Congratulations! You’ve bought your first home. Now it’s time to get it organized! If you start on the right foot in your new home your day-to-day stress will be lower, you’ll save money and you’ll enjoy the space more. So, where to begin? Here are the top tips for getting organized after buying your first home:
When unpacking, sort similar items together before deciding on a home for them. Too often people pick a home for storing a category before completely unpacking, only to find out the space they chose originally isn’t big enough for how much they have. As a result, similar items land in multiple places throughout the home. Instead, sort everything first to get a birds-eye view of what you have overall, and then pick where each category goes. It will save you time and will also help you purge an excess amount of a category that you have too much of. Let's use kitchen spatulas as an example. Once you see all of your spatulas together, it will be easier to let go of the partially melted one when you see you’ve got three others still in great shape. Sorting first is hard because it does look like it’s getting worse before it gets better but I promise it’s the right way to do it and so worth it. This is especially important if there are two people’s belongings getting merged for the first time. Sort like with like every step of the way. If this feels especially daunting but you know it's important, this is the perfect opportunity to seek help from a professional organizing company.
Unpack every box, yes, every box. I know it may seem daunting but cardboard is not your friend (it gets moldy and musty quickly in basements) so move your belongings out of the moving boxes ASAP. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have organized homes where there are boxes that have never been unpacked after years of living in the home. They will come back to haunt you, so it is best to start out on the right foot and unpack every box. Have a box of keepsakes? Transfer those to a plastic tote with a lid to keep those treasures safe. Did you turn a kitchen drawer upside down and dump the contents into a box? Methodically unpack, sort, and redistribute the items to the correct room. You can do it! Your future self will thank you.
Purge as you unpack. If you didn’t purge before you moved, now is the time to do it in your new home. Even if you came from a smaller apartment, odds are there are items you can purge. Be honest with yourself about what you need, use, and love, and get rid of what you don’t. Look for items that are worn, broken, or don’t fit anymore. Expired food should get tossed, and anything that doesn’t look appetizing should move out. Get rid of cookware you have duplicates of if you’re merging two people’s belongings. You’ll feel lighter and more free after your purge, and what better time to do it than with the clean slate of a new home?
Invest in matching hangers. Remember that closet where you just organized everything by type and color? Now it is time to go the extra mile and get matching hangers.
We often recommend velvet hangers, but any slimline matching hangers will do. Make sure the metal of the hooks match and the color of the hangers match.
It will transform your closet once you take this extra step.
Don’t fill a space just to fill it. This is your first home so you may not fill every cabinet, shelf, or drawer. This is okay! It is organizing gold when you have empty spaces because it allows for room to grow. You’ll get new belongings down the road (housewarming party, holidays, birthdays, and shopping) so leave some space for the items that haven’t come into your home yet. Just because you have space doesn’t mean you have to fill it with something. It’s okay to let an open shelf be an open shelf until its purpose surfaces organically over time.
Keep things tidy in your new home long-term by picking up as you go. For example, when you do your hair in the morning, instead of leaving the hairbrush, curling iron, and hairspray out on the counter, put those things back in their home (once cool to the touch for the curling iron) in drawers and cabinets. You’ll be amazed at how much faster it is to just pick up as you go instead of spending entire days on the weekend trying to backtrack and pick up what you didn’t put away. It takes just a few seconds to put something away the moment you’re done with it. This will also help you find the items faster the next time you or someone else you live with needs them.
Invest in a label maker. They are worth having, especially if you live with another person/other people or have ADD/ADHD. Labels are a map and if everyone is reading the same map they’ll get to the same and correct destination. Pantries, basements, garages, closets, bathrooms, and nurseries are all some of the spaces that we regularly label. We love our Brother P Touch label maker and recommend it all the time. It will make life so much easier!
There you have it, those are the top tips for a first-time homeowner to get organized. If you follow these tips now and for all of your future homes you’ll be thankful, will have lower stress, and will save money. Feeling overwhelmed about where to begin or how to do these tips? We’ve got you! Just give us a call and we’ll help make your first home cozy, organized, and fresh.
We all know that feeling of moving into a new home, unpacking and then realizing there were some things we should have paid closer attention to. Here are the Top 3 Mistakes to avoid while buying or selling a home from a Professional Organizer's perspective.
Mistake Number 1: Underestimating how much storage space you need.
You want to ensure you choose a home with enough storage in the basement and enough closet, pantry, kitchen and garage space for your family's needs. People often get swept away with the size of a home, architectural features or zip code. If the primary bedroom closet is a nightmare or you have nowhere to store your holiday décor or children's sports equipment, your new home will feel cramped. Storage space is essential, so here are some questions to keep in mind:
Mistake Number 2: Underestimating how much stuff you need to move.
Now is the time to really get down to the nitty gritty of exactly what you own in your current home. A lot of people, especially those that have lived in their homes for decades, underestimate just how much stuff they have packed into every nook and cranny from basement to attic. Get realistic about it and start going through each room evaluating what you no longer need, use or love and purge those items now. Not the day before the movers come, or the day before you’re supposed to start packing. Not once you move into your new home, but now. This will do a couple of things. It will help you know how much storage space you truly need in your new home, and it will stop you from moving literal trash or donations into your new home. How nice will that be? Go room by room and delve into every drawer, every cabinet, every closet, every dark corner of that basement and attic and unearth your treasures and trash. It is worth doing. It will help you have an honest conversation with yourself about the volume of belongings in your home.
Mistake Number 3: Skimping on Staging.
This means listening to your realtor when they suggest decluttering your home and taking down personal items. Hire a professional organizer and a home stager to help you maximize the flow of your home, show off its best features, and above all, help you prepare for the move. Why take the time to declutter and stage your home? It helps to sell your home faster and for more money. The proof is in the numbers, just ask your realtor. Make sure that you remove worn out or unnecessary furniture, and consider renting furniture or decor that suits the space from a professional stager. Make sure each room is well lit so that the house doesn’t feel dark and depressing. Once again, declutter to show off the counters, the floor space and the storage space so that it doesn’t look cramped and overcrowded. You want potential buyers to feel good when they walk in your home, not overwhelmed by clutter. Have you been meaning to paint? Now is the time to get that done too. Fresh paint can brighten a room and cover up any blemishes that may have happened while you were living your life in your home.
Avoid these 3 mistakes, and buying or selling your home will be a breeze! It’s hard work but so worth it for the long-term benefits. Not sure where to begin? We can help you out with that! We’ve got a starting point figured out and know exactly how to tackle every home, no matter the square footage or volume of belongings. Let us make your home, new or old, Utterly Uncluttered!
Happy buying and selling,
Are you a realtor overwhelmed by clutter in your client’s home? Are you, yourself, overwhelmed by the goal of decluttering your realtor has given you? We are here to help and have some tips and tricks to help you get your home ready for those beautiful photos to get your home listed, as well as for packing & showings.
Tip Number One: Clear clutter from the counters.
Cut the clutter by being honest about what you actually need out on counters. Begin by eliminating the obvious trash, recycle items, and start finding new homes for the items you’re not using daily. You want clear, open spaces for the photos to list your home to maximize the appearance of how large your space is. A cluttered counter truly makes a kitchen or bathroom look smaller than it is. Time and time again, our clients are amazed by how much bigger an organized space looks and feels. Keep your counters clear by creating homes for everything within cabinets and drawers. This also makes it easier to be prepared for open houses and showings. Instead of scrambling to clear counters at the last minute, they will already be ready for visitors.
Tip Number Two: Make sure your floors are clear of clutter.
No dirty clothes on the laundry room floor, no toys strewn about the playroom floor, and no shoes all over the mudroom floor. Not only does this make the space look bigger when the floor is clear of clutter but it’s safer for you and others walking through your home since there aren’t tripping hazards. Create more permanent homes for those items like a hamper in the laundry room, cubbies with cubes in them for toys in the playroom, and shoe racks in the mudroom for shoes. The way your floor looks changes the look of the whole room and in turn your house. Nobody wants to step over dirty laundry during a showing.
Tip Number Four: Take down personal items.
Most realtors will tell you to do this but we’re going to reinforce this rule, start taking down and storing anything specific to your family. Family photos, plaques with your last name on them, vision boards, anything that makes it hard for someone to see their family living in your space. While you’re at it go ahead and purge any that you don’t see yourself using in your new home. Items that you’ve outgrown or just don’t suit your taste anymore are great contenders to move out of the space. You want someone to be able to easily imagine their family in your home when they walk through it.
Tip Number Six: Sort items like with like and to the room you use the items in.
Even if you hire us to pack your items for you (which is a service we offer) this will make the packing process so much easier if you do this throughout your home. This way, similar items are packed together and labeled with the correct room on the box for where they belong. This will also allow you to purge more readily as once you see how many you have of one item it becomes easier to let some of them go especially if there are a few that are more worn out than others. Think of each item as a category and sort your home this way to make life easier on both sides of the move.
Tip Number Seven: Unpack and purge old boxes from your last move.
Do you still have boxes or totes from a previous move that never got unpacked? Why would you move those again? Now is the time to go through that storage room and unpack those containers. If you haven’t used the items since you moved into your home you likely won’t use them in your new home. Anything that you want to keep should get stored on shelves in totes clearly labeled making it easy to move and store in your new home. Storage rooms can become a catch-all, and this is the time where every door in your home will be opened by strangers. It’s time to get honest about what you are keeping.
Tip Number Nine: Create a good flow in each room.
Staging your home is really important. Make sure the room’s pathways are clear of unnecessary items and furniture. Eliminate any furniture (you can put it in storage) that makes a room feel cramped or smaller than it is. You want each room to clearly show its purpose and create a welcoming environment. Create a cohesive look by clearing the clutter on bookshelves and creating vignettes where things are grouped in an aesthetically pleasing way. Organizing books by color is an eye-catching way to organize a space, for example. You’re creating a space that looks great in photographs by staging it well. A few matching throw pillows, a blanket, and a rug that ties the room together can make all the difference. Healthy plants can also add depth and character to a room and create warmth. You want your home to feel welcoming and clutter-free.
Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to accomplish all of this? We’re here to help you in all aspects of preparing your home for sale, maintaining it during showings, helping you pack once you’ve sold it, and getting you organized in your new home. Schedule your discovery call with us today to find out what availability we have in the next two weeks as well as further out in the future if you’re a planner. No matter what stage you’re in, we're here to help. You’ll be grateful for the organization and will love showing off your home. Happy selling!
- Melissa Fortino
Don't Forget To Tidy Up Before Listing Your Home!
Decluttering & Organizing is one of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration when preparing your house for sale! The tidiness of your home greatly influences potential buyers’ perception of the space and can have a major impact on their decision-making.
Some important spaces potential buyers will be paying attention to are your:
Here are some actions you can take to prepare your home for sale and present it in the best possible light!
Rent a Storage Unit (if necessary)
Helping feed your urge to purge clutter from your life!
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