Posts Tagged ‘downsizing’

Getting Rid of Stuff

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Getting Rid of Stuff |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, you’ve de-cluttered your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area.  You’ve thrown out the real trash, and the things you’re keeping are neatly stored away in an appropriate place.  But what do you do with the stuff that’s left, the items that are too good to just throw away but no longer needed or wanted in your home?  Here are a few suggestions beyond giving things to friends and family members, or holding a garage sale:

 Recycle:

Donate:

If you have anything in good condition (clean, undamaged, meeting current safety standards, etc.), chances are there’s a person or an organization that will accept it.  Be sure to educate yourself about an organization’s guidelines for accepting gifts, however, since not all items will be welcomed by everybody.  Google “donate goods in Edmonton”,  and a very long list of charity websites comes up.  Here are just a few possibilities for passing on your unneeded items to someone who can use them:

Sell:

You can still pay for advertising in the local paper, or put up notices around town about things you have to sell or give away, but there are easier and cheaper ways!

  • Kijiji  Edmonton will advertise for free almost any item that people want to sell, give away or trade.
  • Craigslist Edmonton will do likewise.
  • EBay

What Other People Have to Say About the Subject:

Moving and Packing – Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff Before You Move

Where to Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff – The Good Human

Questions or comments about this article or anything else to do with homes and real estate?  Contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn my business, as I travel around Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County and the Edmonton area, I see a lot of homes.  Very few of those homes, if they are currently being lived in, resemble “show homes”.  That’s because, let’s face it, living is messy.  Evidence of everyday life is everywhere, from wet towels flung over the shower in the master ensuite to children’s artwork clipped to the fridge with magnets given away by local businesses to untidy piles of unread mail atop the dining room table to empty bottles waiting to be taken to the recycle centre, along with the smells of this morning’s breakfast bacon and a cat litter box overdue for cleaning….  You get the picture!

***Given the competitiveness of today’s real estate market, it’s not enough to hang the towels neatly on a towel rack and spray the air with room deodorizer.  The fact that professional home stagers even exist suggests that having your home sell quickly and for a good price requires much more these days.***

Homebuying.about.com has this to say about Home Staging:

“Home staging is about illusions. It’s how David Copperfield would sell a house. It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it.

 “Contrary to what you might think, it’s about more than preparing the house for sale. Staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it’s all about dressing the house for sale.

 “It’s about adding the small details: the lipstick, mascara and, for simplicity, a stunning, single strand of Tahitian pearls.”

So, how do we get from the lived-in look I described in my first paragraph to the artistry of a staged home? 

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLet’s start with de-cluttering.  If the very word makes you shudder, you are not alone!  But we all know it’s a worthy activity for many reasons, even more so if the home we’re living in is about to be put on the market.

In a perfect world, de-cluttering is something we do as part of our regular routine, along with sanitizing the bathrooms and vacuuming the carpets.  For example, mail gets opened over the shredder and the trash can, with just the essentials kept for future needs (stored somewhere handy and inconspicuous).  Daily newspaper goes into the recycle bin after being read.  And so on.  But clutter has an insidious way of building up to overwhelming proportions.  Yesterday’s perfectly acceptable possessions – take VHS videotapes, for example – are, all of a sudden, today’s clutter, no longer needed, wanted or useful.  How did that happen?!

And, more to the point, what do we do about it?  Where to start?   It may help to read books and magazine articles on de-cluttering and getting organized, or to visit some of the thousands of websites that tell you why and how to do it (see a few below), or even to hire a professional organizer, but at its simplest and yet most difficult, de-cluttering is about making hard decisions.  It’s about focusing on the life lived in the space, rather than the stuff in the space.  

We are the only ones who can decide what items are trash (throw them away!), what things we no longer need or want but still have value (sell them or give them away!), and which few items we really love and need and use on a regular basis (keep them!).

Ideally, we end up with just the things that contribute to the life we want to live in small enough numbers that our home appears tidy and spacious, yet still reflects the life of the occupants.  Then, maybe, our home is ready to be staged for selling.

De-cluttering Websites:

15 Great Decluttering Tips

100 Reasons to Get Rid Of It (from Martha Stewart)

Declutter, declutter, declutter!

Declutter Forever: Home Organize It!

Decluttering for Home and Head

Fly.lady.net:  How to Declutter [this is an excellent website for all kinds of home management tasks]

Green Interior Decluttering Process

Living Gently Quarterly: Spring Decluttering

Pitch, pile or file?

The Super Easy Approach to Decluttering Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Home When Downsizing

Why Declutter? 

Ready to put your newly de-cluttered home on the market?  Contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Is It Time to Downsize?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

If you are one of those rare people who travels light through life, this article may not be for you.  But if you are like most people, and you’ve been in your home for a while, the thought of downsizing has probably crossed your mind, especially if your family and life circumstances have changed since you first moved into your home, whether in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere.

 There are many good reasons to downsize:

  • saving money on home upkeep, insurance, taxes and utilities
  • unloading some of the “stuff” most of us can’t help accumulating on our life’s journey but which we find we no longer need
  • lessening our impact on the environment
  • simplifying our daily routines to save time for more interesting and enriching activities
  • preparing for a time when someone else may have to look after our affairs and possessions

Is It Time to Downsize? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBefore you can downsize your home to a smaller place, you will probably need to downsize inside your home first, getting rid of many everyday objects found there.  This can be extraordinarily difficult.  The truth is that downsizing and de-cluttering often come with a huge pile of emotional baggage.  Making the decision to part with property and possessions you’ve used and loved for a long time, each item attached to memories, can be a wrenching experience.  Sometimes the sheer volume of physical and emotional “stuff” can be so overwhelming that it’s hard to even begin.

Most experts will tell you to start with a small space, like a closet or even a small room.  They suggest you remove everything from the area and sort items into several piles, with the ultimate goal being to throw away the trash, give away or sell things you no longer need or want but which still have some value, and keep only those items you really love and use.  Sounds sensible and simple enough, right?  Most of these experts will also provide you with all kinds of motivational prods to force you to get past your objections (“My grandmother made that old quilt!”  “I might have a use for that tool some day!”), along with questionnaires to help you decide what kind of hoarder you are and which pile something belongs in.

The fact is that none of this advice is going to be worth much until you are sure that you need or want to downsize in the first place.

A thought-provoking article published in the Montreal Gazette (“Boomers upsizing their downsizing plans”) suggests that maybe we shouldn’t be too hasty in automatically assuming that downsizing is for everybody.  Baby boomers once again are doing things a little differently from previous generations.  Some people when they reach a certain age are discovering that it actually makes sense to move into a bigger home, albeit one with a floor plan more geared to their current and future physical needs (for example, a bungalow with an open floor plan rather than a multi-level home), while others decide to keep the family home but renovate it to accommodate changing situations.  There are a number of reasons for this interesting trend:

  • Family dynamics have changed. Children are taking longer to leave the nest, or are returning to the family home after relationship break-ups and the like. There are also many people in late middle age who find themselves raising their grandchildren.
  • Work lives have changed. Some people realize they don’t want to retire in the way previous generations did. Instead they decide to modify their work so that more is done from home. This creates the need for a home work space.
  • Many older adults have the money to continue to enjoy the quality of life that comes from living in a larger private space. This might include making room in the home for hobbies, exercise, more entertaining, etc.
  • Keeping a house rather than moving to a condo or some other kind of communal living space may make good economic sense as equity in homes continues to rise.

So … to downsize or not?  Maybe our reluctance to part with possessions has less to do with procrastination and more to do with the need to make practical, realistic life choices.

If you’ve made the decision to downsize and you are interested in looking at smaller properties in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area, please contact me here, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or phone 780-910-9669. 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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