By, Guest Contributor Sarah Krivel - Founder at Simpler Surroundings
Making the decision to rent out part of your home may be difficult. There are financial and logistical considerations. And then there’s the stuff! Have you stood in the room you’re thinking of renting, looked around and thought, “what am I going to do with all of this?” In reality, it’s much easier said than done to get out boxes and divide up your life into what stays and what goes. Pushing through the sometimes-difficult task, however, can set you up for success in achieving your goals of homesharing.
As a Professional Organizer and founder of Simpler Surroundings, I have found three categories of possessions that may prove especially difficult to part with, and tips to overcome each:
Getting rid of physical belongings can feel like giving up a piece of yourself or letting go of a time in your life, a person or a place you cherish. What may look to an outsider as an old business contract for an operation that has long since disbanded can bring back a flood of memories from that time. And what may look like a frayed towel can initiate a deluge of emotions thinking about the person who gave it to you. It’s important to recognize that the memories and emotions are not tied to the physical possession. They are a part of you, with or without the contract or towel, and it’s the memory you cherish, not the item.
Tip: Keep one reminder of that time, person, or place to bring a smile to your face.
Tip: Take a picture of anything you’re keeping for sentimental reasons that doesn’t fit in your home. Give the item away to someone who has space for it and will love it. Keep the photo in an album or make a memory book.
Tip: Allow each member of the family to have one sentimental box to fill with reminders and keepsakes. Just one.
You can rationalize your way into keeping just about anything. “This dress will fit again” or “That kitchen gadget will make an amazing meal someday.” Although every object has a function for someone, that person is not necessarily you. Fill your closet with the clothes that fit today and your shelves and cupboards with the tools and accessories you use regularly.
Tip: Evaluate items with a critical eye – though you may use or wear something again, in all reality, what is the likelihood that you will in the foreseeable future? If anything less than 90%, donate it to someone who will benefit from it now.
Tip: Recognize where you are right now in your life and get rid of anything that does not reflect the current state. Embrace your life today and stop living in the past or looking toward the future.
Tip: Remember that styles and technology advance. If the time comes when are that size or need that gadget, you’ll always be able to get it. And by that time, there will likely be a far superior option available.
Television shows like Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Stars may cause you to pause and think, “…what if this vase is truly a collector’s item worth hundreds of dollars?” It’s important to know that value to you may not be the same as value to the outside world and also that more items decrease in value over time than gain it. For example, although you paid top dollar for a television set in 2005, today it’s likely worth a small fraction of that.
Tip: Take 5 minutes (and no more than that) to look on ebay and see what similar items are selling for. Worthpoint (subscription required) is also a good resource to value antiques, art and vintage collectibles.
Tip: Remember that finding a buyer can be quite time consuming. If you want to sell a camera for $50, will it take you more than $50 worth of your time to find a willing buyer and arrange the sale? If yes, seriously consider if this makes sense.
Tip: Consignment may be an option for some items. Be prepared for items to sell for less than your asking price. People may not be willing to pay your asking price for items you deem to be in perfectly good condition.
About Simpler Surroundings: Simpler Surroundings works with individuals, families and businesses to save time and increase productivity by taking control of their homes and offices. We design and implement customized organizing solutions while teaching organizational techniques for physical spaces, paper, digital systems and schedules.
We believe that an organized space is the key to a clear mind and the foundation from which creativity and productivity stem. We belong to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the Colorado chapter of NAPO. Simplify your space by calling 720-480-4272 for a free phone consultation.
You can learn more about homesharing at Silvernest.com – Silvernest boldly breaks the rules of aging so you can share your home on your own terms. We’re creating the next generation of roommates. A more modern kind. A well-matched kind. A kind that’s just your style. Because around here, the details are totally up to you.