Keep it or Trash it

Monday May 17, 2021

It’s very easy for a REALTOR®, friend or loved one to tell a homeowner getting ready to sell that they need to get rid of their “stuff” to make the home more appealing to buyers.  However, that “stuff”, as it is called, may have been acquired over a lifetime and have special meaning to that seller.  Let’s take a look at this sometimes stressful, rarely fun process of getting your home ready to sell.  

You have decided to move!  Excellent decision by the way, as we are in the middle of an unprecedented seller’s market.  As you look around your home with your REALTOR®, you not only have to figure out how to present the home at its best, but also decide which possessions to keep and which to toss.

Why Do We Keep?

Why have we accumulated so much and refused to throw out so little? As you pull out items you haven’t thought of or seen in a while, pleasant memories of times past or of loved ones no longer with us are stirred.  We take pictures not to look at them right away, although we all do, but to keep the memory of that point in time.  We don’t always do this consciously, but keeping possessions is a way of reminding us of another, hopefully nicer time.  When lightening your load, emotions come into play. These emotions can often times get in the way of getting a home ready for sale.


Often times a large number of items you have accumulated came from a loved one who has passed.  You feel that in some way you are eliminating the memory of your loved one by ridding yourself of the table, chair or lifetime collection of ceramic animals that they left you.  There is no easy answer to this problem.  Nobody can advocate that you throw these items out.  It is up to you.  What I would say is that maybe, just maybe your loved one wouldn’t expect you to feature a pre-world war one couch in your living room.  You can’t hold on to everything.  Although some do hold onto everything (see “Hoarders” on A&E).   Work from one drawer, one closet, one room at a time.  This way you won’t be overwhelmed.  Even if you aren’t selling, it wouldn’t hurt to put that 8 track tape player or the electric typewriter that was left to you, on the curb, or if it holds some spot in your heart in storage.  

Store It

If you’ll no longer have room for certain possessions that are meaningful to you, you are ambivalent about or you believe that a family member may want (I would call them first) then storage can be a good idea.  You can take the stress out of making a final decision on an item by putting it in storage and comfortably settled in your new space. Circle back in a month after you are in the new place and decide then what you want to do.  

In the end, people are more comfortable with taking things out when they have a plan and the items do not have sentimental value.  As we know this isn’t always the case, you are rushed to get ready to sell and/or the items you need to decide, what to do with have special meaning.  Relax, put things in storage if you can’t decide but also ask yourself, do I really need this?  Would whoever left this to mean really expect me to keep it all these years?   Look at what you have, evaluate, sort, give to relatives, give away, sell or hire a professional to help.  Once you’ve eliminated some “stuff” your home will be ready to show buyers, and once sold, you’ll be ready to move on.

If you have any questions about this article, real estate in general or are looking to buy or sell a home please contact me, John McCarthy at Rowley Realty, 165 Main St., Rowley, MA 01969, Phone: 978 948-2758, Cell 978 835-2573 or via email at


Subscribe To Receive Our Newspaper Every Wednesday Morning FREE

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and newspaper within your emails.

You have Successfully Subscribed!