When you make the exciting decision to purchase a condominium suite, the last thing you want to do is clutter up your new living space with unnecessary “stuff.” You know, the boxes of items you never use but have avoided getting rid of because you might need them someday, or because they hold sentimental value, or because they were on sale. At Baker Real Estate Incorporated, we often hear from condominium purchasers who are moving from large family homes that they don’t know what to do with all of their belongings. They have accumulated furniture, artwork, knickknacks, photos and any number of other items and tend to fill up the spaces they have. The larger the home, the more things they have amassed.
The good news is that buying into a new condominium usually means you have quite a bit of time to organize and sort possessions before you move in. First, you need to measure up and figure out which furniture items you own and wish to keep will actually fit. You receive dimensions from your builder, and when you go for your Pre-Delivery Inspection, you can measure again to be sure. Then begin the purging process.
Even for condo buyers who are keen to de-clutter and simplify their belongings, however, the task may seem overwhelming. One approach is the garage/yard sale – one of the oldest forms of recycling. Put the money you make toward closing costs or buying new items that fit with your convenient condo lifestyle. You may sell a large dining room set, for example, and purchase one of the modern coffee tables with a swing-up top that can serve as a dining table.
There are several other ways to de-clutter, of course. People often give away possessions to their family and friends, which is another way to recycle. Heirlooms and cherished items can be welcome additions in the homes of those who mean a lot to you. Whether they are antiques, appliances, toys or household accessories, wouldn’t it be lovely to know that someone you love will be using and appreciating these items? Your cast-offs can also be donated to charity shops, which is also a great way to pass things along. And of course, there is the trash can for items that are beyond salvage – and who doesn’t have a few of those hanging around?
I also know of many people who have hired a home organizer. Contrary to what you may think, an organizer will not try to force you to throw out items you really want to keep. In reality, these professionals have an eye for organization – for sorting piles and closets of things into categories, then guiding you through a process that helps you gradually weed out items. This is a wonderful time to designate heirlooms to go to family members without feeling rushed. The beds and dressers that you will not need in your new condo could solve a problem for an acquaintance with growing children.
Remember the Internet? You can give items away on Freecycle.com – the deal is that the first person who responds who is willing to come and pick up the item gets it free. E-Bay, Craig’s List … there are other sites where you can sell things online. Ask your home organizer for suggestions.
And remember that a neat, tidy, uncluttered house will sell more quickly than one that is packed full. One of the first things home stagers do is suggest de-cluttering. Move into your gorgeous new condo with enough stuff to keep you happy yet allow the design, features and finishes to shine.
Barbara Lawlor is president of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com.