Nobody likes a living room without any living space, particularly potential buyers. While we all know that too much stuff is a big turn-off for potential buyers, it’s hard to let go of those things…those memories. The seashells collected after a decade of family trips, the coffee mugs from every port-of-entry, to the clown collection that started innocently but now takes up the entire living room. Taking necessary measures to declutter your home is essential when selling but where do we start?
The problem is when we want to sell our home our clutter prevents people from seeing the potential. Remember, your not selling your memories or your experience—you are selling another homeowner on the possibility of making their own memories. Therefore, ensuring you take proper steps to declutter your home can be essential in getting that winning offer.
To help we’ve compiled the top seven steps to declutter your home, so you can list your home for sale with confidence.
#1. Start early
It’s never too early to start the decluttering process. That’s because decluttering often takes much, much longer than you would expect. Thinking of listing your home for sale in March? Use January and February to declutter and update your home. Start early, be persistent and before you know it you won’t recognize your own house (and that’s a good thing).
#2. Get organized
As soon as you start, you’ll probably notice your biggest nemesis: disorganization. It’s one reason why many people will trot out the cliche: A disorganized home is a cluttered home. The key to decluttering and getting your home organized is to stop sticking things in temporary locations. Every day, make a commitment to find a home—a permanent home—for three to five items. To help, buy, closet organizers and extra shelving, just don’t fall into the trap of buying these items only to create more junk boxes. The key is to use dedicated storage solutions and a permanent place for that storage solution to create a tidy space for all that you own.
#3. Get tough on yourself
By asking this question and being honest with your answers, it might surprise you how many things you have that aren’t as useful as you once thought. For instance, did you buy those plastic contraptions that allow you to store five hangers in one closet space? How often do you really use that contraption? More to the point, how often do you really wear that item of clothing? Get tough and ask yourself: Do I need it? Do I use it? Only keep something if you answer yes to these questions—and never keep if the answer is closer to, “well, in the future,” or “just maybe.”
There are lots of items we tend to collect that we need to let go. That encyclopedia set you never open? Ditch it. The board games you haven’t played in a decade? Gift them.
No one is asking you to donate grandma’s precious heirlooms, but you need to get real about what you really need and use.
#4. Be generous
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s often easier to donate your gently used items than it is to throw them out. While letting go of items can be tough, it’s nice to know that someone else could use it.
There are many charities that are willing to come to your house to pick up donations. You can also bring over friends and family, pointing out things that you’re willing to part with. After this process, you may end up with a lot less clutter. Not to mention, it feels great to give to those in need.
#5. Have a yard sale
For some, decluttering is worth it if they can earn something from the effort. The best way to do this is to hold a yard sale.
There’s lots of great advice on how to hold the best yard sale, so before you commit, just keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get rid of clutter not add more pressure to your pre-listing process.
#6. Resist the urge
Once you start the process of decluttering you will need to resist the urge to fill the space again. Why? Quite often, we become accustomed to how a place looks and feels with all our personal clutter. When we start to declutter it can feel frightening, exciting or even too empty. That’s when you may feel the urge to fill up space. Tempted to buy more books? More souvenirs from your latest trip? It’s all important, but not all of it’s necessary. Think twice before buying more stuff. You’ll save money and time spent packing when you prepare for that next big move.
#7. Rent a storage locker
If you’re the type of person who has a lot of collectables, a collection of antique furniture or memorabilia that you just can’t part with consider renting a storage locker to effectively declutter your home for sale. Some professional organizers say that for every box of clutter you remove from your house, you add $500 worth of valuable space—so a few boxes in a storage unit is well worth the cost if it means you can show off a spacious, clean home to would-be buyers. Keeping your favourite sentimental items, while also making your home more sellable is just the win-win you may have been looking for.
While minimalism isn’t for everyone, decluttering a home before listing it for sale is a must. A clean space allows potential buyers to get a clear picture of the home’s value and helps them imagine how their own memories and personal items will fit into the home.