Decluttering Your Home Before Selling? Follow These Dos and Don’ts For Best Results

note pad with reminder to declutter

When you put your home on the market, you accept that there are certain factors which could possibly affect your listing. Factors that are simply out of your control.

One factor you can control? The look and feel of your home.

A huge reason people decide to look for a new house is for more space. Therefore, you must do what you can to show them just how much space your home has to offer. You must begin the decluttering process.

Decluttering isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. So, move ‘declutter’ to the top your pre-sale to-do list.

Not only will you give potential buyers a good idea of how much space they’ll have for their own things, but you’ll also cut down on the amount of stuff you have to move into your new home. It’s a win-win situation if you ask us!  

When beginning your decluttering process follow these dos and don’ts for the best results.

Do: Take It One Room At A Time

Limit your decluttering projects to one room (or area of a room) at a time. This will allow you to stay focused and keep you from feeling overwhelmed by the bigger, whole-house decluttering task.

Areas of your home that likely need more of your declutter attention include:

  • Pantry- Go through spices, donate extra canned goods, and toss outdated food.
  • Kitchen cabinets- There’s no need to keep all of those holiday coffee mugs you’ve acquired over the years. Or the small kitchen appliances you got as wedding gifts but only use once in a blue moon.
  • Bedroom closets- Be absolutely ruthless. Toss any piece of clothing that is old, torn, not worn, outdated or too small. 
  • Garage, basement, and attic“the black holes of clutter” or the “clutter halls of fame”, these areas of your home are prone to clutter. Old tools, paint cans, the kids’ sports equipment–purge it all.
  • Toy roomA little tip from the decluttering pros: do not sift through toys while the kids are around.

Cluttered rooms and areas will vary from home to home. We’re willing to bet you already have a few areas of your home in mind. So what are you waiting for?

Don’t: Let Any Bit Of Guilt Set In

Typically what prevents people from successfully decluttering their home is guilt.

Perhaps a friend brought you home a tacky souvenir from their cruise last summer. Or an aunt gifted you an ugly sweater that you know you’ll never wear, but feel obligated to keep. While these items certainly have memories tied to them you shouldn’t feel responsible for keeping everything.

Let go of the guilt you have towards getting rid of items and watch the decluttering process become a heck of a lot easier. Plus, you’ll be creating room for new memories!

Do: Label Your Piles

In order to declutter the right way, create a few different piles. You’ll want to divvy your things up into “keep”, “donate”, “recycle”, “sell”, or “trash” piles.

When deciding whether or not to keep an item, honestly ask yourself these questions:

  • How often do I use this? Do I have a plan to use this again?
  • If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?
  • Will the item have a place in my new house? (Physically and style wise?)
  • Am I holding on to this for sentimental value?
  • Is the only thing that’s keeping me from disposing of this that I don’t want to waste money?
  • Do I have multiples of this?
  • Am I saving this “just in case”?
  • Am I holding onto this broken item to fix one day?
  • Could something else I own do the same job?
  • Is this worth the time and money I would spend cleaning or storing it?

If you’re even the slightest bit hesitant about an item, put it in a different pile. With so many self-selling sites and places looking for donations, someone else is bound to get more use out of your clutter than you do. You can find your local Goodwill donation center here!

Don’t: Do It Alone

The clutter made its way into your home with the help of your family so don’t think you can declutter it alone. Find a way to get your family excited about decluttering. Here are a few tips from:

  • Lead by example. Show them that getting rid of things doesn’t have to be difficult and that there are actually many benefits to doing so.
  • Make it fun! Put some tunes on and have fun together while you get down to business.
  • Offer to show them how. Perhaps they just don’t know where to start. Make it simple and give clear instructions!
  • Offer an incentive to declutter. Pizza and declutter party anybody? Or a family run yard sale!

As professional and experienced real estate agents, we know how important the look and feel of the interior of your home is throughout the selling process.

We’ve seen first hand the difference decluttering, among other pre-sale tactics, can make in both the length of time your house spends on the market and the price you get for it. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression!

That’s why we offer various services to help you check all of your pre-sale task boxes. See how Spencer Properties confidently ensures that your house feels like a home for any prospective buyer.