How to clean out a house (hint: Start now)

Personal Finance

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Moving boxes sit stacked outside of a home in Princeton, Illinois.

The simplest way is to classify your belongings into four separate categories: keep, donate, dispose and sell, according to Pickett. “That starts to crystallize the process,” she said.

She cautions those cleaning house to lower their expectations of what items might be worth, like the wedding china, for example. “The kids won’t want it and it won’t be worth anything,” Pickett said. “You’d be better off donating it.”

The same goes for big oak cabinets or other once-pricey pieces of furniture that don’t hold a candle to the current preference toward Ikea.

As far as reaping some return, jewelry or mid-century modern furniture are your best bets, Pickett said.

And when it comes to the items that are particularly hard to part with, Pickett suggests taking a photo and filing it away. At the end of the day, “honor the history of the possessions,” but don’t feel like you need to keep the objects themselves, she said.

“The stuff that you have just weighs you down,” Pickett said.

“On the Money” airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.

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