De-cluttering helps to maximize your home’s value when selling and will save money and time when it comes to moving.  This article will outline 8 de-cluttering tips that home sellers can follow when getting their home ready to sell.

Most buyers can’t see past clutter, so, if your home is neat, organized and not brimming with “stuff,” buyers can more effectively visualize themselves living there.  De-cluttering makes your home more appealing to more people.   Increasing the appeal of your home has a direct positive effect on the value of your home.

De-cluttering also saves time and money during your move because movers charge by the hour to pack, and by the pound to ship your household goods.

Here are 8 tried and true de-cluttering tips for home sellers:

1. Make a plan.  Put dates and times for your de-cluttering project(s) on your calendar and stick to them.  Your first open house will come faster than you think and serious sellers must be prepared.

2. Visualize what you want your home to look like when you’re done.  Take pictures of rooms or areas in your home today, then write down some words that describe the end state.  As you start sorting through items in each area of your home, ask yourself whether the things you’re doing support your end state.

3.  Decide whether you want to de-clutter by room or by category.  Do you want to clean the entire kitchen first or would you feel better tackling kitchen cabinets, then moving to bathroom cabinets, and laundry room cabinets.

To get a great sense of accomplishment and build momentum, de-clutter something that’s really bothersome to you first.  Once you’re done, you’ll have the motivation to keep going with the rest of your plan.

4. Have a system for sorting the items that will not be staying in your home.  Have tagged bags or bins for:

  • Trash
  • Repair
  • Donation
  • Return to owner

Hold off on purchasing new storage boxes or bins until after your de-clutter project is complete.  This encourages you to keep less.

5. Assume buyers will look in drawers and cabinets.  Ensure your cabinets are clean and free of any items you wouldn’t want people to see.  Remember that when closets and cabinets are crammed with “stuff,” the storage space looks smaller.

6. Fewer knick-knacks and photos leave a home looking more spacious.  Sort through and put away the non-essentials.

Cluttered kitchen makes it difficult to visualize space
Cluttered kitchen makes it difficult to visualize space

7. Make every room look like a model home.  Keep the personal effects so sparse that it looks like no one lives there.

a. Kitchens and Bathrooms – Keep kitchen and bathroom counters as clear as possible to reflect their spaciousness.  To de-clutter counters, take everything off and return only those items that are essential to daily living.

  • Put toothbrushes and other toiletries in a clean and organized drawer or cabinet
  • Put small appliances like mixers, blenders, hairdryers and razors in a clean, organized cabinet or pantry.
  • Take the kids’ artwork off the refrigerator door and frame the ones you love most.
  • Donate cookbooks you don’t use anymore.
  • Clean and organize places you store food by item type (including the refrigerator) and dispose of expired or moldy food products.
  • Clean and organize cabinets and drawers using the guidelines in #4.

b. Living Areas – With the theme of less is more, sort all books, knick-knacks, art, photos, electronics, toys.

  • Donate or dispose of things you haven’t used in the last month.  Put the non-essential items in a box and store neatly in your basement or other storage area.
  • Have your kids sort through their toys and pick the 10-12 must-haves.  Keep a decorative storage bin nearby so those 10-12 items can be put away at a moment’s notice when there’s a showing or open house.
  • Get rid of old electronics and their accessories.
  • Put photo albums and other personal items in bins in your storage area.

c. Home Office – remove cluttered bulletin boards; create files by topic for your papers and put them in file drawers.

d. Closets – What buyer doesn’t look in a closet and make an overall storage assessment of the home?

Closets should be neat, organized and, most importantly, unstuffed!  Organize by item type and by color (whether clothes, or towels and linens).  You want your closets to look especially spacious.

To thin out your closet, follow this TEST for each item of clothing:

    • Does it represent my current image and life style
    • Does it fit and do I feel good when I wear it
    • Does it coordinate with other parts of my wardrobe

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, donate it!

8. Keep your storage areas neat and clean. Even in your storage area, everything should be well-organized, and not packed from floor to ceiling, to convey a feeling of spaciousness.  If your storage space looks full, rent a storage locker and put the items you won’t need in the short term there.

De-cluttering your home is one of the first things you need to do when getting ready to sell your home.  Done well, de-cluttering makes your home look spacious and allows buyers to see themselves living there more easily.  It also saves time and money during your move because you have less items to pack and less weight to ship.

We are real estate agents who specialize in the Scottsdale area, and we have helped countless sellers to effectively prepare their homes for sale to maximize their property’s marketability and value.

Reach out to us if you would like to discuss ideas to maximize YOUR home’s value in the marketplace.

Don Matheson
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255