That appears to be the reoccurring question. I am currently sitting here on my porch, while the once in a life time solar eclipse is supposedly happening above me; thinking about what should be my next important blog topic. Which made think of the question that I receive from many clients that is "what is the most important thing I can do to prepare for your visit?".
No, I'm not going to give you any "homework", but what I am going to ask of you is to get into an organization mindset and ask yourself, what kind of things do I want to keep, what do I want to donate, what can I sell and what can I just get rid of?
If you hear these questions and you immediately think "just get rid of everything", you're the best kind of client! (Just kidding). Everyone is different. There are keepers and there are purgers. If you are like my dad, you are a keeper, and most things hold some form of an emotional value. If you are like my best friends dad, you are a purger and no only few things are worthy of keeping.
So which end of the spectrum are you? Which am I? I am right in the middle. I am unattached to a lot of items and I am willing to purge, show me my old art work and I won't bat an eye, toss it out. However, certain things hold a strong emotional value to me that I probably won't get rid of for a long time. The things I always keep are items that someone else has given me. This ranges from a literal rock taken off the ground in my college town that my friend wrote "don't let this rock weigh you down" and put in my backpack... to a small Eiffel Tower key chain (that I may or may not have 3 of)... to a beautiful handmade tapestry.
I will never ever ever tell you to get rid of something that you don't want to get rid of, which is why I ask you to think about these kinds of things before my visit. If you are seeing items for the first time in 10 years when we go through the space, you may get re-emotionally attached and want to keep it, when in reality... you haven't remembered it or seen it for 10 years, so it should probably be on it's way out, which is why I am asking you to acknowledge that this may happen and be prepared.
Oh, and garbage bags. You should stock up on garbage bags for my visit.
Here are some tips for each category:
To Keep: something irreplaceable and useful, something you absolutely love (brings back specific memories), something you use often, pictures.
To Donate: clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, food not expired but you will never eat, something you haven't used in 3+ years but may be valuable to someone else.
To Sell: Limit this to furniture units, small inexpensive items are not worth your time or energy to sell. If you can afford to donate them instead, do that.
To Trash: broken, irreversibly dirty, expired food/drinks, items not worth anything and you can't use them, items personal to you but you can't use them, over-worn clothes and shoes, something you have not used in 3+ years but is not valuable to someone else.