Wow, the last few days have been crazy! Our house is officially on the market and we’ve been decluttering and prepping for viewings. We hope to get an offer quickly and are following Courtney’s timely advice over at A Streamin Life. She and her husband, Steve, are in the process of selling their house and received multiple offers within 48 hours of listing, accepting one for $11,000 over asking price!
Although we’d been doing little things for several weeks, getting rid of one or two pieces here and there, our massive decluttering effort began on Saturday morning. We started in the kids’ rooms with what seems to be a quarterly ritual, rotating outgrown and out-of-season clothes. Mrs. DTG tackled our daughter’s wardrobe, while I took on the boys’ rooms. It is amazing how much clothes these kids have, most of which have been passed down by family and friends.
I began in my younger son’s room. We literally touched every piece of clothing. He has the most clothes by far. Being less than two years younger than his brother, he gets all the hand-me-downs. In addition to that, he still gets more clothes on birthdays, Christmas, and other random times throughout the year. On one hand, we appreciate the generosity. On the other hand, it’s like damn, we have enough, save your money people!
Around the time I finished clearing out his closet and drawers, Mrs. DTG pushed a humongous storage bin filled nearly to the top with the diva’s fashions. Holy hell! How can one little girl have so many clothes?
I combined our son’s old clothes with hers. Without exaggerating, there must’ve been over 200 items total. See the picture below to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
As I was rotating in my younger son’s new wardrobe, each shirt or outfit brought back memories of our oldest wearing these same clothes just a couple years prior. I’m sure any parent with multiple kids of the same sex can relate. A short time later, that room was complete and I was on to our other son’s room. Thankfully, his was a bit easier and only took another half hour or so.
Now we had a massive amount clothes we needed to purge. While running a few other errands, we took the clothes bin to Once Upon a Child hoping to at least make a little bit of money. Of the estimated 200+ items, they bought 25 pieces for $34.95. Not quite the $100 I was envisioning and we were still left with a full bin. 😦
Moving on to Sunday morning, we continued our decluttering efforts. After a quick look around the house and still seeing so much stuff, I knew we needed to do something a little more drastic. Besides the clothes, the kids had also set aside a host of toys and stuffed animals they no longer wanted. Additionally, we had an old TV, DVD players, various home decorations, and other random knick-knacks taking up space and serving little purpose. At 11 o’clock in the morning, I asked Mrs. DTG, “What if we just have an open house where everything was free and people could leave a donation if they wanted to?”
“Let’s do it,” she replied.
A few minutes later I had sent a notification to our neighborhood’s Facebook page detailing our new plan. We only had a couple hours until it was set to begin and spent the entire time setting up our living room with unwanted items. Anything we didn’t want went on display.
Almost immediately after posting the details for our open house, I started getting inquiries and had a feeling we’d be busy. One message in particular foreshadowed what was to come.
Our scheduled start time arrived and the first thirty minutes was intense! I guess that’s to be expected when you advertise a “Free Stuff Open House.” As the neighborhood women rummaged through piles of clothing, we fielded questions left and right from other neighbors. Interestingly, several people wanted to purchase other things in our house that were not even for sale!
In a matter of minutes, about 75% of our displayed items were gone. The huge piles of clothes had dwindled to just a few pieces. Most of the leftovers were sweatpants and long sleeve shirts. Apparently those aren’t in high demand in south Texas. 😉
Other than the clothes, we cleared out a high chair, car seat, toys, a TV, DVD player, VCR (yes, we had one sitting in the garage for years!), and various other things. Amidst the feeding frenzy, I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly everything went. For the first time in a while, it actually felt like we made some real progress in our decluttering. Spaces that had previously stored all this stuff are now noticeably clear.
As an added bonus, we actually made some decent money, too. We mentioned in the original Facebook post that even though everything was free, we would have a donation jar that people could contribute to if they felt so inclined. Mrs. DTG labeled it “European Vacation Fund” with masking tape and a Sharpie. In all, we collected $128 including 20 Euros! Although they don’t use Euros in the UK, the money will come in handy while I’m in Germany working my part time Reserve job I’ve secured out there.
Like most weekends, this one was way too short and we continued cleaning and depersonalizing our house on Monday. We still have a few things to do, but the progress we made the last few days was amazing and much needed. This free/donation open house format was such a success, I think we’ll give Round 2 a go in June before the movers pack our household goods.