I just returned from spending the weekend with my parents who had just moved out of the home that they had lived in for 37 years. To complicate matters, they were moving in to my deceased grandmother's home. This resulted in the need to combine two full households worth of "stuff."
This is a hard scenario for anyone, but there are a couple of things to ask yourself as you go through the moving process--this type, or any other.
Do you have this item because you CHOOSE to have it, or because you have always had it?
- Would you buy this item?
- Does it have some special sentimental meaning (keeping in mind that there are plenty of things that we inherit because other people didn't want them)?
- Could someone else benefit from this item if you are planning to store it?
- Does this item suit the type of lifestyle you envision? If you see yourself in a sleek, contemporary waterfront, you might want to consider some of the collections you have...they may not suit the style. On the other hand, if they mean a lot to you and they still don't suit the style of your new home, could you see dedicating one room to this "errant" decorating style?
- Before you put things in storage (AND THIS IS A BIG ONE), do you ever see yourself retrieving them? If not, what is the best way to deal with this? Donations? Yard Sales? Craig's List? Free Cycle? Storage rental fees for the rest of your life?
- Do you want someone else to make decisions about your stuff? If you do not, go through it while you can be objective...once it is in the house, you will go back to not noticing it again.
- If you plan to leave a certain item to someone, do you want to go ahead and do it? Are you sure they want the item in question?
Remember, as you sort through your belongings, only to donate things that are clean and operational. Other people do not want your trash.
Don't hesitate to call someone in to help. I was able to help my mom re-think ways of setting up rooms that she would not have considered. We were able to talk through some of the items they gave away and recognize that they really had no use for them--or particular attachment to them!
One final note, as you unpack boxes, group "like" items together (vases, pictures/paintings, lamps, etc.). This will be a huge help when you get past unpacking and move in to the decorating phase of moving. You can go "shop" for the right lamp or painting for a room, without looking all over the house.
Finally, remember that a home is a work-in-progress. If you surround yourself with things that you love, in moderation, you will be happy with your new home. If you "manage to fit" everything in, you may end up feeling like you are living in a junk shop. Ask yourself the tough questions as you pack, and again as you unpack. It will be worth it in the long run!
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