Guest Post: Tips for Cleaning Out A Parent’s Home
We are pleased to present the following guest post written by expert professional organizer Matt Baier. Clearing out a parent’s home can be a very emotional and stressful experience, but with these helpful tips from Matt, much of that stress can be avoided.
Do the math.
Ask for a floor plan from your new home. If one is not available, take some basic measurements and draw a simple plan. You can go nuts with a floor plan. Don’t. Get some graph paper and convert the floor size from one foot to one quarter inch. Just measure the bigger piece of furniture, cut them out and see what fits in your new space. Understanding your rooms’ size limitations will help you answer questions like these. With a smaller kitchen and no dining room, can I fit both the kitchen table and the dining table? What items do I need to reassign so I can fit the home office and guest room into one room? With 60% less storage space, isn’t it time I asked the kids to come get their old stuff?
Get a good quality mover.
A true professional will tell you things you may not want to hear (like your plants won’t make the trip) but in the end, those things will save you time and stress. It’s important to get clear up front on what the movers will do and what they won’t do. e.g. Let the pros pack the glassware!
Friends and relatives may want to help out, but make sure they are clear on your process and that you provide clearly defined tasks from the beginning. Fights help no one.
Establish processing zones.
You and your helpers will be handling thousands of items in a short amount of time. Establishing clear zones that everybody understands is essential to prevent mistakes from happening. A large empty room is best for a review zone. You may want to dedicate a room for giveaways to friends and family and a room for items to sell.
A room (or rooms) entirely dedicated to items that have been reviewed and are going to move making moving day much smoother.
Start with the garage.
The stuff in living room or kitchen may seem more urgent, but it always makes sense to start with the more external storage. It could be the basement, but if you have a garage, start there. There tend to be a lot of quick wins in the garage, that is, larger, more forgotten items that will free up more space faster. Moving quickly feels better and starts a momentum. Once you have established space in the garage then you can establish exit zones– toss, donate, sell, give-to– so that you can more efficiently start draining items from the more urgent areas of the house. To make the piles of toss and donate go away, there’s nobody better than The Junkluggers.
Momentum trumps perfection.
It’s all too easy to get stuck in the editing process. If you’re having doubts about an item, keep it for now and keep going. Nothing brings momentum to a screeching halt faster than regrets. Let the quantity you see in the sorting zones help drive your decisions.