t used items in a while, put them in a box and date the box for a year in advance. This could be dishes, clothes, tchotchkes-whatever. If, in a year you haven’t opened the box, then donate it.

I had a client a few years back who was addicted to shopping. She had a huge beautiful home at the base of the Cottonwoods with an unfinished basement. When I walked the home tour with her, I was shocked to see that the lower floor was full, literally packed to the gills with clothing racks-like the kind you see in movies being rolled down the street on a back lot. Not one piece had ever been worn, and every item still had a price tag on it. She didn’t take items back to stores, she just collected clothes as a security blanket of sorts. In order to sell her home, I had to connect her with Linda who subsequently spent 100+ hours helping her pack up and donate those possessions. This work can be super emotional for the client and takes massive patience and understanding from Linda.

She shared another idea about clothes I liked: When you wash a shirt or pair of pants, hang them back up in your closet inside out.  If, at the end of a year you still have inside out things hanging on your clothes rack, donate them.  To help people downsize, Linda is offering a free ‘One thing a day purge lesson for 30 days’ starting in January.  It’s easy…Day one, get a box.  Check out her site: www.sortingthrough.com .  And then recycle this paper!