We just recently bought a new home and sold the one we currently live in. We weren't planning on moving, but one day the right house came on the market and we jumped at it. At the time this seemed like a great idea, but then trying to get a home ready to sell in a short period of time was A LOT of work! I probably spent a week (almost 2) purging, decluttering, organizing and staging, and was at it from the time I got up to the time I went to bed (which was almost midnight on most nights). Now our current home is approx. 3800 sq ft with the finished basement, so I was expecting to spend a good amount of time on this, however it amazes me how much "stuff" you can accumulate over the years!
I started my process by reading a book called "Unclutter your life in one week" by Erin Rooney Doland. I don't know how anyone would do this in just one week, because Day 1 is to unclutter/organize your Wardrobe, so weeding out your clothes, cleaning out your closet, etc, and her philosophy is to pull EVERYTHING out so you can see it. I did this, and my bedroom floor was flooded with all the things you can cram into a reasonable sized walk-in closet! I took a picture of the mess, but my husband won't let me post it ;) Needless to say, with 3 children running around, this took me over a day to tackle but I was AMAZED with the end result! (The closet then needed some staging).
You are also suppose to declutter and organize your front hall closet (and don't forget about your linen closet). I was excited to do this because we had just custom built the closet organizer and I was happy to show it off ;)
I then took this day one philosophy with me to the basement to tackle our largest storage closet. Again I pulled EVERYTHING out of storage, then I actually swept the storage room floor lol, and proceed to weed through that pile, getting rid of things we don't need anymore, and then boxing up and putting back only the things we were taking to the new house.
Of course I have 2 other storage areas, but one is for my staging stuff and the other is full of Christmas decor so being the time of year, the Christmas storage room was easy to do! This also took me 2 days to complete...so really I was already 4 days into my one week process and I had only completed day 1! So on to "Day 2" which was tackling the bathrooms. Again it's about pulling eveything out so you can see it. This concept in hindsight is really great, but it can feel a bit overwhelming once you start seeing how many things are packed behind closed doors. We have 4 bathrooms, so I just pulled everything out of them all and again spread it all over our bedroom floor lol. The idea behind the bathroom clean out is to get rid of your almost empty shampoo bottles or perfume/lotions you have had for years. If you can't remember the last time you used it, you probably don't need it! This whole decluttering process can feel very liberating ;)
Day 3 is your kitchen, and I'm not going to lie, I haven't really gotten there yet (it's on my to-do list for today). For the purposes of "showing" my home, I pulled things off the counter, cleared off the fridge and prayed nobody looked inside the cupboards or fridge :s Once we sold the house, the home inspector did in fact look in the cupboard that was above the stove and highly suggested I clear out the recipe books (they were too heavy for the shelf and it was starting to bow). So I did that just after they left ;).
After we sold the home, it was time to start packing. This can be an overwhelming feeling as "where do you start?" We still live in the home! I tried to find help online by googling "how to pack my house to move" but it all just gave me suggestions on the boxes and packing supplies I should buy...which was a great start! When you get closer to your moving date, the process gets easier because you can pack room by room, but I didn't want the stress of packing the whole house the week before we were moving. So I bought a dozen each of large, medium and small boxes, 3 rolls of packing tape and 2 rolls of foam paper. I sat down and thought about the things we won't need in the next few weeks (china, extra dishes, summer clothes/shoes, a bunch of the kids toys...etc) and I am calmly and stress-free boxing up those items. I realize moving day is going to be hectic regardless, but if what I am doing makes life even a little easier, I'll take it ;)
Moving is hard work!