I know it's not exactly sexy, riveting, or on-the-edge-of-your-seat news, but earlier this week, Jill, Kate, and I attacked the storage room at my house and organized the extra lightbulbs, switch plates, wallpaper, doormats, and light fixtures into neat categories, and then returned everything to their proper places on the shelves. Even with fairly substantial storage space, there's a fair amount of overflow that gradually happens as the Spring Market progresses. In other words, we tend to collect too much sh%^!
How we manage to accumulate so much "stuff" isn't exactly a mystery to me, but nonetheless, there's only so much chaos I can personally handle before I'm forced to purge, donate, and sort what's never going to find a home from those things that eventually will. (That's where Jill and Kate come in; thank you).
Never mind that we have excellent stagers who do amazing work, there's always a garden bench, a potted plant, or a rug that is likely going to supplement the staging. (It's a Realtor's prerogative to "tweak.") But once the property is under contract, we quickly retrieve our personal items and either take them to the next Open House, or put them back into storage. Do this on enough homes, and suddenly, you've collected multiples of what you need and use. (We've got a half dozen welcome mats, at least.)
Thankfully, Waste Management allows for two "Bulky Waste" pick-ups per year, and I'm about to use my first. Among the items in my pile are broken garden posts, old paint cans, unused appliance parts, long-retired camping equipment, broken-down boxes, and miscellaneous junk. This weekend, Cliff and I will organize the garage and by next week, I'll have a clear runway once again.
However, when the clean-up is much larger than a few hours of elbow grease will solve, Jill gets on the phone with Remoov and lets them do the heavy lifting. For a reasonable fee, this company arrives and clears out everything in the space of one or two days. (I'm talking whole households.) They expediently sort through the bulk and determine what can be donated, what can be sold, what can be recycled, and unfortunately, what needs to go to the landfill.
Perhaps, it's why I'm a fan of the flea market. It allows me the opportunity to repurpose cast-off treasures, which come to think of it, is what we're often doing with homes that have been too long ignored. In short, we're upcycling properties so the next great adventure can begin . . . and it usually begins with a good purge.
BTW - if you don't have it in you to tackle the years of accumulated "stuff," hire a professional organizer to quickly move you through the piles. It'll be worth every dime you spend. What's more, creating empty space allows for other good things to move in and fill the void.
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.