Keeping Your Home Organized
Whether your a tenant or homeowner, cleaning and organizing your place regularly will save you a lot of work before moving day. Homeowners should want to keep their place looking nice so it will be attractive to buyers. Plus, you’ll enjoy your place a lot more if it’s taken care of.
Here are a few tips from The Moving Survival Guide for maintaining your place:
- replace burnt-out light bulbs
- avoid buying stuff just because it’s on sale
- open, read, and file or dispose of mail each day
- hang up clothes instead of leaving them on the floor
- clean the house at least every two weeks (vacuum, dust, wash floors, etc)
- return items to original place when finished
- wash dishes after every meal
- hold a garage sale or donate items at least once a year
- clean kitchen sink, counter tops, and floor when necessary
- take down seasonal decorations in a timely manner
- for every new article of clothing you purchase, get rid of an old one (1 in 1 out principle)
- give everyone in the house chores so they get done faster
- recycle retired magazines and newspapers
This is all really basic stuff. Maintaining your home doesn’t have to require a great deal of time or effort. At the end of each day, take a look around. Is anything out of place? Are all the surfaces clear?
You can even designate one day per week to do all your cleaning if you choose. I use an excel spreadsheet to list everything that needs to be cleaned, and assign a date next to each one. Some items get cleaned once per week, others once a month depending on how often get dusty.
By creating a schedule, you’ll be much more likely to keep up with your cleaning. Once you get into a routine, you won’t think twice about doing it.
Organizing your belongings not only makes them easier to find when packing, but also helps the movers provide a more accurate estimate.
- organize recipes; they can be handwritten on cards or entered digitally
- get rid of old clothing that no longer fits or is worn down
- place all appliance manuals and warranty information in a file folder
- organize garage, basement, and attic. Discard items you no longer need.
- clean refrigerator and freezer every couple of months
- group similar items together; for example, keep all DVDs together in one location
- use plastic containers for gift-wrap supplies and seasonal decorations
- dispose of books and magazines that you’ll never read again; use bookshelves or boxes for storage
- group all shoes and shoe boxes. If you no longer have the original boxes, purchase some acrylic shoe boxes
- store toys in large, clear plastic storage containers or in toy box
The key point here is to declutter and contain the stuff that you’ll keep. Place the items that are used often in locations that make them easily accessible. If you wear a particular pair of shoes often, place them near the front of your closet.
While creating an inventory list of all your belongings might seem overwhelming, it’s very helpful to have in the event that something gets lost or damaged during the move. Without appraisal documents for high priced items, you won’t get compensated. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario when moving.
Inventory lists also give you a bird’s eye view of all your possessions. I created a list using a spreadsheet, and found that it’s easier to spot which items to keep and get rid of.
One way to approach this is by writing down each item as it’s being packed into a box. Another option is to videotape everything in the house or take photos. These can be used as documentation to show insurance companies in case something gets lost or damaged. Having receipts for expensive purchases also helps.
I personally just wrote down the brand and name of each item. Some recommend assigning value to every item, but I don’t think this as necessary. The main reason why I track inventory is to know what I have, not for insurance purposes.
You can just focus on the most valuable items if desired. Try to record the brand name, model number, and any other pertinent information.
If you’re concerned about getting reimbursed for certain items, then your best bet is to get them appraised.
If you decide to document inventory on paper or a spreadsheet, divide it into categories. Here are just a few examples:
How you categorize inventory depends on the stuff you have. The more stuff you possess, the more categories you’ll need. Keep it as simple as possible.
Put the inventory in a special place, such as a safety deposit box. It could get damaged inside of a moving truck, so bring it with you.
Taking inventory isn’t a requirement, but it’s something that you should consider doing.