Trash & Stash Roundtable: Expert Tips to Prepare for Your Move

Stashy Leading a Roundtable Discussion

A Realtor, a home inspector and an interior designer walk into a bar…

Just kidding, this isn’t a joke.

And preparing your home for moving out is no laughing matter either.

Moving is stressful. It involves a combination of stressors all rolled into one experience.

Sitting with face in hands stressed about moving

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get on top of things when you are planning to move. To reduce moving-related stress and get you as organized as possible for the big move, we enlisted the expert advice of a trio of Charlotte-area home services/real estate experts for Trash & Stash’s inaugural virtual roundtable discussion about what to do before moving day.

Moving Tips from the Pros. Meet Our Experts:

Headshot, Lauren Helms

Lauren Helms, Twinterior Designs Charlotte

Lauren Helms is the owner of and design consultant with Twinterior Designs Charlotte, specializing in real estate staging, interior design and interior decorating. She has combined her passions for real estate and interior design.

Robert Kiley BR Homes inspections

Robert Kiley, BR Home Inspections

Robert Kiley is the owner of BR Home Inspection Services, licensed in North and South Carolinas. A retired police officer and military veteran, he gives 10 percent discounts to veterans and first responders. 

Bonnie Papandrea, Team Papandrea Realtors

Bonnie Papandrea, Team Papandrea Realtors

Bonnie Papandrea of Team Papandrea Realtors, which specializes in Charlotte relocation, staging homes for sale and credit repair services. She and her partner, Daniel Papandrea, have more than 20 years of real estate experience in North and South Carolinas.

While our panelists have a variety of views on the moving process informed from their respective areas of expertise, they all agree on one thing: decluttering your home before moving into a new one is essential. And Trash & Stash can help you with that, because its our mission to simplify your life.

Trash & Stash: How important is decluttering one's home before selling/moving? 

Papandrea: That would be a 10 in my book. Extremely important.

(Kiley agrees, it’s hard to do a proper home inspection if clutter is covering everything up.)

Kiley: In order to do a thorough inspection, access to the water heater, electric panel, attic, under sinks, etc. is needed.  Many times, I have arrived to do an inspection and can’t get to the electric panel or water heater due to storage in front of them.

Trash & Stash: What is the role of decluttering when staging a home?

Helms: Decluttering plays a huge part. This includes decluttering closets, pantries, cabinets, etc. Buyers open these things and if stuff is falling out the first thought is not enough storage. You need at least 20 percent so-called “free” space. 

Buyers open these things and if stuff is falling out the first thought is not enough storage. You need at least 20 percent so-called “free” space. 

Lauren Helms

Trash & Stash: Now that we mention it, what exactly does “staging” a home mean?

Helms: Visual merchandising that draws on some of the fundamentals of interior design. I love interior design and offer that service, so staging is the easy part. 

Closet overflowing with clothes

Papandrea: There are different types of staging.  If the home is vacant and is not large you can do a virtual staging, if the home is larger and you have furniture, we have a stager that helps them stage with their own belongings. Adding or taking out furniture, etc.

Trash & Stash: Does staging extend to the exterior of the house, too, including landscaping features, outdoor furniture, etc.?

Helms: Yes, it does. Outside should be clean, have fresh welcome mat, manicured landscaping and any outside living area staged so buyers can see the potential. 

Nice front porched staged for home sale

Trash & Stash: What does a typical home inspection entail?

Kiley: A routine inspection involves looking at the wall cladding, trim, windows, doors. Electrical system, plumbing, crawl space, attic, fixtures, grading and vegetation, foundations.  Basically, top to bottom.

Trash & Stash: What are some more general tips for folks preparing for a move?

Papandrea: Declutter, paint interior of home, work on having a great curb appeal/landscaping, proper staging.

Declutter, paint interior of home, work on having great curb appeal.

Bonnie Papandrea

Helms: Declutter, declutter, declutter. Use clean white bedding and towels in the bathroom, remove any trace of pets (pet beds, bowls, etc.), make sure all lightbulbs are working and do a deep clean on your home. 

Trash & Stash: What about depersonalizing a home/space?

Helms: I touched on it a little before, but one- or two-family pictures is okay. More than that should be removed.

For safety reasons I recommend not have children’s names on the wall, etc. Also, any cremation urns or the like should be removed prior.

Trash & Stash: Why should a home inspection also be part of someone's plan when they are getting ready to move?

Kiley: Again, it saves them from any surprises.  The stress of moving and the large purchase, why not let a set of trained eyes take that pressure off?

The stress of moving... why not let a set of trained eyes take that pressure off?

Robert Kiley

Trash & Stash: The timing of selling a home can be unpredictable - how can sellers be prepared to move at the drop of a hat?

Papandrea: Be able to store some of their belongings and have a temporary place to lease that might not accommodate all of their belongings.

(Trash & Stash can help with that too. Click here to find out about and pre-reserve our soon-to-launch microstorage service.)

Trash & Stash: What are some of the most common problems/fixes for houses that are being put on the market?

Home inspector checking hot water heater

Kiley: That really varies with the home. A new home will have less issues than a home built in 1970. So, there are no “common” issues, each home is different.

Trash & Stash: Okay, but what are some of the most common, but easily correctable, mistakes people make when staging their house for sale?

Helms: They think they need every space filled and decorated. Less is more when it comes to staging. Too much clutter will make it hard for buyers to see themselves in the home. 

Trash & Stash: We’re sensing a theme and it has to do with clutter…and with that in mind, what about yard/garage/moving sales – are those recommended to reduce excessive stuff?

Papandrea: It’s a lot of work. If you’re up to that’s fine, but you will definitely have stuff left over that’ll need to be donated.

Helms: Make a list of current items you have in your home that will work in your new home. If they won’t work, sell or donate them before moving.

Trash & Stash: When it comes to packing up belongings, is labelling boxes of items packed recommended?

Papandrea: This is a must. You don’t know how long they’ll be boxed up and I’m sure you’ll need some of your belongings.

Trash & Stash: What about logging an inventory?

Papandrea: Absolutely. Thsi way you know what you packed and what you receive when you move into your next home.

Trash & Stash: If a seller can only stage one room, what would you recommend it be?

Helms: The living room.

Trash & Stash: Why the living room?

Helms: Buyers spend most of their time in the kitchen but usually the living room is off the kitchen, so it really makes a statement.

Trash & Stash: Let’s end on a light note – Robert, what is the craziest thing your crew has uncovered while performing a home inspection?

Kiley: At the top of an attic ladder, there was a 7 ft long black snake, who had just eaten something laying across the trusses.

Start preparing for your move. Get a free estimate on junk removing, staging & moving help.

Well, that’s a wrap on the debut Trash & Stash Roundtable, please stay tuned for future installments. If you have any recommended topics or panelists for future discussions, please send us a line to [email protected].

Give & Save

Get 10%* Off junk removal & moving help when you donate $25 or more to the Isabella Santos Foundation. Help increase the survival rate for kids with rare pediatric cancers.
Special offer

*Up to $100 discounted from Junk Removal & Moving Help total.

Photo of Isabella Santos

Give & Save

Get 10%* Off junk removal & moving help when you donate $25 or more to the Isabella Santos Foundation. Help increase the survival rate for kids with rare pediatric cancers.

*Up to $100 discounted from Junk Removal & Moving Help total.

Cameron Ungar

Cameron Ungar

Junk removal was not my first career choice. It was my best choice though. I used to run events for a living. I did that for almost 15 years until a global pandemic launched me into the junk removal business. I’m an expert in operations, team building & creating incredible customer experiences. And... I love helping people simplify their lives.

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