Actively Raining Thoughts-Room Service Home Staging: 7 Tips to Help You Free Yourself From Your "Things"

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7 Tips to Help You Free Yourself From Your "Things"

7 Tips to Help You Free Yourself From Your “Things”

 

Many of my clients in Palm Beach County  are seniors getting ready to make a lifestyle change, moving closer to or in with their adult children; packed closetmoving into space that better suits their new needs, 0r moving into Assisted Living.

The majority of the time, what I hear from their real estate agent is that they have too much stuff.  And they are, of course, right.  But if you can avoid calling their treasures “stuff” and using the word “declutter,” your suggestions may be received with a listening ear rather than a defensive one.

No one wants to think of what they have as stuff or clutter.  Do you?  Well, you might, but it’s yours to call it that, not someone else.

In this, by the way, I am not talking about true hoarders, who have a psychological disorder.  For them, it is often an issue of not being able to throw something away rather than collecting or saving something.

7 Tips to Help Free Yourself From Your “Stuff”

1.Give yourself permission to get rid of things

You have to let yourself eliminate items that you’re keeping simply because you think you should keep them.  It could be the drawings from your children, or the first gift your young brother gave to you.  (Yes, it took me many years before I could give this gift away.  It just didn’t work anymore.)

2. Give your children and other family members permission to not keep everything.

This is one of the best gifts you could give them.  Yes, they may have items they truly want to keep but give them permission to get rid of items they don’t want to keep.

3.Take photos of items that you’re only keeping because of the memories.

If you’re one of the collectors who has kept every concert ticket and program from your early teens, then why not take photographs of them.  Or if you like looking at them, have them framed in collage.

Packing it away4. Scan your photos so you can view them digitally whenever you want instead of searching through boxes and boxes of old photos

There are photo scanning services online and locally that can scan those photos that you took before everything went digital.  

5. Don’t wait until you’re gone. We all save items that we want to give to our children or other family members or friends.

Do as one of my clients did… she invited her children over and had on display items that she did not want, but that had value, sentimental or monetary.  She had been holding on to them to pass on to her family but now she wanted to make a move and did not want to have to find a house that would fit her things, but rather her new lifestyle.

6.Start with the easy items, such as magazines, books, clothing.  You’ll soon find that you like this new freedom you have and that you can’t wait to tackle those other, harder to edit items.

 

7. For the items that you can’t part with, why keep them boxed up in the attic.  One of my friends had her husband’s cowboy chaps from when he was only about 6 years old framed in a lucite box.

We framed a very special T-shirt.  It’s better than leaving it rolled up in some box!

 

If you’re working with a client who needs to edit their treasures, have some patience.  It’s easy for those of us who have no attachment whatsoever to say “You need to declutter and get rid of this stuff.”

Next time you do, take a minute to think about what you’re saying.  And, think about what you would do if someone came into your home and said something similar.

Instead… try helping them with some of these suggestions.

 

 

 Kathy Streib 

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Comment balloon 63 commentsKathy Streib • August 20 2015 04:35PM

Comments

Hi Kathy.  Giving your self permission sounds good but will they say yes?

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 2 years ago

Good morning, Kathy -- while not easy for everyone, your tips and advice on the topic of "stuff" will come in handy.  Taking baby steps is important.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy Streib ,

Your posts are always filled with such valuable information and tips. I have learned something from you..to drop the word "declutter" and "stuff" from my vocabulary. We do have to chose our words carefully if we want them to resonate with our clients! Love the 7 tips..especially giving yourself permission to get rid of things. Speaking from experience it does work!

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy.  It's all about the words you use.  While I tell my clients about boxing up unnecessary items I don't refer to them as clutter or stuff.  It works for me and I'm sure it will work for other agents.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 2 years ago

I am now in the process of decluttering my own things - once you get started, it's not that difficult.  It's the first few things that are tough.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy! We work a lot with the 55+ group and these tips will help tremendously!

Now, I need to give myself permission and work on some de-cluttering around here!

Posted by Kim Johnson, Selling South Florida (Keller Williams Realty Coral Springs) over 2 years ago

I am so overdue in my plans to get rid of stuff.  But, it will happen soon.  (I hope)

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib ~ hi Kathy, I've moved so much in my life I learned not to hang on to things that I'd need to pack and unpack if I didn't use them. And I quickly learned that if I had unpacked boxes after a year or so, I definitely didn't need those things. It is a freeing feeling to get rid of things you no longer need or have no meaning in your life.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy. This is an excellent post and one that is instructive as well. Great job.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

You're right on the money when it comes to getting rid of "stuff".....something I have never had a problem with BARFF.  I throw out things I need then go out and buy them again!  Just last night a friend told me she buys a new slow cooker every winter.  It is on her counter in use all winter, but she has nowhere to store it, so she gives them away.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy,

As we will be losing about 500 square feet soon these pointers will help get rid of stuff. Thank you.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 2 years ago

Hello Kathy,  You are right on target with these suggestions, that is what makes you so great!

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) over 2 years ago

Another great post full of useful ideas, Kathy! Thanks for sharing this one.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 2 years ago

So true and clutter is such a negative in any home.

Posted by Donald Urschalitz, P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County (One World Realty Inc.) over 2 years ago

Starting somewhere with the easy items is a good start, we all keep around those items that start off in small piles.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 2 years ago

This is so important, for everyone, not just for people who are selling their home. Making these changes will reduce stress and make for a better quality of life!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 2 years ago

Great information...thanks for sharing it and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 2 years ago

Kathy, this is an awesome list for all of us to get our lives in order. It really makes a difference!

Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 2 years ago

Love the list.  And I really do need to scan hundreds and hundreds more photos.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 2 years ago

I love your first point Kathy.  Permission to divest is critical.  And honestly, do we really look at all of our old photos? You are so good!

Posted by Joanna Cohlan, Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes (Fresh Eyes For Your Home) over 2 years ago

I have had the "pleasure" of dispersing the homes of 4 relatives.  One of them was a hoarder.  This is not a pleasant task. Please make it easier on those left behind and cull out the stuff you no longer want and need.  It's a freeing experience.

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) over 2 years ago

I think you just coined a new phrase I'm going to use from now on; "edit your treasures". It sounds so much more eloquent than "get rid of all your useless crap". 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) over 2 years ago

Getting over that first hurdle to eliminate that precious clutter is so difficult.  i so wish my wife would give herself permission, as I know I have been doing it for a long time.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 2 years ago

I AM "STUFF FREE".

I have accomplished the goal of "stuff free".

It's liberating.  Of course, everyone believes that I've taken leave of my senses OR am on my way out of the earthly bounds.

I just got rid of the "stuff".

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib OMG, I've got a psychological disorder? Just because I want my stuff? When I'm dead and gone somebody else can throw it all away, but not me. I simply need a barn to store everything. Or maybe two barns. I have no limits.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Kathy,

I love the post.  When we were in our storage on Wednesday, one the box was labeled by me "really ugly terrine".  It was a valuable?piece of china, his mother insisted I have...I really did not want it, not did his sister...LOL A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding and Marketing (Napa Consultants) over 2 years ago

Oh my, this reflects my life right now. We are going through boxes and making tough decisions. It's easier for me to purge - not so much for my husband. :) 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 2 years ago

This is great advice. We need to get rid a lots of stuff at our house.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib,  I love this list, it is very practical for those of us who are or who live with pack rats!

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 2 years ago

Conrad- you just never know, all you can do is try. 

Michael- once you start editing what you have, you realize that you feel free and you want to see how much more you can donate or trash. Michael Jacobs 

Dorie- I remember that you eliminated the word the first time I wrote a post about it!  Good for you and THAT is why you are the professional to turn to in NW Austin!!! Dorie Dillard 

James- good for you.  Just having a little compassion helps. James Dray 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Kat- oh yes, I've been there.  But it's like a snowball when you start! Kat Palmiotti 

Kim- hope this helps with your clients!!! Kim Johnson 

Gabe- it will, trust me, the urge to do so will kick in! Gabe Sanders 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Nina- I agree. There was a box I just found in the garage that I went through.  Everything in it is now gone! Nina Hollander 

Sheila- thank you!  And if you do any of this, you'll have more room for your antique shop!!!!! Sheila Anderson 

BARFF- seriously?!  I just couldn't do that, but hey if it works for her.  Larry bought our bread maker for $6.00 at Goodwill when he was looking for old record albums.  It may have been used once but he figured if it didn't work or we didn't use it, for $6, it didn't matter. Roger D. Mucci 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Hi Kathy - Great advice, and like most people, this is an issue I'm just not going to deal with until circumstances either force me to or dump it in someone else's lap. I'm a bad person :(

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 2 years ago

Raymond- just in time for you!  Have fun!! Raymond E. Camp 

Will- careful, my head will swell!!!   Have a great weekend. Will Hamm 

Barbara Jo- Thank you.  Keeping an eye on the hurricane... may have some good surfing weather and hopefully that's all. Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional 

Donald- it really does take up space in our minds as well. 

Eileen- And, every kitchen has a junk drawer, I'd bet!   We're just human! I actually love straightening our drawers. Eileen Hsu 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Sharon- I know you and there is not an ounce of excessive anything in your home!!!! Sharon Tara   We're all jealous.

Kristin- thank you.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647 

Jeffrey- thank you!  Hope it is helpful! Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 www.SpaceCoastHomesNow.com 

Tammy- I hear you!  I'm just getting started doing some every weekend. What a chore but it's good to have it done. Tammy Lankford 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Joanna- thank you.  And, you are so right.... do we have to keep every single photo we've ever taken! Joanna Cohlan 

Jeanne- it's a tough job, isn't it.  How can we possibly need so much?! Jeanne Gregory 

Nicole- use it in good health.  I truly don't like the use of the "d" word.  We can do better than that! Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert 

Ed- that's a tough one, I know (just ask my husband!)  Let her make it her idea!!!    Ed Silva 

Lenn- And, I'd bet you're wondering why you didn't do it earlier! Lenn Harley 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Bill- have you ever seen American Pickers???   You'd love it!  Bill Roberts 

Alexandra- oh yes, we have 2 antique lamps that neither one of us wants and I plan on taking them to Larry's daughter the next time we see here!!!  Ron and Alexandra Seigel 

Debb- I'm laughing because we have friends like that.  It is the husband who doesn't throw anything away. Debb Janes 

Roy - don't do it today!!!  It's your BIRTHDAY!!!!   Roy Kelley 

Sybil- it's tough but you have to start somewhere.  Have a great weekend.  Sybil Campbell 

 

 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Dick- no you're not.   You just like your things!  Dick Greenberg 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Kathy,

Any chance they want my terrine? LOL A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding and Marketing (Napa Consultants) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib Sure, I've seen it. Isn't it amazing that when they find somebody with a lot of stuff, they don't want to sell it at any price? I get it.

Bill Roberts

P.S. Maybe I gotta make it three barns.

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Kathy... and after all this time, I bet it wasn't all that hard to toss the stuff in a box you'd forgotten about!

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) over 2 years ago

These treasures are chock full of memories and as we get older, those memories mean so much!  It is difficult to get rid of them.  I like your idea of a digital catalogue.  

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) over 2 years ago

You don't know me as well you think...

I have plenty of extra stuff. I have two high chairs, a pack 'n play, and lots of "sentimental" keepsakes in the basement. We are past the need for the baby stuff, but I'm not ready to let it go yet.  LOL

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 2 years ago

I am doing all of this for MYSELF right this very minute! Going from 6214 sq. ft to a mere 1500--yikes, it's like moving into a tiny house. Just this morning, I went through a cabinet that has housed some lovely items and I have donated them to the Vernonia Annual Garage Sale this weekend. It felt so good!  Helen, the principal broker here has done this ALL citywide for 17 years. This is the last hurrah. 

The other thing that you made me thing of is this: why not take photos of each box that I will be storing (and labeling) to put into a shop that we are building to house the furniture and art,etc. that will eventually be used in the log home that we will either build or buy. LATER, that is. But, it will give me a history of what's IN those boxes so that if I want to pull something out to change my decor or whatnot in the current home, I will know where to go! And whenever I have moved, I put a sharpie on a string around my neck so that it's right there for me to mark boxes with and I don't lose it or have to go hunting for it (when you are already in disarray from moving, it's easy to put this down and lose it).

*FEATURE* *FEATURE* 

 

                                                  FEATURE! 

Where is that magic button? 

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 2 years ago

Great tips and it is all in how it is presented.  Most Sellers are more than willing to declutter.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) over 2 years ago

This is great advice.  It's hard to let go of things and I've got stuff that I simply feel guilty getting rid of.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Northern VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 2 years ago

Number 1 is key Kathy. It is so hard to get people in the right frame of mine to let go. Excellent blog.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Alexandra- not unless you want to trade it for the antique lamp!!!  Ron and Alexandra Seigel 

Bill- it's one of my favorite shows and you can learn so much about our history! Larry's sister and husband have a huge barn, old hot rods, a gasoline pump and lots of antiques.  You'd like it! Bill Roberts 

Nina- not in the least!  It was refreshing!!! Nina Hollander 

Belinda- I've been digitizing so much of what we have.  I also framed a special t-shirt that Larry had as well.   Belinda Spillman 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Sharon- I can't believe that!  You have burst my bubble!!!  Sharon Tara 

Gayle- Thank you.  Yes, make good use of our digitized world we live in.  Don't laugh but I once took polaroids (that's how long ago it was) of the shoes that were in my clear shoe boxes.  It made it a lot easier to see what I had.  Make sure you have photos of how you decorated your house for the holidays.  It will remind you of what you have boxed up. Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905   PS... I went from a 5 bedroom 6500 sq ft house to a 3 bedroom 2500 sq ft house, so I'm here for you!!!!!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Brian- exactly- It's all in how it's presented. 

Chris Ann- so do I, but give yourself permission!  Chris Ann Cleland 

Noah- thank you.  You know I think that as Chris Ann (above) said, we fell guilty if we do. Noah Seidenberg 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Kathy

Your post is a road map to de-clutter a home . . . . and to get it sold.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib 

 

Really great post and timely for me. I need to start getting rid of some things. 

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) over 2 years ago

Good morning Kathy. That is really sage advice, especially for folks that are considering moving. I like to think we practice many of the items on your list on a regular basis.

Make it a great weekend!

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 2 years ago

Kathy-I think this post needs to be featured. I am downsizing for a number of reasons right now and one of them being down the road I will have to move from here when Mom passes.  I am starting with my stuff  and it is freeing and I won't need it when I get a motorhome down the road. I especially like 3,4 and 7 and will be doing that myself. Appreciate the tips. 

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 2 years ago

love ya, Kathy--glad you're there for me! Joanna Cohlan is coming out in mid-October and may have some great design ideas for us! (Plus, we're just going to have FUN)>

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 2 years ago

Kathy - in the case of those children it might require more than giving them permission not to keep but initiating it.  Like many parents we tend to be the storage shed.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) over 2 years ago

I totally agree with #3. Thanks for sharing this great bolg post! Have a great weekend!

Posted by Debra Peters, NY Real Estate Salesperson (Referral Realty) over 2 years ago

Letting go is hard to do, Oh yeah! Letting go is hard to do.

You offer great advice Kathy.

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) over 2 years ago

Kathy

Your post is . . . . a super duper post . . . . and a gold star post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 2 years ago

Some good tips on how to declutter.

You listed books in the suggestion about starting with easy items. Not for me, I'll lock myself in a room with all my books if anyone ever attempts to declutter them!

Posted by Jason Potrzeba, Private Money & Commercial Mortgage Broker - MA/RI (Acadia Advisory Group) over 2 years ago

I stuggle with this, but am getting better and it helps keep the house looking neat which is something I love more then stuff!

Posted by Stefan Winter, Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech (Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger) over 2 years ago

I believe all of my stuff is headed (along with me) to the Pharoh's crypt to be used in my afterlife.  Ultimately, it should make for a good archeological dig.  

Posted by Margaret Kapranos, Matching Marin Sellers to Buyers! 415-608-5070 (Zephyr Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Kathy Streib I was speaking to a caller and did not want to use the word 'hoarder' so I called it 'eclectic clutter'.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 2 years ago

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