Everything Must Go! How to de-clutter your home for good

There are many benefits to de-cluttering your home. You create more space because you’re ridding yourself of extra stuff. You can make other people happy by donating unwanted clothes, shoes and books. You can help the planet by recycling furniture, boxes, plastic containers, piles of paper and a whole lot of other stuff. Probably the best thing about de-cluttering your home is you can make a little money on the side selling the stuff no one close to you wants or stuff that you think still holds value for some people willing to pay for it.

But the actual art of de-cluttering is hard, especially if you’ve been building your war chest of stuff and keeping it for years. Back in Montreal, I’ll admit I was a bit of a hoarder. I used to keep all the books I read in my small library; I kept all my beat up toys, hoping they’d be vintage one day. I still kept my old phones, computers and tablets, even their boxes and manuals! My clothes numbered in the hundreds; my shoes more than a dozen. My solution was to keep everything in storage because I didn’t want to sift through all of it.

Say NO to Storage

Now, before you call in Montreal movers to haul all your gear into storage, consider the fact that the whole lot of it is just going to sit there, unused, for a long, long time. By the time you see your rented storage space on reality TV, your old stuff would probably be worthless. Don’t make the same mistake I did. It’s time to de-clutter your home, and this time, for good. Forget storage! Get rid of the stuff you don’t need, simplify and make your life as uncomplicated as possible.

The Four Box Method

When I moved to Toronto, I used this method to de-clutter. Get four boxes and label them recycle, donate, keep and sell. The recycle box is for the items you want to discard. These go straight to the dump or to the recycling plants to be re-purposed for something else.

The donate box is for the stuff that still has a little bit of value, like a sweater you used six times, or a used pair of perfectly serviceable steel toed shoes. Redundant gifts and old toys also go into this box. Underwear is optional.

The keep box is pretty obvious, but before stuffing it silly with all your stuff, ask yourself if that particular item brings you joy and happiness. If you’re still excited to be holding it in your hands, chances are you still need it and will use it. But if you have no emotional attachment to it whatsoever, it’s time to let it go.

The sell box also doubles as your maybe box, but only for a time. Place items here you want to sell, or if you’re undecided if you should discard or keep an item, keep It here for the time being. Actively seek buyers or post in online! Don’t be lazy and just store it. Shop it around and look for buyers. When a buyer comes along with cold hard cash, you’ll forget you ever needed the item in the first place.

Be Ruthless

You have to be ruthless when it comes to getting rid of your old stuff. It doesn’t matter how attached you are to the inanimate objects in your life. It doesn’t matter if you hurt their feelings ala Toy Story. If they have to go, if they serve no other purpose except take up space and contribute to upkeep, then it’s time to go. Always remember that emotional attachment to an object is kind of silly when you think about it.

Yes, I’ll admit some things in life aren’t meant to be discarded, like a family heirloom, or a Patek you got from dad. These are keepers, just like so many others in your life. But the old college shirts, the old plates, old toys, old chair, 80’s magazines, extra hammers, I mean, would you be using them anytime soon? If not, bid them farewell, and in the box they go.

Don’t Look Back

Don’t give in to the temptation of looking back inside the boxes to see if you made a mistake. You got four chances already to decide what you want to do with an item. You really don’t need a fifth. Looking back will only stall your progress and hinder you efforts to de-clutter. Place the items in the box and forget about it.

Going, Gone

I hope these few tips can help you de-clutter your homes to make more space and help you start your journey into living a simple, uncomplicated life. Personally, I’m looking forward to the day I can really drop most everything and live in an all minimalist home, with all my books in my Kindle and everything else in the cloud.





10 Ways to Sell Your House for More Money

Have you recently thought about selling your house, but were afraid that it would not earn much more than you currently owe on the mortgage? Many people have this fear, but with just a few fixes, almost any house will be able to fetch far more than what is still owed to the bank. What if you knew that a few touch-ups could earn you $20,000 on your home? What if you could earn $40,000? It would be worth it wouldn’t it? Implement these ten tips and you might be able to do just that.

1. Tear Down the Wallpaper

If you live in an older home and have a few rooms that are still wallpapered, please, tear it down already! It most likely doesn’t look appealing and your prospective buyers most definitely don’t want to have to mess with it. By taking it down yourself and painting the wall a neutral color, you will most likely add thousands of dollars to your final selling price.

2. Update the Kitchen

The kitchen is always a very important room when it comes to selling a house. If you have old appliances and ancient cabinetry, you might want to get an upgrade before putting that “For Sale” sign in your front yard.

I know what you’re thinking, “This is going to be expensive,” but it doesn’t have to be. You can find some very nice appliances at scratch and dent stores, and your cabinets can be upgraded with just a little bit of paint. If you aren’t confident that you can handle this upgrade yourself, there are installation services like those you can find at http://www.rona.ca/en/install-services that can handle many of your kitchen upgrades for you.

3. Keep the Yard Neat and Clean

As they say, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” and that first impression will happen when the prospective buyers roll up in your front driveway. If your kids have toys all over the yard and the bushes are out of control, there is a chance that they never get out of their car. Keep your front yard and front entrance incredibly appealing as it could be an immediate deal breaker.

4. Install Brighter Lights

This tip is incredibly simple and cheap, but it can make all the difference! A brighter house makes it look more appealing and will also make it look larger! Replace your existing bulbs with some higher wattage and you might get that higher offer you have been looking for.

5. Stage the Rooms

Nothing discourages a buyer more than if they don’t understand what a room is used for. If it is your formal dining area, be sure to have a formal dining table there (even if you have never used it before in your life). If there is an area that can suit an office space, rent a desk and office chair and stage that room as an office. If you make an area obvious, the buyer will stop thinking about what the space is used for and will use that saved brainpower to conjure up an offer!

6. Take Down the Family Photos and Rent Some Art

You want your buyers to see themselves in your house, not you. As cute as your kids may be, take down those family photos and replace them with some generic, wholesome art. Not only will this change allow your buyers to picture themselves in your house, but it will make your space appear more sophisticated.

7. Always Be Ready to Show

Keep your house clean at all times, because you never know when a buyer will be ready to walk through your house. And, you never know which looker will actually become your buyer. This step is often the most difficult and will take much effort, but it is utterly important.

8. Use an Experienced Realtor

There are so many sellers out there that think they will save themselves money by selling their homes themselves. It just doesn’t work. When a buyer sees a “For Sale By Owner” sign, they immediately think “This house should be cheap because they are saving themselves the realtor costs”. Also, by listing a home without an agent, you are discouraging buyers agents from showing your home to their clients (because they most likely will receive no payment from you in the event of a sale). Do yourself a favor and find an experienced realtor. They will be able to sell your home for top dollar and in a shorter timeframe.

9. Have an Inspection Before the Listing

There’s nothing that can kill a sale faster than a bad inspection. To avoid all of the back-and-forth hassle deep into the negotiations, get an inspection yourself before you even put the for sale sign in the front yard. This way you know there won’t be any surprises in the event that your buyers purchase an inspection and you will ultimately earn more money with the sale.

10. Be Sure the Fragrance is Inviting

As part of the first impression, when the prospective buyers walk into your home you want the smell to be inviting, not obtrusive. Buy some air fresheners or bake a few dozen cookies. Create an aroma that adds to the overall nature of your home.

Are you ready to sell your house for more money?