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Planning to Sell? Here’s Why You Need to Pay Extra Attention to Decluttering

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Planning to Sell? Here’s Why You Need to Pay Extra Attention to Decluttering
5 min. read

Image: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Decluttering your home before showing it off is an essential step you simply can’t skip. The smallest details count during an open house. As potential buyers come inside, the first impression they get is usually a “make it or break it” one.

The space needs to be inviting and homey but somewhat impersonal at the same time. You want to give off the vibe of a happy family home, but at the same time allow visitors to imagine the dwelling as their own. It’s a hard note to hit, verging on impossible if your home is cluttered with decades of your family’s earthly possessions.

Declutter Your Home Before Putting It on the Market

Most homeowners plan to declutter after they sell their homes and are in the process of moving out. However, that’s not the most efficient strategy. There are two main reasons why families should declutter their homes before putting them on the market.

  • First, the house needs to look its best for the showing.

It’s difficult for the buyers to appreciate the size of each room, how they could use it, and the flow of the entire home when there is stuff all over the place. The seller’s goal is to help prospective buyers envision the house as their own—and this can be done only if the interior is neat, tidy, and cleared of as many personal possessions as possible.

  • The second reason for decluttering a home that’s about to be put on the market is that the family will (hopefully) be moving out soon.

Getting rid of the things the family no longer needs in advance, whether it’s clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, or appliances, makes the rest of the moving process both simpler and less expensive.

Cluttered Closets, Garages or Basements Are a Problem When Trying to Sell a Home

Storage space is an important feature that prospective buyers are looking for when shopping around for a new home. We all need as much storage as possible so, if the house you’re putting on the market has generous closets, a big garage, and a basement, you’re one step closer to selling. Decluttering will help you market that extra space.

Make sure that all those parts of the house are well-organized and easy to access. It’s almost impossible to show off a garage or a basement properly if the potential home buyers need to complete an obstacle course to get inside the space. They’ll get the impression that the house is small, and the storage space insufficient.

Confronted with such a situation, buyers might also think that they are dealing with neglectful homeowners and that the house is not properly maintained. Clutter and stuff everywhere don’t paint a pretty picture and interested visitors will probably skip over a home that was shown off in a less than excellent state.

Are Homebuyers Put Off by Homes Filled with Kids’ Stuff?

It’s natural for a family to have some of their kids’ stuff throughout a lived-in home when they’re setting up an open house. However, be sure to strike the right balance between “lived-in” and “messy.” If the floors and all the surfaces in the house are covered with toys and other kids’ items, the buyers won’t be able to focus on the features of the house and will be put off by all that clutter. Closing a deal is challenging under such circumstances.

Homeowners need to make sure that shared kids’ bedrooms are properly organized and look spacious and comfortable for the open house. Floors must be cleared of clutter, the beds made, and desks and other surfaces in the room tidied up. An excess of toys, clothes, and papers make a bedroom look smaller than it really is.

Most families hold on to items they aren’t currently using, such as cribs, baby carriers, high-chairs or strollers, for their younger kids, or even for the children of friends and family members. Such voluminous items take up a lot of space and create a suffocating environment. Get a self-storage unit to store all of that before setting up the date for an open house.

Tricks for Decluttering a Home that a Family Lives in

Decluttering a lived-in family home sounds tricky, but once you get the engine running, it goes faster than you imagined. Allocate a decent amount of time to tackle the task (at least one weekend). Every member of the family needs to be involved. Set up “keep,” “sell,” “donate” and “throw-away” containers in each room. Start with the bedrooms and continue with the common spaces (living room, kitchen, basement, garage). Be thorough and merciless. One good rule is to get rid of any item no one in the family used for an entire year.

Consider Renting Self-Storage Before Showing Off Your Home

It can be hard to part with well-loved treasures and heirlooms, especially during a time of great change. Homeowners should rent a self-storage unit if it’s difficult to get their home to “open house” status without major purging. Renting a self-storage unit helps homeowners present their home in its best state, which increases their chances of closing a deal sooner rather than later, without having to part with valued possessions.

An added benefit to decluttering is once the house is sold, at least part of the packing is already done, and the stuff in the storage unit can go directly to the homeowner’s new address. That’s very helpful, especially when dealing with long-distance moves. Assuming you’re moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, for example, you can rent a self-storage unit in Las Vegas and have your stuff delivered there in advance.

Decluttering your home before putting it on the market will help you not only sell it faster but will also streamline the exhausting and complicated process of moving out.

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