How to Conquer Clutter Before Listing Your Home

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As you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ve probably seen a lot of resources say to de-clutter before you list your home on the market. But what is considered clutter in your home and what does de-cluttering actually mean? Below we’re sharing the benefits of de-cluttering and tips to make conquering clutter easier than ever.

Cluttered office with large stacks of books.

So, What is Considered Clutter?

The dictionary defines clutter as ‘things in a disorderly manner’. In real estate though, not only is clutter things in a disorderly manner, it’s also having too many things out. Clutter could be storing too many small appliances on your kitchen counter, having too many books on your coffee table, or an overflowing closet full of coats.

Clutter is more than knick-knacks out all over your home, it’s everything and anything that can make your home seem unorganized, in disarray or small.

Benefits of De-cluttering Your Home

When selling your home, you want to showcase the best features of your property. Whether that’s the large amounts of natural light in your living room, the spacious island (perfect for eating and entertaining), or zen-like backyard. Prospective buyers can’t see any of these things though if there is too much clutter.

Instead of seeing all the great features, they’ll see:

  • A home that doesn’t have a lot of storage;
  • A home that is not well-maintained overall;
  • A home that isn’t worth the asking price (or even it’s appraised value).

de-cluttered kitchen

That’s why it’s important to de-clutter before listing your home on the market. De-cluttering will:

  • Make your home look larger – When you remove unnecessary items from the core areas of your home, you’ll instantly make your space look bigger and more spacious. Making your rooms larger helps buyers see their furniture in the home and increases how they value your overall property.
  • Increase the perceived value of your home – When homes look unorganized or like they aren’t well-maintained, buyers won’t be able to see the beauty or value in your property. A clutter-free home will look and feel more expensive and show better in pictures.
  • Help buyers imagine the space with their furnishings – When buyers tour homes (or even look at pictures online), they’re ultimately trying to see how their own belongings will fit in the home. By giving them the space to do that, buyers can easily see their own life inside the four walls increasing the chances they’ll put in an offer.

Now that you know why it’s important to de-clutter, check out our…

5 Tips for Removing the Clutter and Improving your Home’s WOW Factor!

Master Clutter in These Rooms First

Where should you start your de-cluttering efforts? We recommend starting in these rooms first:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Laundry Room
  • Master Bedroom
  • Garage
  • Bathrooms

Buyers inspect these rooms more closely than they do backyards, hall closets, and spare bedrooms. That’s because they spend more time (whether themselves or through entertaining) in the main rooms above.

Woman standing in living room with packing boxes that say clutter

Pack Everything but the Necessities

If you’re selling your home, you’re most likely moving somewhere new (whether that’s to a new house down the street or a new state completely). By packing everything but the necessities, you’re getting a head start on your move and making packing easier later on down the road.

Necessities are items like your clothes, bathroom must-haves, pet food, kitchen essentials, and laundry needs. Things you might not need are small kitchen appliances besides a coffee, extra sheets and blankets, clothes that aren’t in season, and all your kids’ toys.

Tidy Hidden Storage Areas

Storage is highly coveted in homes, especially older homes. No matter how big or small your storage closets are, tidying and organizing them is the best way to showcase their full capacity. Great ways to organize your closets are to use baskets to store small items (like toilet paper, toiletries, wash clothes, etc.). You can also leverage the back of doors to store irons, hanging items, or shoes.

If you need ideas for how to organize your closets, you can get ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, or HGTV.

Organize with Staging in Mind

Organized closet with no clutter

Organizing your house for everyday life is different than organizing for staging. Staging is all about keeping things clean and simple applying the classic staging rule of thumb that  “Less is Best”.  You want your kitchen counters to appear spacious and free of too many small appliances.  Some simple canisters in one corner and maybe a cookbook on a stand in another and a nice greenery by the sink may just be enough.

Similar to tidying up closets, you want storage areas to be well organized. This can include your hall closets, pantry, laundry room, mudroom area, and master bedroom closet.

Packing boxes filled with clutter

Make Upkeep Easy

It’s one thing to de-clutter, it’s another thing to keep it that way. But it’s important to keep your newly clutter-free home exactly the way it is to impress buyers that come view your home. They’ll want to see your home just as it appears in the photos in your online listing.

As you’re going through the rooms, consider what might be too hard to maintain and will be easy to care for on a daily basis. You never know when someone will schedule a showing so you’ll want to be prepared for anything.

De-cluttering your home is also a good time to donate things you no longer want/need or throw out items that are broken or too badly worn to donate. This helps with the de-cluttering process and less to pack on your upcoming move.


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