Declutter Your Home

How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale

A cluttered kitchen will turn away home buyers.This cluttered kitchen is guaranteed to scare home buyers away!

Declutter your home and stage it before placing it on the real estate market to get the best price possible. The failure to edit out years of accumulated stuff is a common mistake that many home sellers make. 

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.

Too much furniture will make a room look smaller.An overabundance of bedroom furniture makes this room look cramped and small, with very little room to maneuver.

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

Cluttered Home Office.Unappealing cluttered home office.

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

When you are preparing to sell a house, 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?

Overflowing closets will scare home buyers away.An overflowing closet tells buyers that there isn't any room in your house.

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 home buyers are confronted with an avalanche of objects whenever they open closet doors, they will instantly assume that there isn't enough space in your home for their things. Abundant closet space is a high priority on every home buyer's want list.

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

When I was a Realtor, I saw many sellers underestimate the value of decluttering. Surely buyers would see all the wonderful qualities of their home in spite of all the stuff! But few do.

In reality, I saw many buyers leave before a house tour was over because they were simply overwhelmed, or just failed to see the potential beyond all the clutter.

Feng shui tips for decluttering - The first home stagers?

Cluttered entryway is sure to deter buyers!I'm just guessing... bad energy?

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.

The ancient Chinese were, in some regard, the very first home stagers. One of the basic home design rules of feng shui is to declutter the 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 counter shows buyers that there is no room.Personal items and countertop clutter are 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're all familiar with "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.

You have simply shifted your clutter to a new space, but it still preys on your conscience and prevents 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 for home staging later.

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 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 in a corner or 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!

An abundance of furniture interferes with traffic paths.An abundance of furniture makes this room feel cramped and smaller than it is.

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 bedroom dresser.Before: Cluttered bedroom dresser

To get started decluttering, you'll need:

  • Bags for garbage
  • Bags or boxes for donations
  • Boxes for items going to your new home
  • Boxes for a yard sale

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.

A staged bedroom dresser.After: Decuttered bedroom dresser

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

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 serves no purpose, 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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