Cathy Toomey
Stone Ridge Properties | 978-609-3970 |

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 3/6/2018

How many times have you heard yourself say (or think) something very similar to this: "One of these days, I'm going to organize my closet(s)"? If not your closets, then it's your basement, attic, or garage that needs decluttering, organizing, and/or cleaning.

Question: Are you one of those homeowners (or apartment dwellers) who keeps saving things you don't need, and then finally gets around to sifting through it all when mountains of clutter have taken over your valuable storage space? If that sounds all-too-familiar, then don't worry; you're not alone! Unfortunately, the easiest thing about organizing your home is putting it off until another day.

There comes a point, though, at which clutter takes over your life. Symptoms you're moving in that direction include an inability to find things and the inexplicable disappearance of storage space (actually, there's a perfectly rational explanation for it)! So if the "clutter monster" has been rearing its ugly head in your home in recent months, here are some causes and possible solutions to the problem.

  • You know you have a lot of junk, but you're not sure what to do with it. Well, first of all, "one man's junk is another man's treasure," so things you no longer have any use for may be very useful to charitable groups, community fund drives, or homeless shelters. In addition to giving stuff away, you could also offer free or inexpensive things to people in your social media network, hold a yard sale, or offer gently used hand-me-downs to relatives and friends. If your unwanted stuff is actually junk (by anyone's standards), then it might be worth it to have a local junk hauling service pick it up at your house and properly dispose of it. An alternative is to rent a dumpster for a few days and fill it up at your convenience. The cost may be surprisingly affordable, and the amount of living and storage space you'll reclaim in your home will make it all worthwhile. You never know until you get a quote or two!
  • You just can't seem to motivate yourself to get started! Procrastination is one of the leading causes of household clutter, but there are solutions. One strategy is to announce to your significant other, best friend, or parents that you're going to devote two or three hours on Saturday (or Sunday) to straightening out your closets, basement, or garage. The value of telling someone else of your intentions is that it sort of puts you on the hook and makes you accountable. A similar approach is often used for dieting, exercising, or spending quality time with your kids. Even though two or three hours of work probably won't transform your home into a model of organization, you'll at least have gotten started and made a dent in the project. For most people, the biggest hurdle to getting organized is getting started!
Picking up a supply of inexpensive bins, storage compartments, and shelving at your local discount outlet, hardware store, or even neighborhood garage sale may also give you the nudge you need to get your decluttering plans moving forward!

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 8/29/2017

There are basically three types of clutter that tend to emerge in most homes, and it usually gets worse as time goes on.

Homeowners often get so used to their own clutter, that it becomes virtually invisible to them.

That's one of the reasons it can be extremely helpful to work with a real estate agent when preparing your home for sale. Not only can an experienced agent provide an objective point of view, but most agents have a trained eye that can spot unsightly clutter "a mile away"!

There are several reasons household clutter is an issue when trying to stage a home for sale. First of all, it's an eyesore. It makes your home look less inviting to prospect buyers, and, in many cases, in makes rooms look smaller. Clutter also makes it more difficult to keep surfaces and floors clean, which is one of the cardinal rules of effectively staging a home.

Three Types of Clutter to Target

There's a delicate balance between having just enough --or too many -- items on countertops and tables. In most cases, it's too much! You're usually better off "erring on the side of sparseness," rather than the other way around. Unless something serves either a decorative or functional purpose (preferably both), it probably should be stored away in a drawer or cabinet. If it weren't for the fact that buyers typically look in closets when touring a home, then that would be an obvious place to hide clutter. However, that's sure to make a bad impression.

When you think of the word "clutter," what's the first thing that comes to mind? A typical mental image is that of a room crowded with too much furniture. That's a common problem with improperly staged homes, and it's a surefire way to send prospective buyers scurrying -- ones who might have otherwise made an offer. Cluttered rooms look smaller, messy, disorganized, and -- in some cases -- chaotic. None of those characteristics are going to create a good feeling in people's minds, which is a primary objective when showing a home to potential buyers.

The third type of clutter, which is also pretty typical, is wall clutter -- specifically: too many paintings, photos, art prints, posters, wall clocks, and other miscellaneous objects which make the walls look "too busy"! For some home sellers, this can be the most difficult aspect of visual clutter to fix because there's an emotional connection to family photographs, children's drawings, and so on.

If you're torn between what to display and what to hide, your real estate agent can be the best source of objective, unbiased advice. In many cases, "less is more," but it pays to get a professional opinion!