The Home Selling Process Part One: Decluttering

The Home Selling Process Part One: Decluttering

Millions of Americans have caught Marie Kondo fever, spending their weekends weeding through possessions and only keeping things that “spark joy.” REALTORS® couldn’t be happier about this new trend, since decluttering is a critical first step in the home selling process. 

REALTOR® Erin Klinger with The Laforet Team of Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood says decluttering has several benefits that help a property sell faster and for top dollar. 

“It can make a home seem larger, keep buyers from getting distracted, and help them imagine themselves in the space,” she said. “Not only that, but it’s also the easiest way to alleviate stress when you’re ready to move.” 

If listing is in your near future, now is a good time to jump on the tidying bandwagon. To keep the process from becoming overwhelming, it’s best to tackle one room at a time. Here are some tips to guide you through each space. 

The Kitchen
The heart of the home is a great place to start. Take everything out of your cupboards, drawers, pantry, etc., and sort items into four categories: toss, donate, keep, and storage. 

It’s a good idea to toss things like food containers without a matching lid, chipped or cracked dishware, and threadbare or torn towels, dishcloths, or oven mitts. Throw out ground spices that are older than six months and any whole spices older than a year. Use the six-month rule for pantry items as well. 

When it’s time to put everything back, keep items organized by using drawer dividers, baskets, and bins. Try to find a home for everything so countertops are clear, except for things you use daily, like a coffee pot or a stoneware container with cooking utensils. 

The Living Room
Electronics, books, blankets, children’s and pet’s’s easy for things to pile up in this space. But, when you’re trying to sell, a buyer needs to envision their family spending time in the living room. That can be difficult when it’s full of a homeowner’s personal belongings. 

Unnecessary furniture can make the room seem small. Also, keep tables clear except for a decoration like books, a vase or a colorful object. 

“Decluttering also means depersonalizing,” said Klinger. “Things like family photos can be a distraction for buyers and possibly prevent them emotionally connecting to the home.”

The Bathroom
Just like you did in the other rooms, pull everything out and toss items you no longer use, including old prescription medicine (look for appropriate drop off locations). 

When everything is clean and the garbage is out, find a home for the remaining items and keep the counters clear. To help organize, consider adding a lazy susan under the sink or some baskets in the linen closet.  

The Bedroom
There is a reason most bedroom doors stay closed to guests. You don’t want anyone to see that pile of clothes on your unmade bed. But, when you’re selling, your bedroom needs to present as a relaxing master retreat. 

First, go through your clothes. Donate any items you haven’t worn in the past year and get rid of those socks with a hole in the toe. Organizing your clothes makes it easier to maintain a decluttered and tidy lifestyle, and this is especially important when your home needs to stay “show ready” for buyers. 

“Think about little touches in the closet like hanging your clothes in color order,” said Klinger. “Not only does it look nice and make things easier to find, but it tells buyers that you take care of your belongings and that gives them reassurance that you’ve taken care of the home.” 

The Garage
For many of us, this may be the hardest space to declutter because it’s often where we put everything we don’t know what to do with. 

When it’s time to put things away, vertical units and overhead storage are popular choices for items you only use occasionally, and small cabinets and pegboards can help keep garden accessories and tools from looking messy. 

Decluttering is a lot of work, but well worth it in the end. Your home will be easier to keep clean for showings, and when it’s time to move to your next house, you’ll have already done a lot of the legwork. 

Klinger says sellers often underestimate just how important this step is, but says those who follow their REALTOR®’s decluttering advice will definitely see the rewards. 

“I had clients a couple of years ago who did not want to remove their personal decor and memorabilia displayed around the house,” she said. “After each showing all I heard buyers talk about was the homeowner’s stuff...not the house. Once they decluttered, the home sold within a week.” 

If you’re thinking of selling your home and would like some expert advice, visit the website.

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