One of the most important steps you can take when you’re selling your home is to de-clutter. Staging your home for a quick sale means cleaning, removing your personal items, and giving your space a neutral feeling. But if you’re like many people, the thought of tackling such a big job is intimidating so we can help here by recommending a professional stager and painter to paint your home. Here are our best tips for making the task as stress-free as possible.
Focus on one area at a time
Let’s face it – it took you years to accumulate all that stuff. It’s not going away overnight. And holding yourself to an unattainable goal isn’t going to make it any easier. Instead, focus on one area at a time. This could mean breaking it down room by room, starting with the easiest room first. If even that sounds like too much, break it down even further, like one closet, drawer or cabinet at a time. Give yourself a daily goal, and stop when you are done with that area.
Get the family involved
Your family helped contribute to the clutter, so they can also help with the process of getting it under control. Delegate areas to each family member. Perhaps your spouse can tackle all the sports equipment in the garage. Let the kids each handle their own room (with supervision, of course). Make de-cluttering the living room a family event.
Organize into piles
As you de-clutter each area, you’ll want to organize your belongings into four piles:
- Throw Away
Each item you are removing should go into one of these piles, to make it easier to get them all out the door without losing your mind. The pile that you’re going to keep can be boxed up and stored, while the other items can be tossed out, given to friends or family, or taken to a donation center.
Purge these items
Yes, you’ve been saving that lone sock because you think its mate will eventually show up. In reality, it probably isn’t and there’s no reason to hold onto it. In fact, there are many items in your life that you don’t need to hold on to. Think about purging these items for good:
- Lone socks
- Clothing that is damaged or no longer fits
- DVDs you don’t watch
- Books that you’ve read or will never read again
- Expired medication
- Old cosmetics and toiletries
- Wire coat hangers
- Outdated electronics
- Mismatched or chipped plates, cups and mugs
- Storage containers without lids
- Expired food
- Toys the kids no longer play with
- Condiment packets like ketchup or soy sauce
- Unidentified keys
- Old cables and chargers
- Old paint
- Receipts you don’t need for taxes or future returns
- Appliance manuals
Most of the above items need to go into the garbage. If outgrown clothing, toys, kitchen items you no longer use and decorative items that no longer want to donate them to a favorite charity. It’s a great way to show your young children how to share their old toys and clothing.
Some people find the process of de-cluttering so painful that it could be beneficial to attach a reward for the completion of each step. Perhaps when the kitchen is de-cluttered, you can take the family out for pizza. Or finally letting go of all those DVDs can result in a night out at the movies.
While de-cluttering can be stressful, it is a necessary part of getting your home ready to put on the market. By following the guidelines above, your house will be show-ready before you know it!