MANGROVE REALTY ASSOCIATES
Lori Madden, MANGROVE REALTY ASSOCIATES
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Taking the Pare Down Challenge

by Lori Madden 08/04/2019

Minimalism has taken hold of a generation of new homeowners. Many young families may move multiple times before finding a forever home. Throughout the sorting, packing, loading, moving, and unloading they realize that much of what they carry with them is not necessary for comfortable living. Many folks have accepted the challenge to pare unused and cluttering items from their lives. Whether you are planning to move soon, just moved into your forever home, or are somewhere in-between, you can benefit from paring down and decluttering your life.

Discover freedom

Proponents of decluttering from Marie Kondo, star of Netflix's hit show, "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," to Genevieve Parker Hill, author of Minimalist Living: Decluttering for Joy, Health, and Creativity, believe that reducing your home’s clutter, overflow, and disorganization help to free up your time, energy, and happiness. The concept of removing disorganization from your life sets you up to more effortless living.

You can join an online challenge ranging anywhere from three days to six weeks to fit your schedule. Alternatively, you can make a pact with friends or siblings to cheer each other through it or challenge yourself to carry out a list of decluttering items in one day or over several days. If you take on the challenge by yourself, create a suitable reward for your efforts.

Clear your mind first

Before you try to clear your home of clutter, take some time to organize your thoughts first. 

  • Write down what you hope to achieve by decluttering: more space? More peace? Better time management?
  • Note where you want to start. You may be able to declutter your entire home, but before you bite of that enormous chunk, create an order of priority. Is the hall closet most important? The pantry? Perhaps your biggest headache is your closet, attic, or garage. Start with that one place. If you try to do too many spaces at once, you may end up discouraged before you start.
  • Set aside the day or days for your challenge. Block off your schedule. Putting it off got you into this position in the first place and any interrupted to your challenge dates might tempt you to indulge in procrastination once again.

Once you have determined the room you will start with, prepare four boxes for sorting: 

  • Discard – items too used or useless to give to a charity or thrift store need tossing. Do not donate anything beyond its useful life. At the end of each day, you will discard these items so that you avoid the temptation to put them back in your house.
  • Recycle – if you no longer use it for its original purpose, but you know you could use it someplace else, put it in the “recycle” box.
  • Give – items you no longer use, but that someone else could go in the “give” box. You can donate these to a charity or thrift store or give them to family members or friends that want them and will use them. Immediately place this box in your car to give away as soon as possible.
  • Keep – this is what goes back in this location, or into another place. Once you clean out the area, return to it only the items that belong there. If you have other keep items, move them to the room or location they belong in so that they no longer clutter up your space.

When you finish, reward yourself. Then, set up the next challenge. If you plan to put your home on the market, to give a deadline to your challenge, have your real estate agent set an open house date.

About the Author
Author

Lori Madden

As a Florida native growing up in Sarasota, I have seen my hometown grow from a sleepy coastal town to a highly sought-after destination along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. After working in Chicago for 5 years, I returned to Sarasota and saw it through a new lens and really began to appreciate what makes Sarasota so desirable, including temperatures that allow for year round outdoor activities including tennis (a personal favorite), golf, boating, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, or just relaxing and/or shelling on our pristine sandy shores, including Dr. Beach’s #1 beach in the United States for 2017, Siesta Key! Sarasota’s cultural amenities are many and diverse, appealing to a wide range of arts lovers. Downtown Sarasota has become a destination in itself, drawing many new developments for those who want to be within walking distance of Main Street's offerings and the picturesque bayfront and marina. Foodies will find an eclectic mix of locally owned and operated restaurants offering something for everyone, and there are now Farmers Markets every day of the week in various locations throughout Sarasota, but the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Sarasota draws the biggest crowds. Since 1988, my passion has been selling real estate, representing both buyers and sellers. I have been recognized by my clients and customers for an uncompromising work ethic and dedication to helping them achieve their real estate goals. Relying on my experience as a real estate paralegal and being highly organized, I am able to help make the transition between contract and closing a smooth one for my clients. With an eye for interior and landscape design, I've been known to pitch in and help Sellers minimize and/or reorganize their belongings in order to stage their home to maximize its sale potential. I specialize in out of state buyers looking for their piece of paradise along the Gulf Coast and make it a priority to keep them up to date on our quickly changing local real estate market. I welcome the opportunity to share with you all Sarasota and her surrounding islands have to offer!