8 Steps to Decluttering Your Home Before Selling
Decluttering your home is the most important first step you can take in getting your home ready for market – not tomention it’s incredibly freeing!
Decluttering is the act of removing unnecessary items from a space and its surroundings. The goal of decluttering is that the home becomes and feels more open and spacious. Your potential buyer is trying to imagine what the house could look like with their stuff in it. The less you introduce into the space that obstructs your buyer’s dream, the better.
8 places in your house to declutter
Before we get deep into the particulars, here’s the main, overarching focus: Clear walkways and clean surfaces
Ensure that walkways in the home are open and unobstructed (furniture blocking natural walkways can make the spaceseem small). Surfaces, like kitchen counters or tables, should be clean and clear of anything unnecessary. There shouldn’tbe any mail, magazines, or paperwork floating around, or knickknacks cluttering up your shelves.
Now, let’s get to the details.
1. Declutter the kitchen
In all the rooms, you’ll want to take a look at surfaces (tables, counters, dressers, etc.) and make sure they’re free and clear of any extras.
Especially in the kitchen, look out for loose papers, open envelopes, old receipts laying around – things that take unnecessarily take up vital visual space. Clearing off kitchen counters can go a long way in making even a small kitchen feel more usable.
Put away or store any unused appliances. Box up that Magic Bullet, and maybe even the Kitchenaid. You don’t need to gooverboard here – if you drink coffee every morning, don’t stress yourself by having to put it away and take it out every day.Leave the essentials out, but only the essentials. Everything else should be boxed up, which will help you prep for your move anyways.
Remember to check the cabinets, pantry, and fridge. This is not the time to take everything on the counter and just slide it into a drawer. Go through your drawers, evaluating what utensils can be boxed, donated, or tossed. Look for expired or unwanted foods that can be thrown-out or given away.
2. Declutter the bathrooms
While we won’t be getting into cleaning on this particular post, when it comes to the bathroom, decluttering and cleaning come fairly hand-in-hand, as you discover the lovely nuances of a well-used bathroom. But there’s plenty to be done beforecleaning.
Again, counter space is vital. Utilize any drawers you might have. Throw out that old toothbrush from the dentist you used one time. If you can consolidate everything into a toiletry bag, even better. If a prospective buyer looks through drawers in bathrooms, the last thing they want to find is a drawer that won’t open because it has 3 curling irons in it.
3. Declutter the bedrooms
Look at nightstands, dressers, armoires – any pieces of furniture that are prone to have things tossed on them before bed. File away old bills or notices, recycle past receipts, put away loose ear rings and pens.
One key here that hasn’t been discussed in the previous 2 rooms is decoration. You’ll likely need to box up family-specific decorations and keep all other decorations to a minimum. If you love having 29 candles on your dresser, reduce it down to 3. If you have 8 pictures on a single wall, take it down to between 1 and 3 to give a very open aesthetic.
The goal is not to make it look vacant, but to give the rooms a sense of openness, allowing the buyer to imagine their own decorations and items filling the space.
Just like the kitchen cabinets, remember the closets! While people probably (hopefully) won’t look through your dresser drawers, they’ll likely look in closets to get an idea of the space. Minimize items that are applicable to that season, and box up off-season items (again, getting you that much closer to being move-ready!). Don’t forget about shoes – make sure those are presented neatly and not disheveled.
4. Declutter the office
The infamously cluttered office. Our favorite.
This room is definitely at the top for filing away papers. You could even scan documents into a computer or scan them with a phone and begin organizing digitally to reduce even more clutter.
Don’t let your time be consumed by this – remember, you’ve got lots on your plate with selling and preparing a home. But seeing loose papers, documents, and bills will remind your buyer of their own work and finances, which can inspire stress. And you don’t want them to correlate work-related stress with a prospective home.
5. Declutter the family room or living room
This one’s pretty easy, as most people know how to make their main living space look comfortable. However, you may beoverlooking common things like decorations. Sometimes decorations can be overbearing, so try to look at your decor on tables, walls, mantels, and TV stands with fresh eyes, asking yourself how a stranger would see those spaces.
6. Declutter the entryway
This is often where shoes, backpacks, coats, and hats take the scene. If you use these items every day, don’t worry aboutneeding to pack them away every time there’s a showing. Instead, use that energy to consider ways those things can bepresented in a neat and tidy way.
Perhaps you can minimize your coat rack to only 1 or 2 coats and hang a backup up there to keep it off the floor. Or find abench that can double as shoe storage underneath. You’re looking for minimal, neat, and orderly.
7. Declutter the laundry room
This space is often a great repository for trash. Even stained or damaged clothes that need to be thrown out. Find spaces to put laundry detergent (hopefully you’ll still be needing that before you move out, but we won’t judge) that are out of the way. Go through boxes, cabinets, and closets in this space, as this and the garage are hot spots for junk.
8. Declutter the garage
Lastly, tackle the garage. Items you may find here are broken toys, tools, or unused sporting equipment. Do yourself a favor – be honest with yourself and get rid of the things you won’t have any use for, then organize the rest.
If you’re trying to reduce expenses by storing some of your boxed-up household items in the garage instead of a storage unit, just make sure that it’s done in a neatly organized fashion. Most prospective buyers will be understanding that you’re in the process of moving, but the space shows better if things are tidy. And for your own sanity, it would be nice not to have to climb over a mountain of stuff any time you need to get into the garage.
Decluttering is a great opportunity to simplify. By passing along all the things taking up space in your house – and life – you’ll feel a sense of freedom and be more agile when it’s time to move.
So, go for it – donate, recycle, or dispose of those unwanted items. Not only will it likely help your house sell faster (and for more value) but will ease your mind and help you with your upcoming move!