Homeowners are always looking for more space.
Whether it's a starter home or a house with a room for every member of the family, space eventually becomes a hot commodity the longer a family occupies the property. Parents and children alike accumulate everything from clothes to electronics and everything in between.
Eventually, though, downsizing and cleaning will be needed. But exactly how you downsize can be the difference between effectively claiming back lost space or finding yourself cleaning the same areas a few months later.
Luckily, homeowners can utilize a variety of methods that will help them clean with efficiency. By cleaning and reorganizing, homeowners will also make their homes more attractive during open houses if they decide to sell.
Focus on one room at a time
Cleaning and going through a room's items is difficult enough as it is, but you make the task even harder if you go from room to room with no clear plan of action.
You'll want to start by focusing on one area at a time. Clean your bedroom first, then move to the living room, kitchen and so on. This will help you maintain a clear train of thought when deciding what to do with items you find. Trulia recommended that for every item you touch, you either keep it, donate or toss it.
But be careful when cleaning rooms that other family members use. For instance, talk with your children beforehand to obtain their approval about what items can be tossed or donated. You may find that it's easier to help your children while cleaning and downsizing.
When going through common areas such as the living room, put items you aren't sure about in a pile off to the side. Ask your children and spouse to see if anything belongs to them and if they decide they don't want or need anything, you can then decide its fate.
How to decide what to keep
As you clean, you'll likely come across some belongings you haven't seen in a long time that you forgot you even had. It's at this point you aren't sure what to do. Should you keep the item because you've had it for a number of years and someone gave it to you? Or, should you discard it because it no longer serves any purpose?
The ultimate answer is up to you, but don't feel guilty about getting rid of belongings that aren't being used anymore, even if they have been passed on to you. It's understandable if you've formed an attachment to personal belongings, but discarding old items can help make your move into a new home easier because you'll have less to account for and pack.
The calendar is your friend
If you're moving or close to closing a deal on a new home, or already have a firm move-in date, don't wait until the last minute to start cleaning. Doing so will only add to the hectic nature of downsizing and cleaning already involve.
As such, the earlier you start downsizing, the better position you'll find yourself in. You won't feel rushed while cleaning every room. You can therefore take your time and avoid mistakenly throwing away items you were planning to keep.
More so, the earlier you start, the more organized your cleaning plan will be. For example, you can clean one room or area of your home every week over a period of one month or longer. This way, you'll be able to dedicate enough time toward ensuring no space is left dirty and no item is accidently tossed aside.
But the biggest benefit will be the peace of mind you'll have. When every room is cleaned and emptied, you can relax and spend the last few days in your old home reminiscing about the good times.
Go for a bigger home
Space can also be reclaimed by deciding to move into a bigger home. It's the next logical step for many families where children are growing up and everyone has outgrown the starter home.
When looking for a new home, the number of rooms is important. You want everyone to have their own personal space, but not at an astronomical price. You may also find yourself interested interested in moving to a new city.
According to HousingWire, some of the largest startup homes in the country are located in Austin, Texas, Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey. Startup homes can be a reasonable option if you need more space, but aren't ready for a larger home.
But if you are looking for a trade-up house, Houston is the metro area with the largest amount of trade-up homes, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dallas, Austin and Raleigh, North Carolina. While you'll need to discuss potentially moving to a new state with your family ahead of time, these are the areas where you can have plenty of space for everyone in the household.
However, moving does involve a few extra expenses, such as paying for the home inspection. Be sure to account for everything when you decide to move.
Cleaning the contents of your home may seem like an overwhelming task at first, but if you start early and take your time, you can easily handle the task. And if you still find yourself looking for more space even after cleaning and tossing aside old items, it may be time for a bigger home.