Moving....Tips & Tricks For Listing and Packing Your Home
The process of moving, while most times exciting, is never ever fun. We have owned five houses so I feel I’m a bit of a “pro” when it comes to moving, especially since our last move in 2014 and our current upcoming move, both involved downsizing.
I get asked a lot to share some tips so here I go!
Now let me back up by saying, our last two homes we’ve purchased, were NOT pre-planned so in no way whatsoever were we ready to list a home! Like I’m talking my husband was at the height of his tool and gadget hoarding with no plans to go anywhere!
GETTING READY TO LIST
Getting ready to list your home can be overwhelming, staging is such a big concept these days and while it can be useful for some, I like to think common sense can also play a large part and we are all capable of staging our own houses to some extent.
If you don’t know where to start, this is what I do. I have each family member, spend a minimum of 2 hours in their own “room” or with their own “stuff”. No matter how young or old your children are, you can and should involve them in this process. I set everyone up with three boxes labelled
Once they complete this task, the next day when they are all gone to work and school, I do a walk thru of their space and can usually add a few things to their piles....don’t worry, they won’t even notice if they don’t see you do it!
I basically keep up with this concept while preparing the house to list, and down the road, move. I pick one room a day so as not to feel overwhelmed. Go through your drawers, cupboards, storage bins, jewelry boxes, shoes, purses, hats, mitts, scarves, etc. Go through EVERY SINGLE THING in each room of your house. Decide how many of these things you logically need and then be relentless! And trust me, if you do ALL of these things before you list your house, it makes the actual packing process so much easier!
Next up, before you list your house you need to pack away all of your personal photos/pictures. I mean it isn’t a deal breaker, but it is recommended. Potential buyers coming to see your home with an interest to purchase, want to envision themselves living in your house, not you. Makes sense right? Plus this is another way of getting ahead of the packing game! If you have a lot of decor pieces, candles, plants, etc. you should also thin them out, a general rule of thumb is two decor items on any space/table top/shelf, etc. Again, if you don’t want to donate/sell/toss any of these items, pack them in a box, label it and put it away for your upcoming move.
I’m a little anal, but I highly recommend you CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN! I don’t know about you, but if I go look at a house and it isn’t clean, I am somewhat turned off, especially if you aren’t buying it to gut it or totally renovate. Let’s be realistic, of course your house will get dirty/messy throughout the moving process but I always ensure our house is spotless for showings and/or Open Houses. So clean your house, your mirrors, fluff your pillows and fold your blankets! Of course it’s never going to be perfect...two things that still bother me from the recent sale of our home...there’s a dirty sock under my sons bed and the mirror in his bathroom is streaky! Did people actually notice these two things in real estate photos? Probably not, but they are the first two things I picked up on! (Told you i’m a little anal!)
And we got very lucky with our recent sale and our house sold in a day! I can’t tell you what a relief that was. We have lived through much longer, agonizing sales before and they are not easy. Especially with young children and pets. I recommend doing a 20 minute tidy before bed each night and another one in the morning. Keep your vacuum and a swiffer duster handy and zip through your house after breakfast clean up and you are ready for any potential showings that may pop up during the day. Make you beds, wipe down your sinks and countertops. It honestly doesn’t take long and I really believe it goes a long way in making a good first impression to your potential buyers.
We have a GREAT relator and part of his package includes a clean service. You can either choose to use it when you are listing the house, or after you have moved out. We like to use it after we’ve moved and then we don’t have to come back and clean. This is SUCH a great service, you don’t realize how much you appreciate it until the time comes. If you are local and are looking, you can always check out The Brent Foley Real Estate Team. Seriously, you guys know I would not recommend anyone unless I was 110% satisfied!
Once your home is sold, it’s game on!!!!!
At this point the crazy cleaning routines go out the window! I keep up with light housework and keep the bathrooms cleaned, otherwise I feel like we are living a real life episode of hoarders!
I keep three of my labelled boxes (Sell, Donate, Garbage) in a common area of the house so at anytime when I’m working in a room or a closet, etc I can keep up my momentum. It also makes it easier for others in the house to do the same.
I also add a FOURTH box at this point for SHREDDING! So if anyone has paperwork they don’t need that has personal info, they have a place to put it. We had a TON of paperwork to be shredded after going through our personal filing cabinets. And guess what? Our little $25 shredder is useless! HOWEVER, we recently found out that Staples Canada offers a shredding service for the low price of $1 per pound!!! So twice I have taken a small box of shredding to our local Staples and it has cost me under $5 both times and is totally worth it at a busy time like this. You’re welcome!
We have a neighbourhood Buy Nothing Group on Facebook, I’m sure if you search your community or the website, you might too! They are very popular all across North America and such a great concept! Sometimes the group has families in need, young families/people starting out, elderly people, you name it! It is how I have donated 95% of our stuff! The items that were not taken through this avenue were dropped off at Value Village. At the end of every week, or sometimes the end of a day, I post a photo and description of the items I have to give away and 99% of the time they are picked up within a couple of hours off our front porch. Not only are we perhaps giving someone a helping hand, it’s less garbage for our landfill! I’m being so mindful of that with this move. The amount of garbage we all create is actually disgusting, shame on us! I am going to work hard on this from this point forward.
I have sold A TON OF THINGS through local buy and sell groups as well. My favourite is VarageSale, it’s website, or I prefer to use the app on my iPhone. It is very popular and works well in my Community. Some items like tools, tool boxes, sell better on Kijiji and I’ve also had some success on Facebook Marketplace. I’m very careful buying and selling, I don’t have people come to my home unless they are in my neighbourhood and have bought from me in the past. Most times I offer to do a meet up in a busy parking lot. I’ve also found asking for payment or deposits via e-transfer has been a great way to ensure the sale of bigger ticket items.
Now let’s talk boxes. Boxes are hard to find these days unless you want to pay for them. U-Haul does offer a service whereby if you buy boxes from them and you don’t use them all, they buy them back. I have been lucky. We live in a neighbourhood where there is constant construction/new builds as well as downsizing. Always someone moving in or out. We have a great community Facebook group that people in our neighbourhood use up to date on pretty much everything and anything. I posted in this group back in early January asking if anyone had boxes and I have been so fortunate to get a TON!! So between this and our local Liquor Store, the only items we have purchased to help us prepare and pack are two wardrobe boxes and a box of packing paper!
THE END IS NEAR
We are now at a point, 27 days away from moving day, where there’s not a lot more we can do because most things we need to use. Everything that can be packed has been packed, even the kitchen has been left with only the bare essentials. Like I’m talking drinking wine out of a coffee cup!
The last thing I will leave you with is this, try to stack and label your boxes in groups. For me, we always move our kitchen boxes when we get the keys to the new house. Those and a bin of cleaning supplies come with us immediately and while the move is happening over the next couple of days, I can happily scour the inside of the kitchen cabinets and get things unpacked and organized. Oh, and I always bring a chair too and this time I will bring my Keurig!
I’m sure there are more tips I will think of in the coming days and I will definitely pass them along.
Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions or any tips for me! As I said, I’m no expert but have lots of moving experience and know what has worked well for us but I am ALWAYS open to suggestions to help make this process easier.
And if you’re in the Port Hope area and need boxes, let me know, I’ll be happy to pay it forward in early April!