Tips for Packing When Selling a Home.

img_3933Preparing a home for sale can be stressful and the idea of packing can be down right overwhelming, especially if you’re a collector of things. Believe me, you don’t need to take everything you own to your new home. Your next home is a fresh start; a new beginning. And those mismatched holey socks, two year old magazines, or bubble gum wrapper collection you’ve had since grade school don’t need to tag along.

If you haven’t used it, worn it, or, worse, seen it for more than a year, chances are you can probably live without it. So don’t pack it. Below are some tips to help you decide what needs to be saved, packed, or rehomed at the recycling center or a charitable organization.

Recycle it.

  • Paperwork more than five years old (bills, pay stubs, receipts, statements) should be shredded and then recycled. The chances of you needing that receipt from 1997 are pretty slim.
  • Greeting cards. Unless they’re truly sentimental, you don’t need to keep every card you’ve ever received. Keep your most sentimental cards and then recycle everything else.
  • Shoe/clothing boxes – straight into the recycling bin!
  • Old make-up, hair products and toiletries can all be tossed.
  • Old stationery, business cards from your first job out of college, pens, pencils, unused journals and address books. In the bin.
  • Out-of-date medicines. While the containers (with your personal information removed) can be recycled, pills should not be thrown in the trash or put in the toilet. Put pills in a plastic sandwich bag with something icky like used coffee grounds then put the baggie in the trash. You can also call your country health department for a drop-off location for old meds.
  • Magazines should go straight in the recycling bin. If you need an article, Google it later.
  • Junk mail. Frankly, this should be put in the recycling bin the minute you find it in your mailbox.
  • Old containers. If you’re like me, your kitchen cabinets are filled with 30+ containers from take-out restaurants. You don’t need them.
  • Unused power cords, cables, and the like can be recycled.
  • When was the last time you actually used ones of those buttons that came attached to your new shirt? Never? Me too. But I saved them anyway. It’s time to part ways with your collection of buttons and and odd clothing accessories.
  • Old pillows. You should replace pillows every few years. Your guests will thank you for recycling them.
  • Recycle travel books and brochures. If you want to know the hottest places to visit, Google it.

Donate it.

  • It may sound a little creepy but donate (clean, which should go without saying!) underwear. Clean odd socks, socks with holes in them, and bras that don’t fit can be donated. There are people that can use these things.
  • Clothes in good condition but no longer fit.
  • Old towels and bed linens. The other day I was looking for a pillow case an unearthed bed sheets from when my son was a toddler. He’s now 18. Some lucky person is going to be the recipient of some super-cute dog sheets soon.
  • Dinnerware like dishes and glasses you no longer use would be greatly appreciated by someone just starting out on their own.
  • Hair accessories. If you’re no longer 12 you don’t need a colorful array of hair ties. Donate them. Some little girl (or boy) will thank you.
  • Old CDs. Download your favorite songs to your favorite music app, then pass along all those old space-sucking CDs.
  • Children’s toys. Unless you want to see your grand kids playing with something sentimental, there’s no need to keep every Lego, stuffed animal, or doll from your or your child’s youth.
  • Old books. If you haven’t read it in a while, pass along the treasure. I’ve taken to keeping everything on an electronic reader, and love it!
  • That favorite mug from your partying college years or those vases from delivered flowers have a place, but it’s not in your new home. Pack ’em up and donate them.
  • If that photo frame is still holding the photo of the family it came with when you bought it, chances are you’ll never use the frame. Donation pile!
  • The VHS has gone the way of the dinosaur. So VHS tapes should follow the same path. Donate it all! (Note: The same argument can be made for DVDs.)
  • Unless you have the time and patience to sell your items, donate all you unused electronics like video game players, costume jewelry, and tchotchkes.

Save it.

  • Paperwork less than five years old. You may need it for tax time or if you’re ever audited. You should also keep birth/marriage/death certificates, social security cards, and passports forever.
  • Loose change. Collect it and then cash it in for paper money.
  • Photographs. Sure you can keep photos on your phone or computer but there’s nothing better than holding a photo of your loved ones. My son is going off to college soon and I like to sit and flip through books of his youth.
  • Sentimental trinkets that bring back life’s memories.

If you’d like suggestions on how to prepare your home for sale, please give me a call. I can help. I do this everyday. 703-963-0142.


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