You’ve found a brilliant new home and you can’t wait to start decorating and to move in and make it your own.
But first, you must pack up your old place.
If you have never considered yourself to be a hoarder before, it may be time to confront an uneasy truth: By the look of your some of your cupboards, that’s exactly what you have been doing.
Taking it step-by-step or room by room
The task can be overwhelming, and it can’t really be handed over to anyone else as many objects have sentimental value. So, what may appear to be junk to your helper, might be treasure to you and your partner.
The best advice is to take it one room at a time. This will also give you a feeling of accomplishment. When chaos is surrounding you at least some areas will be pristine.
Sort out your belongings into three piles
The first pile will go to your new home.
Have your packing boxes ready and labelled with the room they came from. This will be a production line with one person constructing the boxes and packing, the other person sorting out.
Be ruthless as the less you pack at one end, the less you’ll have to unpack at the other.
The second pile is everything you have decided to sell.
Consider using an auction house like Lawson’s in Sydney who will take bids for the contents of your home online. This may include everything from artworks to the china you have rarely removed from its box. They even do kitchenware.
It pays to research auction houses and take a look at some of their past catalogues to give you an idea of prices and what people are selling.
Hold an (online) garage sale
Facebook Marketplace is an excellent option for disposing of whitegoods that are relatively new but won’t fit into your new place. (Measuring up is essential in your new place, don’t rely on a guesstimate).
Perhaps hire a couple of strong men to lug them into your garage and sell from there as it’s less personal.
You could also advertise furniture on Marketplace but the way you describe it is key. It’s time to unleash your inner copywriter. Take some advice from a well-known finance writer, who once penned a newspaper column about essential terms to use when selling online.
She wrote that `Hampton’s-style’ seems to work particularly well for the garden furniture, which will probably never fit into your new courtyard space.
Other lucrative phrases include Mid-Century Style (for funky furniture). You may surprised about how much that polished wooden settee in the spare room will fetch, as well as the oblong coffee table next to it. You know, the one you acquired in the Sixties, which is now piled up with old magazines?
And then, of course, there’s Vintage, which always has a certain mystique.
The third pile contains everything that you would like to hand down to your family and friends
But if they are not interested in taking all these goods, consider donating to charities. You may even book in a collection from your home.
Recycle your designer clothes
It’s the environmentally conscious action to take.
If you rarely wear them, you could put them on consignment at one of the many designer and vintage outlets around Australia including The PreLoved Closet. It also helps if you have the old receipts and the matching dust bags.
Perhaps you might also consider donating anything that really is vintage to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. If the curator is interested in them, you could be contributing to the history of Australian fashion. You’ve suddenly become a philanthropist to the Arts, imagine that.
Embrace this fun time
One of those three piles of yours, may be earning more cash than you might have imagined. This really is the upside of moving. The money is flowing in and you’re seeing your unwanted possessions in a new light. You may also feel content that they’re going to good homes.
It’s the sentimental objects that often weigh you down.
In the process of moving, you may discover every drawing your children have completed since pre-school, stacked away in a cupboard somewhere, along with all the other childhood memorabilia. Pick out the items you would be happy to display in your new home, then offer the rest to those childhood artists.
The same goes for all the glowing report cards, the trophies, school photos, formal photos and those old videos that date from the time before IPhones were invented. Perhaps the historian in the family can convert them all to digital and give everyone a copy? They make the perfect gift.
Should we also touch on the greeting cards you have been keeping because it felt callous to throw them out? The love letters, old menus from significant evenings out and airline tickets from your first big trip? Make a tough decision, photograph the ones that mean the most and then discard them all.
A word on storage spaces
They’re excellent if you are temporarily moving interstate or overseas and ideal if your new home isn’t ready yet but your old place has sold. However, filling them up with stuff that you can’t bring yourself to discard, is just a cop out and an expensive one at that. You’re paying out money each month to delay the inevitable.
The best advice on moving is to start the process early.
Eventually the mounds of your possessions everywhere will decrease, and you will find a way forward. You’ll start to breathe again, and you may feel lighter and yes, liberated.
This is what downsizing is all about, streamlining your life to make way for new experiences.
You’ll still have all those memories intact but now you’re ready to embrace the future and have even more moments to treasure.