You’ve decided to sell your home but suddenly you realize there’s a lot to get done. All those repairs you’ve wanted to get done now take priority. You might even paint or do some minor remodeling. But before you do any of these things, declutter. From the closets to the garage to the backyard, the less stuff you have to deal with, the easier life will be for you.
Consider these astounding clutter statistics:
- 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have, but 78% do not know what to do with it
- Women’s stress levels are directly proportional to the amount of stuff in their homes
- Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework in the average home
With less overwhelm, less stress, and less housework on the horizon, let’s learn how to declutter to sell your home.
1. Declutter Your Kitchen
Less is more in every room, but no more so than the kitchen. The kitchen is the most important room of the house in home sales. 69% of home buyers say that the kitchen is the biggest selling point. So start here first on your declutter journey. Keep in the mind the primary goal: help people envision themselves cooking and entertaining in your space.
- Remove as much as possible from the counters. Buyers want room to spread out and create all sorts of yummy food and beverages.
- Simplify above the cabinets. Don’t store extra dishes, appliances, or cereal boxes up there or on top of the refrigerator. Keep it clean, elegant, and spacious.
- Remove any personal items from your refrigerator, including pictures, coloring pages, grocery lists, or school schedules. This allows the buyer more freedom to envision her own family in the space.
- Straighten up the pantry and declutter pots and pans and dishes. You want buyers to think there’s more than enough space for their things, not see how cramped you are in the space and wonder if theirs will fit.
- Keep the sink and appliances shining before every showing.
2. Declutter Bookcases
Your bookcase can be a treasure trove of fun things, not just books. But how you display your collections makes a difference. Leave enough space to for the eye to rest from shelf to shelf and keep things balanced. Remember, the rule of 3 can turn a simple display into a piece of art.
3. Fireplace Mantel Decluttering
Your fireplace can easily be the focal point of whatever room it’s in. But when staging your mantel, you want to make sure you’re featuring the architecture, not the items on the mantle.
- Less is more. Don’t overfill your mantle. Save that for your new house.
- Choose one main focal point like an art piece or a mirror and add accents around it. (A set of 2 or 3 arts pieces can make a statement as well.) Consider leaning it against the wall rather than nails or a heavy anchor to keep it in place. The new homeowners will appreciate this!
- Follow the rule of thirds to create a pleasing artistic statement.
- Avoid the big, black square. When a fireplace isn’t in use, it can look like a big black hole. Stage the space with vases, plants, or birch logs.
- Consider a bit of color on the mantel that works well with the other neutrals in the room.
4. Declutter Nightstands
Real life often brings a lot of stuff to your nightstand. Books, photos, chargers, drinking glasses, hair ties, and other things. Declutter and simplify what’s on your nightstands before a showing. Your bedroom should feel like a relaxing escape to potential buyers. All they want to do is relax and imagine themselves quietly drifting off to sleep. Make sure every surface in your bedroom is clutter-free, the lights are soft, and everything feels fresh and sumptuous. (Consider these tips for staging your bath.)
5. Declutter All the Kid Spaces
If you have kids, you know their stuff can be difficult to keep things orderly. Buckets and bins can be a simple solution for tucking away toys and clothes. If you’re overrun with toys, work with your child to decide what to pack away until after you move. You want their room to feel like there’s ample space to play and grow in.
Don’t forget to move their belongings out of the living room and other areas in the home. And if you need to, spruce up their homework space so it looks like an area where anyone would love to work from home. (You can find a few ideas about work and homework setups here.)
6. Declutter Closets
Like it or not, potential buyers are going to look in your closets. And your cabinets, and potentially even if your refrigerator if your appliances are staying with your home. These areas are a golden opportunity to showcase how much storage space your home offers. But it will only work if that space is not jam-packed with stuff from stem to stern. It also assures the potential buyer that you care about taking care of your home and your belongings.
Here are some general tips to make it easier:
- Start by removing everything from your closets. Make it your goal to only put back half of what you took out.
- Plan to donate, sell or recycle what you don’t need. If you must keep it but don’t need it until after you move, pack it away.
- Consider additional lighting, so it’s easy to find things in the closets. (Painting them white helps in this as well. Learn more about wall color here.)
Consider these tips for specific rooms:
- In the bedrooms, display only this season’s clothes. This reduces the amount of clothing on display and allows space between clothes. Get matching hangers for each closet. Arrange by color. Store loose items like scarves in baskets. Leave nothing on the floor.
- In the linen closet, make the closet feel luxurious! Put cotton balls and beauty items in pretty jars or baskets. Group your soaps together. Pack away most towels but keep out a fluffy set you use only for showings.
When you declutter these 6 areas, you’ll be well on your way to a faster and often higher priced sale.
And if you feel like this is all too much, let’s talk! Home staging is definitely worth the investment. And it’s our specialty, from pre-sale remodeling to arranging everything just right, which leaves you with a few less things on your plate. Learn more about how we do it here.