There are many steps in properly preparing your home for market. Repairing lights and fixtures, considering curbside appeal, painting and refreshing surfaces, upgrading areas that have high-appeal to buyers, and more. But all these steps can be for naught if you don’t first consider the challenge of clutter that occurs as we live in spaces over time.
Clutter is one of those things that literally creeps up on you and your space. Over time, our spaces can become cluttered with unnecessary items, surplus souvenirs, odd gifts, and other items. Starting your quest to declutter your space will serve both a vital need for presentation when showing the property to potential buyers and will help organize and clear out items before you start packing!
Step 1: Set Reasonable Goals
The thought of decluttering your entire house can easily be overwhelming. The first step to diving into the process of decluttering is to trim back your project into manageable mini-projects. Take on a closet, one area of a room, or a set of cabinets. Making your daily goals manageable will allow you to feel success and progress, sparking further motivation to keep going!
Once you have your mindset in place, enact a plan that’s easy to follow (see below) and always focus forward. If you take these simple steps, you are well on your way to creating an environment that is welcoming to potential buyers, and one in which your day-to-day life until sale is less stressful.
Step 2: Follow Four Simple Rules
Decluttering should be a simple mental process and if you know the rules up front, it’s easier to make decisions and not get side tracked. Here are four rules to help you sift through items efficiently.
- Decide quickly: Don’t dwell on an item for too long. See the five key categories of decluttering below.
- Handle items once: Try not to second guess yourself. Your first instinct is usually right in these kinds of decisions.
- Set limits: Before you begin, decide how many of a type of item is really needed and stick to that rule.
- Recognize trash: If you haven’t used it, can’t see how anyone else would buy it, and can’t find a clear purpose to own it…you are likely dealing with something just as easily trashed.
Step 3: Divide Items Into Five Easy Categories
Each item in your home should quickly fit into one of these categories. To ease the process further, label boxes or containers with these category labels and literally toss items into their place as you work through a section of your house.
- Pass on: consider having a stack of post-it notes nearby during sorting and attaching a note with where you will pass on each item as you work through
- Keep: to make it in this category, the item must be something to which you reply “yes” to three questions: Do you use it?, need it?, love it?
If you get stuck, give yourself a little grace and create a “Maybe Box.” Allow yourself to place items here about which you are truly torn. Label the box with a date and after a few months, revisit the box and see what hasn’t been needed, wanted, or missed.
Step 4: Follow Through
Make sure that your plan includes steps to take those categorized items and to take the appropriate actions. For example:
- Empty the trash box regularly to prevent second-guessing
- Place donation boxes in your car
- Create bags for each “Pass On” recipient
Need more insight and guidance? Consider one of my favorite books on decluttering spaces, with tips and techniques for just about any situation! It’s called “1001 Timely Tips for Clutter Control” .
Ready to Sell Your Home?
Seeking more valuable advice for how to maximize your real estate experience? Give me a call and let’s get started! Just call 336-575-7249 and ask for Ellen Dudley, your realtor with over 25 years of real estate experience.