Our house is for sale and this means we've already done a lot of de-cluttering, donating and dumping, not to mention selling items on craigslist.com. But, there is still a lot to do!
Because it's very expensive to ship household goods to Hawaii, we have been going through our house with a magnifying glass...that is to say, we are evaluating everything: does it get shipped, stored, donated, sold or given away to our grown kids, or other family members?
Here is my advice to anyone faced with a big move, whether it's across town or across an ocean:
- Walk through your home and make a list of each major item or group of items in every room. As you sell, give, or donate something, mark it off the list. (I made an Excel spreadsheet) See below:
SORTING- Ask yourself if you LOVE it, if it has monetary or sentimental value, if you can do without it, or easily replace it. In our case, Great-great Grandma's rocking chair is not only an antique, but it has a great family history behind it, and it is going to now live at our youngest daughter's home, along with a couple of other items that tie into the chair's history and sentiment.
- On the other hand, my new desk and chair are going with us to Hawaii; and the brown recliner has already been sold since we were ready for a change anyway!
PURGING- You might have to be ruthless with yourself. My Hubs is a pack-rat when it comes to tools, lawn & garden equipment, etc. however, we probably won't have a need for most of it on Oahu. We will take some basic household tools, and of course his professional tools that Hubs will need for his job. The rest is being given away or stored. I am donating four 30-year-old powered hand tools to the local thrift shop.
- I admit it: I hoard craft items. I literally tore through my craft room and donated several large tubs full of ribbons, paints, fabric scraps and miscellaneous stuff to a local church's thrift store. I mailed a few Cricut and scrapbooking items to our daughter in Colorado, who will actually USE them.
- Trash: I realize that some things are just not in good enough shape even to donate. We have hauled FOUR pickup loads of junk to the dump. Don't put a burden on someone who will have to repair or mend broken items or clothing (or worse, haul it to the dump). Free yourself up, and dump it!
- Giving things away can unburden you during this process, however PLEASE make sure that the person you want to give to actually WANTS the items. If it's important to you, but not to them, it might be best to put the item into storage, or sell it and make some money for your move.
STORING- Storing Items in Short-or-Long Term storage can be a solution for things you just can't take with you, but you want to have at a later date. In our case, we expect to be in Hawaii for a couple of years, but probably not forever, so it makes sense for us to rent a storage unit for some of our precious, irreplaceable items like our Grandfather Clock from our last Air Force tour in Germany, our German hand-blown Christmas ornaments, and our Polish Pottery collection. Also, heavy items that we want to keep, but would be far too expensive to ship like our large oak bed.
- Trying to visualize what your next "abode" will be like is helpful when deciding what furniture, etc. to take with you. We expect our living space to go from a 4 bedroom, 1824 square-foot home to an 800 to 1000 square-foot, 2 bedroom apartment or condo. This gave us the insight to say to ourselves: "What can we live without for the next couple of years?"
- Selling large appliances, like our washer & dryer set and our refrigerator, will keep us from storing items that might become dry and brittle by having them in storage for a few years. Seals and hoses dry out when not in use.
- Set up a savings account to purchase furniture and appliances once you get a new place to live. For us, we are selling items on craigslist and putting the money into an account earmarked "A Home In Hawaii".
Next time, I'll let you in on a few secrets from this former Air Force Wife about packing items for moving or storage, and also Staging Your Home for Sale.