Wanting to Sell Your Home but Not Quite Ready to Move?

shutterstock_96760870You know that you need to move, and the market is right to sell, but you’re not quite ready to pack up everything. After all, you still have to live in your home until it sells. So how do you get ready to sell without entirely disrupting your life?

Start by getting organized. Move from room to room in your home and take stock of the items you use regularly and the items you haven’t touched in years. In each room, create five piles for sorting. Some organizers advocate putting sell and give in the same pile, or using large containers or boxes instead of piles, but this doesn’t work well for large items such as furniture.

The five areas should be:

  • TRASH: These items are broken and not reparable, or used up or no longer useful to anyone. Of these items, take a moment to sort what needs to be recycled or requires special disposal like batteries or electronics.
  • SELL: These items have value on the market but you no longer use them in your household. Items to consider for this category are collectables, large or small appliances, electronics, designer clothing, shoes and handbags, furniture, and expensive games and toys.
  • GIVE: These items are gently used and have more value as a tax write-off if given to charity than if sold. This includes most clothing and many household goods.
  • STORE: Items for storage include seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, important papers and other documents, family keepsakes and heirlooms that you do not use or display, extra furniture and other items that you plan to use in the future.
  • KEEP: In this pile place all the items and clothing that you use currently, and that you will need to keep your household operating smoothly while your home is on the market.

Take care of the TRASH first. Get it out of your house and arrange to have special disposal items picked up. Deliver dead electronics to a charity or business that disposes of them or call your local waste management provider for options.

Next, collect all of the GIVE items; divide them up by charity, hand-me-downs to family and friends, etc. Call friends, family and charities to schedule a pickup, or make plans to deliver these to their new owners all in one day.

Now, you have three groups left. Consider the SELL items and divide them into categories such as collectables, electronics, designer goods, furniture and the like. Take pictures of each item. If you have the time or inclination, you can sell these yourself on Internet listing sites such as eBay, Craigs List or Tradesy or you can find a service to do it for you.

So, what you have left to organize are the items you need to STORE for future use, and the things you use regularly. You may already have a storage unit, or a large attic, but to make things easier for your upcoming move, consider using portable storage. Made popular by PODS and Got Junk, now dozens of companies offer portable storage solutions. Ideally, the company delivers a portable storage container to your doorstep for easy loading. Once you’ve filled it with the items you need to store, the company removes the container and stores it off-site for a monthly fee. When you are ready to move, simply have the container returned to your doorstep, load your remaining items and have it delivered to your new home.

Lastly, take a couple of days to organize your remaining items from the KEEP pile. When your professional real estate agent asks to show your home, getting it ready will be a snap! So, call your real estate agent today to get things rolling.


Aaron Zapata is the broker-owner of Zapata Realty, Inc. located in Yorba Linda, CA. He has been a licensed broker for over a decade. His growing practice includes residential and apartment sales in Southern California.

Aaron holds a degree in Biblical and Theological studies from BIOLA University and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Cal State Fullerton.  He has been quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and the Associated Press and is an author and speaker. He is also maintains designations and memberships with nearly a dozen organizations aimed at raising the standards and ethics in the real estate industry.  He gives each client his focused attention with the simple purpose of doing what is best for them. Nearly all of his business comes from referrals from his satisfied clients helping him to stay in the top 1% nationwide.

Aaron lives in Yorba Linda with his wife Dawn. They have been married for 18 years and have two boys and a Beagle named Sadie.  He is an active member of Friends Church in Yorba Linda as a Board Member, and the Chamber of Commerce where he has served as the Chamber’s Network Connection President.  In the summer of 2013 he travelled to India with his oldest son to care for and educate the poorest of the poor.

Aaron Zapata
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