You’re finally ready to sell your home. You’ve been dreading the decluttering process, but you know it has to be done before you put your house on the market. How do you tackle this daunting task?
The process of selling a home can be stressful enough on its own. If you’re like most people, though, there are spaces crowded with personal stuff and boxes in every room that have been collecting dust since you moved in years ago. To make matters worse, when you finally do decide to sell your home those spaces will become a potential turn off for prospective buyers.
That’s why decluttering is one of the most important steps in preparing your home for sale because buyers want to see an organized, open and clean space with plenty of storage. Here are some great tips on how to declutter like a pro so you can get started today!
Plan the Work
Imagine. What would your home would look like decluttered? Walk outside, take a deep breath, walk back in your home as if you were a first time visitor. What would you notice as decorative vs personal stuff? Decluttering means minimizing as much of what appears to be personal vs universally decorative.
List. Go room by room and make a list of everything that doesn’t belong there- whether it’s old clothing or just stuff from a previous move that never made it into a box. Also list things that strike you as clutter and personal that are not essential for living.
Consider things you have been storing but really don’t need at the moment. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate. Take clothing for example, we recommend that if you haven’t worn it in 18 months, it can go for now. Later, you can consider donating your old stuff for a good cause, such as a local women’s and children’s shelter, homeless shelter or the Animal Humane Society Thrift Store!
The hardest part of decluttering is deciding what you’re willing to part with. But, we’ll get to that later. Right now, we’re trying to list every non-essential eyesore in each room in your home. Here’s some things to think about to get you started:
- Declutter closets, cabinets, and drawers
- Toss out old clothes that are worn or don’t fit
- Think of items you can sell on the various online marketplaces
- Clean up the garage so it’s easier for potential buyers to see your car parked
- Remove personal photos from the walls- this will help you detach from your home and make it seem more like a business transaction than an emotional attachment
- Get rid of clutter lying around – this includes old books, magazines, newspapers, and videos/DVDs
Migrate. Once you have your general list, we recommend using the migration method. Choose a decent size space in your home as a staging ground. Usually a living room or family room closest to the front door or garage exit will work best. These are spaces that can most easily be lived without during this process and tend to be the least cluttered already.
Rearrange the furniture a bit to create the most usable space in that area. Remember, this is a temporary staging area. Once you’re done, this space will go back to normal in no time.
Then you migrate everything on your list in each room in the home into that space. Having a list makes it easier for friends and family members to help. What’s great about the migration method is that before you’ve actually gotten rid of or packed up anything, you’ll already notice what a room can look like all done! You’ll have the satisfying feeling of progress even though you’ve just started.
Separate. This is the hard part. Take stock of all items in your staging ground and group together similar items: clothes, books, toys, etc., then make several piles: keep/sell/donate/recycle/throw away.
Now comes the fun part- sorting through those piles! You’ll need lots of boxes. What you plan to keep, box up and put in storage. It can be tough at times but the end results can be very rewarding and make it so much easier to sell your home.
Work the Plan
Don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s important to begin this process in a way that best fits your personality and time available. If it’s not too much, you can sprint through it all at once with help from friends and family. Start early and don’t quit until your home is decluttered.
If you have a lot to accomplish and time is limited, you can opt for breaking up the work into manageable and reasonable stages or goals. Each goal could be a specific room or kinds of spaces, such as, “Goal #1 all closets and bathrooms”. Allot a specific amount of time and assign a date to each goal. Then simply follow the process we’ve listed above for each goal. Imagine a clutter-free home, Make a List, Migrate the clutter out, and Separate your belonging to where they should end up!
Selling a home can be stressful, but there’s no need to add more stress by filling it with clutter. Learning how to declutter your house before you put it on the market is something that could make all of the difference in attracting buyers and getting top dollar for your property.