Declutter Your Home
DIY Home Staging Tips
for a faster, more profitable home sale

Declutter your home and stage it before placing it on the real estate market to maximize its selling potential. The failure to edit out years of accumulated stuff is a common mistake that many home sellers make. 

Cluttered kitchenThis cluttered kitchen is guaranteed to chase house hunters away!

Overwhelming clutter makes it hard for prospective buyers to see the true potential of a home and may cause them to scratch your house off their list.

Instead of seeing all the great features of your home design, home buyers will only see your stuff. You aren't selling your things, so pack them up for your new house.

Declutter your home and earn extra money by organizing a yard sale!

For most of us, the thought of getting rid of years of accumulated clutter in our home is so overwhelming. Where do I start? What do I get rid of? This will take forever!

Think of it this way-- getting rid of clutter will give you a head start on your packing.

Why you should declutter your home

Decluttering is probably the most important and time consuming step of home staging. Home staging forces you to finally deal with delayed home organization and unfinished projects. 

When you are preparing to make a home sale, this task should be first on your to-do list. Sure, you can throw everything in boxes and deal with it later in your new home, but do you really want to do that?

Cluttered Home OfficeUnappealing cluttered home office

Don't let home buyers miss the beauty of your home interior design; that cozy fireplace hiding behind a bulky recliner, or the spaciousness of your kitchen hidden under all the appliances and cereal boxes strewn across the countertops.

Every room is important, no matter how small. If house hunters unleash an avalanche of objects when they open closet doors, they will instantly assume that there isn't enough space in your home for their things! Great closet space is high on every home buyer's want list.

A cluttered home can also give house hunters the impression that a home is dirty. They may imagine "critters" lurking in corners and under piles of stuff.

When I was a Realtor, I saw home sellers constantly dismiss this important detail. They felt that buyers would surely see all the wonderful qualities of their home in spite of all the stuff! In reality, I saw many buyers leave before the house tour was over because they were simply overwhelmed, or they had no imaginations.

Feng shui tips for decluttering - The first home stagers?

Feng shui (fung shway) is an ancient Chinese home design philosophy, concerned with creating harmony and stability in a space.

Feng shuists believe that all objects and spaces have different energies that effect each other in various ways, and that everything you bring into your home has positive and negative effects on the energy in your home.

Cluttered entrywayI'm just guessing... bad energy?

The goal of feng shui is to balance these energies and create an atmosphere that aligns with a person's goals.

The ancient Chinese were, in some ways, the very first home stagers! One of the basic home design rules of feng shui is to declutter your home.

Feng shuists believe that a cluttered home has bad energy, and when home buyers walk into a house full of clutter, they are sure to feel that tension. 

Like home staging, feng shui recommends that you to declutter, depersonalize, clean and repair

Decluttering and ridding yourself of items you have been clinging to forever will help clear the bad energy from your life and get you moving in a positive direction.

Psychology of clutter

Cluttered bathroom counterCountertop clutter is a real buyer turn off!

Clutter is a deep and perplexing energy that can be a drain on mental health. A disorganized environment can lead to inner discord--we've all heard of "hoarding", when clutter gets out of control and consumes our lives.

Unresolved clutter keeps you from doing the things you desire-- you hope that maybe some day you'll get it under control, but don't know how or where to start.

Even if you're able to organize your clutter by stashing it away in boxes in the attic, or reshuffling it out to the garage; you still know it's there!

It's simply shifted to a new space, preying on your conscience and preventing you from moving on.

What Qualifies as Clutter?

  • Unfinished projects that you plan to finish someday;
  • Clothing, shoes, bedding, appliances; anything that you haven't used or worn for years;
  • Hobby clutter, sentimental pieces, overflowing collections and knick knacks;
  • Paperwork, children's art projects, overflowing stacks of books and magazines, photographs that need to be organized, electronics with wires running out of control, and "mystery" boxes that have been stored in the basement or attic for years;
  • Over-flowing kitchen countertops; too many items or appliances strewn across the surface.

Storage ideas for moving

Before you begin to declutter your home, devise a plan for storing the boxes and furniture you'll be taking with you to your new home. Hang onto the furniture and accessories that you plan to use in your interior home design for staging.

Storage Ideas:

  • If you're lucky in your friends, they may let you store items temporarily in their garage or spare room.
  • Rent a storage unit for the short term. 
  • Arrange for delivery of a storage pod right to your doorstep. (Check with local ordinances first.) Go to for more information. This company allows you to pack at your leisure, and will store or deliver your pod anywhere in the U.S., except Alaska. "Pods" also services parts of Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
  • If you have no other options, store your stuff in the garage or basement. This is a last resort, because the goal of home staging is to make EVERY room look spacious. If you must store things in the garage, be sure to stack items neatly and keep everything on one side of the room. 
  • Make a plan for unwanted items; donate to a local thrift store such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Find out if there are any organizations in your community that will do pickups. If you have a lot of time, energy and helpers, organize a yard sale. Get your kids involved-- they can be great helpers, and paying them from the proceeds of the sale can be a great motivator!
Cluttered living roomToo much stuff makes this room feel cramped!

Moving supplies you will need:

  1. Packing boxes in many of sizes. (Small boxes for books! You'll thank me later.) You can usually get free used boxes at your local grocery store. Or buy unconstructed boxes at any home supply store. Another option is where you can order everything you need for moving. Shipping is quick and free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. (Sorry Alaska and Hawaii!)
  2. Plastic storage totes
  3. Bubble wrap--lots of it
  4. Packing peanuts
  5. Tape and permanent markers
  6. Large trash bags for donations and throwaway items
  7. Packing blankets for furniture
  8. Cleaning supplies

Start decluttering-- select a room at the bottom of the page

Cluttered dresser interior design picturesBefore: Cluttered bedroom dresser

For decluttering, you'll need:

  • Bag for garbage
  • Bag or box for donations
  • Box for items to pack for your new home

1.  Instead of trying to declutter the entire house at once, (which can seem futile) select one space at a time.

2.  Start with small spaces, as you'll see your progress faster and feel encouraged to move on to bigger tasks.

3.  A small space can be a "junk" drawer, a bedroom dresser, or a closet.

Decluttered bedroom dresserAfter: Decuttered bedroom dresser

4.  Work in short time segments. Set a timer for 20 minutes and tackle just one area. Increase the time as you become more efficient. 

5.  Go through items, one by one. If you can't bear parting with a sentimental item that you no longer need, take a picture of it, then get rid of it!

6.  As you declutter your home, you'll also have the opportunity to give each room a deep cleaning, accomplishing two tasks at once.

A spotlessly clean house is a must if you're planning a home sale! Nothing turns off house hunters more than a dirty, cluttered home.

Keep in mind that you are organizing and purging yourself of things you have been clinging to for years-- don't expect to finish in one day. 

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How to organize a yard sale