Clean, declutter and eliminate

Cleaning and decluttering isn’t just for home sellers, it seems like everyone is doing it. There are a few methods of tidying up. Some folks like to get rid of one item each day.  Others like to reorganize their homes one area at a time.

People also declutter and reorganize by category, starting with clothing. They get rid of what they never wear and reorganize the rest. Then they move onto the kitchen. You get the picture.

There is “Sweedish death cleaning” which is about getting rid of your excess stuff so that no one has to deal with it after you die. (The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. It is about keeping what brings us joy and organizing it. I read the book last year and actually put some of it into practice in my own home. 

There are books and articles about minimalism too. The idea is that less can actually be more. There are many books about minimalism. I have made it my personal goal in life to have less. It isn’t easy either.

Tidying up and decluttering does make a difference. It is easier to relax in a home that is clean and where there isn’t a lot of clutter. Some people prefer to have less furniture too. Apparently, there are health benefits to furniture free living. A lack of furniture can also really open up a living space. 🙂

Whichever method you choose if you decide to declutter will probably work and even though a lot of people take on these tasks in January they can be done most anytime and over a long period of time if needed. I have a friend who started downsizing three years before we put her house on the market.

If it is all too overwhelming there are professionals that will come into your home and show you how to organize, declutter and clean.

This is the time of year when storage containers and bins go on sale. For some putting stuff in storage bins and getting it out of site is how they declutter.

The biggest challenge I have in my home is my home office. I work in it several hours a day and it gets messy.

I feel responsible for my own stuff and try to recycle, donate, gift or sell items that I no longer need. I just hate the idea of sending it to a landfill for future generations to deal with.

We don’t really want to move

Antique Teapot

This is the time of year when I start getting emails and phone calls from the adult children of elderly homeowners. Sometimes they ask for an appointment and I make an appointment to meet with them at their parents home.

It doesn’t take me long to figure out that the elder is just going along with the whole thing because the son or daughter talked them into it. Sometimes they think their parents should move but the parents don’t want to.

Where we live is a personal choice and as adults, even the oldest among us have the right to choose.

We even have the right to make bad choices, or choices that our children don’t fully support.

As adults most of us value freedom. Even moving to a senior apartment or downsizing to a condo causes the loss of some freedom.

You can lead your parents to senior housing but generally, you can not and should not make them move.

I don’t have a problem meeting with people who have no interest in selling their house. I learn something new just about everytime I meet with a potential home seller or buyer and I empathize with the sons and daughters who set up the meetings, they probably learn something new too.

According to a study conducted by AARP, 90% of older adults nationwide want to remain living in their homes for as long as possible and we all know that anything is possible if we are up to the challenge.

A little Swedish death cleaning

I fell strongly about this and have written about it before. I cleaned out my parent’s house when they needed to move and I have helped clients who have inherited property figure out what to do with their deceased loved one’s stuff.

Let’s face it we all have a lot of stuff, too much stuff. If we have adult children they probably don’t want our stuff and some even worry that they will have to deal with it.

In the last few years, I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff because I feel responsible for my own stuff and I don’t want my family to have to deal with it. I started with items being stored in my basement and worked my way up.

It isn’t enough to just get rid of stuff. I have been very careful about what I buy because I want less not more. Having less seems like a constant battle.

For me throwing usable household items and clothing away seems wrong. I have been getting rid of excess stuff by donating it, selling it or giving it to friends and family. I have been able to recycle a few things and I “upcycled” furniture so that it can be re-used.

I have gained a lot of space in my basement, closet, and kitchen cabinets. I have an empty closet and several empty drawers.

Having too much stuff can be an obstacle for those who want to downsize. I always recommend starting the process a year before a move if possible. People tend to make better decisions if they have some time to plan.

A friend of mine who lived in the same house for 30 years took three years to downsize before getting the house ready to sell. I have lived in the same house for 29.5 years. 🙂

If you haven’t heard of Sweedish death cleaning, do a google search. There are several books and articles on the subject.

Fall back, a barbaric custom

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Daylight savings time ends this weekend. We can not really change time, and the rules of earth rotation and daylight never change.

Most of us will adjust to the time change in a few weeks. Turning the clock back is easier on the body than moving it forward. It will be light out again in the early morning hours and dark by the end of the workday as it should be.

Daylight savings time is a crime against nature but it is also a marketing opportunity. Please set your clock one hour ahead before you go to bed on Saturday and call me on Sunday so I can sell your house. 


Holiday Decorations – Less is best

We are just a few weeks away from the holiday season. If your home is on the market or is going to be on the market during the holidays and you like to decorate for the holidays go ahead and decorate.

Keep your decorations simple. If you have collections and villages and multiple trees pack them up and get them ready for the big move.

If you celebrate Christmas there isn’t anything wrong with getting a tree and decorating it. Lights are a good thing during the short days of December.

If your home is small keep the decorations small and if necessary remove other items from the room to make more room for decorations.  Even holiday decorations can look like clutter is there are too many, and they can make a home look small if they are too large.

Also, consider asking to have your home put in a “temporarily not available to show” status for a few days or a week if you want to have a quiet holiday celebration. Your house will still be for sale, it is like putting it on hold and stopping the clock.

HECM or Reverse Mortgage

queen anne house
Got House?

It seems like just about everything that has to do with old people and or the federal government is given a set of initials that eventually becomes a word.

HECM stands for . . get this LOL “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program”. This isn’t a home equity line of credit or loan. The HECM is what used to be called a reverse mortgage.

Yes, a reverse mortgage is just what it sounds like. The homeowner gets a money each month instead of making a payment.

Homeowners can also use the program to open a line of credit that does not have to be repaid.

The amount that can be borrowed depends upon the amount of equity in the home and the age of the youngest borrower.

The money can be used for anything and it can be paid back in full. It might be a good way to finance roof or some other home improvement.

HECM has some strict requirements like you have to be at least 62 and own your home free and clear or have a lot of equity.

There are more details, in-fact a lot more details and they can be found on the HUD website.