Clean out your crap before you bother modifying your home

Seriously, how do you know how much of what type of space you need if you have rooms and rooms full of crap that you don’t even like? Before I remodeled my home, I went through every single item and got rid of enough useless stuff to make the VIP list at my local Goodwill Store. You should too. I had to do it again before my partner moved in with me in order to fit both of our most important items into my tiny home. More pointedly, I had to take the stuff that I already painstakingly cut in half, and cut it in half again. As such, I have no sympathy for clients who tell me they would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an addition, when half of their home is currently filled with things they may very well have never seen before, and without them, may not even need an addition. I’m not talking about the, “If you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out,” scheme. That’s easy. If you haven’t even done that yet then put your computer away and don’t come back until it’s done. I’m talking about if you had 5 minutes to get your most prized possessions out of your house before it burned down, what would those be? Start there, and then move on to the less obvious items. Look around your home and tell me what you see. REALLY LOOK. You probably have hundreds of things hiding in plain sight or hold no real value to you. When I say, “real value,” I mean things that you look at and that give you joy. These don’t have to be expensive things. By all means, if you actually like the garage sale item better than the $200 gift from your friend, then bite the bullet and put it in the TOSS pile. You could opt to put it in the MAYBE pile for now, but you need to get your game face on. You must put yourself in a mindset to slash and burn before you can begin exterminating. Again, look around. Make a list of EVERYTHING you see room by room. If you are forced to write it down, then you actually have to see it. Make a column for KEEP, MAYBE, and TOSS and get slashing. Literally everything on your KEEP list has to be something that you absolutely love or something for which your mother would disown you if you got rid of it. However, I would actually contemplate rethinking the latter (sorry mom). As the world gets more and more populated, the spaces we inhabit become smaller and smaller. Filling what should be your oasis with things of little emotional value makes no sense whatsoever.

If you need some inspiration, buy The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I read it, and while some parts of it are a bit over the top for my taste, it definitely inspired me to have one more go at my, and my partner’s (much to his dismay), things. And, if you can’t do this, how you do expect to make much harder decisions about building a home? Trust me. Get your game face on and go for it. You can do it and it will feel awesome! Purging useless, unwanted items with little or no emotional value is like finally ridding yourself of a disease. You feel light, inspired, and ready to take on the remodel. Getting yourself mentally prepared for what lies ahead is extremely important. You want to begin the remodel process on the right foot, feeling confident that you just made a rash of hard decisions and are ready for battle. You will feel overwhelmed, if you don’t already, with where to begin the process. Feel confident that you just got started, and there will be an end.

If you haven’t yet determined your priorities, read my section about determining priorities. If you have, I want you to revisit them. You will have a lot more space now that many useless things are gone. Could you turn your Basement into a Media Room now that you have enough space for the gang to watch a movie? Would it be better to raise the house to get the needed head room down there instead of adding on, so you can keep your beloved garden? See what I mean? You could have an entirely different project that could either save you loads of money or provide you with a much better home in the end. This step is hugely important, so get moving. I’ll wait here for you.