Whether you’re getting ready to sell your own home or gearing up to tackle the home of someone who has since moved on, decluttering is an overwhelming task. Decluttering isn’t always a necessary step on the road to selling your home, but it is a requirement if you want to sell your home for the best price.
Experts believe that the more impersonal you can make your home–while still presenting it as homely–is the best way to attract buyers. That means you need to look at your surfaces and often even the furniture you have in each room and form a plan about how to declutter the space.
Below, we’ll help you create your plan and give you plenty of tips to make decluttering your home as easy as possible.
Grab a notebook and a pen and get ready to make a ton of lists – you may be ready to jump into decluttering but a plan will make everything go more smoothly and will ensure you have a visual representation of what you’ve accomplished. On each page of a small notebook, or dividing a larger page in half, write down all the rooms in the home.
Below that, start noting down all the different things you need to tackle. You’ll probably not want to do this but you’ll be able to cross all of these things off as you go which can be essential if visual progress is slow.
For example, your list for the kitchen may look like this:
- Clean and tidy cabinet 1
- Clean and tidy cabinet 2
- Clean and tidy cabinet 3 (and so on)
- Wash the outsides of the cabinets and the handles
- Clean the oven
- Clean the stove
- Clear the countertop and clean
- Clear/tidy the pantry and clean
… and so on. Most of us will clean as we go, but if things are already fairly clean it’s just cluttered, then focus only on the cupboards and surfaces you need to declutter. Remember that potential buyers will look in any storage areas that are staying with the house, such as the pantry or a walk-in wardrobe, so try not to simply move everything into them!
Most of us aren’t going to simply throw out everything we’re decluttering, so make room for a donate, sell, and store pile, as well as a trash bag for anything you don’t want. A storage container can be an inexpensive solution to having a lot of furniture and possessions you want to keep but will be best moved out of your home while it sells.
Try not to let these piles build up for too long so you can continue to declutter the home rather than simply moving it into the hallway.
For extraneous soft furnishings and clothes, consider investing in some vacuum-pack bags so you can store them in a neat condensed pile rather than presenting overflowing hooks or wardrobes.
Decluttering will be more important in small spaces, since the clutter will only make those spaces look smaller. Take a look at your hallways and consider removing pieces of furniture that block the flow of traffic. Try to only keep the shoes you actually need by the door.
In small rooms and spaces, consider removing and storing extra seats if you can. Many of us will add one too many armchairs or a few extra dining chairs so there’s somewhere for all of our family members to sit when they visit, but it will make your home look smaller than it really is.
De-personalizing your home will help potential buyers envision it as theirs, so consider hiding or packing away personal photographs and other identifiers before viewings. This could be as simple as moving them to a drawer or cupboard while a viewing takes place, or you could pack them away until you’ve moved to your new home.
Before a viewing, it’s also worth putting away your toiletries and anything you need daily that creates personal clutter. It’s these little things that say to someone viewing the home, “someone owns this space,” so have somewhere to put these if you can. If not, just make sure the bottles are clean and arranged neatly.
Many of us use rooms for multiple activities or for something it wasn’t originally used for. For example, a guest bedroom that becomes a storage area for your home business or the dining room as an extra bedroom. If you can, try to stage these rooms as their original purpose, unless you (and maybe your realtor) believe the new use will be more appealing.
For example, a room full of stock for your business that was once a bedroom will probably be best staged as a bedroom, but if your smallest bedroom has been turned into a beautiful home office, you can leave it as-is.
If decluttering a space is overwhelming and you just can’t get started or aren’t sure how to make progress quickly, you’ve got a few options. First, you can hire a professional organizer, declutterer, or house stager to help you. Many can guide you through the process and help you store away anything you want to keep. Professional organizers can teach you skills or set up systems for you that can transfer to your new home.
Your other option is to sell to an investor. Investors aren’t interested in living in a home themselves, and because they buy and sell or rent properties professionally, they can look past clutter and personal decor choices so you don’t need to do any packing until you move.
If you’re selling a home in Massachusetts and don’t want the stress or expense of decluttering, we can help. We buy houses for cash in as-is condition, meaning you also don’t need to worry about doing repairs before selling your home. All you need to do is reach out to us with a few details about your home and we’ll give you our best cash offer. You’re under no obligation to accept, but if you do, we can close in as little as 2 weeks if you’re ready to do so.