Step 1: Declutter Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell your home….now what?!

You’ve likely already contacted a REALTOR®, or are in the process, and you already know the first thing they will tell you: time to depersonalize and declutter your home.

What does this mean to you, and where to start?

In readying your home for sale, the most important influence you will personally have on the price it will attain in your local market is the showing condition. You’ve heard it before, but you need to depersonalize your home so a Buyer can imagine themselves living there, not focus on your photos of your beautiful family. This process is hard for some and they can’t place their finger on why, but you are transforming your home into a house, one that any other person would consider living in.

So, here are a few tips to preparing your home.

  • Take it a room at a time and look around. What items do you see that you no longer use? Can you donate them or sell them? Make a pile.
  • Pre-pack: anything you want to keep that is smaller than a basketball needs to be packed away. Small “knick-knacks” may actually have value, but they clutter the landscape. You are moving anyway. If you’re sure you need to keep it, pack it in a box, label it and place in the garage. If it’s an item you use regularly, can you place them in a decorative basket on a shelf, in a closet or under a bed?
  • clutterTake down posters and smaller framed items, leave up only a few larger framed items.
  • Stay on task and don’t go through everything individually and get sentimental. Collect like-kind items and decide what to do with the whole lot together. Keep, pack or donate.
  • Take a photo of the room when your done – how does it look? Remember, Buyers are judging your house by the online photos and decided whether or not to make an appointment based on the photos.
  • Tackle the closets last. For clothes closets, consider have you worn everything in there in the last year? Be honest. If the answer is no, donate it. How long have you been hanging on to those skinny jeans you will fit into again one day? Donate them. Even if (when!) they do fit you again, they will be out of style and you likely won’t wear them anyway. We all know closet and storage space is a selling point, and we likely all think our houses need more. If you think so, so will a Buyer. Especially if it looks like it! Organize what’s left. Not only will it look better and larger, but will be easier to live with (you just might do this in your next home, too).
  • Evaluate the number of “pre-packed” boxes now stacked in your garage. If you can no longer use the garage for your car, or neatly organize them so it is presentable, rent a storage locker. Tip: rent one the size of a moving van. Does it all fit?

Once you have decluttered your home and pre-packed, you are ready for the next step: cleaning.