You are preparing to move, and about to list your house on the market. The next step your real estate agent has told you to take is to stage your home for open houses. Staging is the process of preparing a home for viewing by buyers. You want the buyers to be impressed and interested in your home it’ll sell faster.
This is where decluttering comes in, and it is an important step when preparing to sell your home. This, of course, is easier said than done when you are still living at the property and all of your things are still there. However, it is simply a necessity. Buyers like open space, and they need to be able to imagine themselves living in the house. This is much more difficult to do if you don’t make the effort to remove, store or put away many of your own things. Your goal should be to end with your home looking like a model home. Neat and neutral.
This guide will go into detail, room by room, about the decluttering process to help home sellers who might be feeling a little overwhelmed.
Living or Family Room
You can rearrange lighting to give the room a cozier, more open feel. Clear out or arrange any excess books, magazines or other printed materials. If you have any small items on the windowsills, it is best to remove them. Arrange any devices connected to the TV as well as remotes so they are aesthetically pleasing. Old electronics can be removed and either stored or gotten rid of.
Take all small appliances, such as toasters, off the counter and put them away in a pantry or other storage spot. Wash and store all dish towels rather than leave them hanging. Try and remove as much as possible from drawers and cabinets, and organize the remaining items.
First, get things off the counters. Arrange them neatly in closets but don’t allow the closets or drawers to get stuffed. Don’t forget to clean, especially any grout that might be between tile. Get rid of any shower curtains that might be worn or gross and replace them with nice ones.
Patio and Outdoors
Clean up any deck chairs or tables. A few small, decorative items like plants or yard ornaments can remain, but any clutter, toys or yard tools should be stored or removed. If any paint is chipped on doors or trim, it needs to be repainted. Remove any dead plants, trim trees and spread new mulch.
Garage and Basement
These can be among the hardest rooms to declutter because they are already likely filled with your storage. It is recommended you go through your things, get rid of anything you no longer need and then organize your storage so everything is neat and in place. Remove any evidence of a pest problem, such as mouse traps or insect poison. If you have a finished basement, follow the same tips as outlined above for a family room.
Beds should be made neatly and all sheets and comforters should be washed. No clothes should be on the floor, and get dirty laundry out of hampers as well. Closets can have a few items in them but, again, you need to ensure buyers get a good idea of available space so they can imagine their own wardrobes there. If your children have toys, pick them up and put them in designated toy boxes.
Your desk and any other surfaces in your office should be entirely cleared of papers, clutter and miscellaneous items. Put things like blank CDs, external hard drives and tape away in drawers, and file all files away in your file cabinets. Put books away on shelves and straighten those shelves up.
Other Helpful Hints
Strongly consider removing things from your wall, including your family photos. As much as we love to display our beautiful families on our walls, taking down photos opens up the room, and makes it look bigger.
Moving might be THE single best time to purge your personal belongings. This will be helpful when you move because you won’t have as many things to haul to your new home, and it will get items out of your house for staging. Whether you donate items to charities, sell them on eBay or hold a garage sale, it can help you simplify your life and declutter your home.
You can also rent self-storage space on a short-term basis to store items until you move. This will get them out of the house for the staging process but still allow you to keep them. This is an excellent option if you are moving to a larger home or don’t want to part with things you don’t need immediate access to.
Follow these tips and you should be able to successfully declutter your home for staging. Once your items are out of the way, you can set up your home in a neutral, pleasing way that will attract buyers. With any luck, you will get your house sold soon.
British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Smartbox Moving & Storage. She regularly produces content for a variety of eco-friendly and home decor blogs.