Home & Garden

Hilburn named president of Home Builders Association

David Hilburn of South Capital Group Inc. and Midland Mortgage Corp. will serve as president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia in 2010.

He has been a member of the association since 1986 and has served on the association's board of directors since 2003. Hillburn has been active in association events, including serving as chairman of the Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show and the Parade of Homes.

The group's 2010 board members are: Wade McGuinn, McGuinn Group, vice president; Hal Von Nessen, RESH Marketing, associate vice president; Tony Thompson, Remodeling Services Unlimited Inc., treasurer; and Carl J. Berry II, Sycamore Development, secretary.

Hilburn will be installed as president Dec. 5 at the association's annual Holiday Ball. All new board members will begin their terms in January.

How to de-clutter your home

In a rush to sell your home, but can't imagine the work it will take to de-clutter?

Here are some strategies for homeowners who must act swiftly to get their property clutter free and ready for sale.

- Quickly envision your home as strangers would like to see it.

Nowadays, nearly everyone planning to buy a home wants a place that feels open and airy - where they can get a fresh start on life, said Cynthia Braun, affiliated with the National Association of Professional Organizers. You convey that to prospective purchasers with a property that's lean on furnishings and neat.

- Follow the "last year rule" religiously.

With the exemption of highly prized family items, such as photos or heirloom jewelry, very little should be retained by your household that has not been used within the prior 12 months, says Michelle Minch, the owner of Moving Mountains Design, which helps home sellers de-clutter and then stage their properties for sale.

The "last year rule" is especially helpful, Minch says, when culling through closets crammed with clothing and shoes.

"Your closets and cabinets should be no more than 50 percent full, or people looking at your house with think it lacks enough storage space," says Minch, who is affiliated with the Real Estate Staging Association.

- Consolidate your memorabilia.

No one in the home staging or organizing fields should suggest you dispense with items that hold particular meaning to you. Rather, they should recommend you pare down your memorabilia collections.

One quick way to set limits on volume of sentimental items is to create and fill a single "memory box" for each person in the household.

- Use small pieces of weekday time to build momentum.

As Minch notes, few home sellers can block out enough time for de-cluttering during the week. But most can allocate about an hour after work each day to clean out a drawer, for instance.

- Discover the instant gratification of online giveaway programs.

You can always give your extra items to charity, such as Goodwill. A still faster way to unload is with an online posting.

For instance, turn to the Freecycle Network (www.freecycle.org), a nonprofit movement of people giving (and receiving) free items from other residents in their area.