Decluttering your home for sale
April 26, 2023

Declutter your home if you’re planning on selling – mess and chaos are some of the biggest turn-offs for buyers.

Throughout life, we accumulate a lot of things. Many outlive their usefulness. Some never had much use, if we’re honest.

However, we are human, and stuff sticks to us, so we need to shed some layers to maintain order and harmony.

Decluttering can make a room look tidy, chic, and spacious

A room becomes cluttered and closed in when you add unnecessary furniture and knick-knacks. You could dust and vacuum all you like, but it still won’t look as neat if your room is full of stuff.

Prospective buyers don’t want to see your belongings – they want to see the house. While you take great pride in your antique collection, potential buyers would probably prefer you to take them off your bed before the inspection.

What do potential buyers think?

It’s difficult for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your home if it’s filled with your furniture and personal belongings. For example, when you hang a sensual nude portrait in your ensuite bathroom, they are less likely to want to live in your home.

By staging just the basics in each room, you enable people to mentally move in their furniture and see how it would look in their own home.

If, for example, you have a beanbag, filing cabinet, bookcase, office chair, and desk buried under 149 pens, then it’s probably time to declutter your home office. All you need for a functional home office is a desk, chair, and bookcase.

Tips for decluttering

Are you looking for the perfect staged home but don’t know where to begin?

You can use this declutter checklist to clear the clutter and get your house ready for sale.

Also, get advice from people you feel will be honest. Your agent will be impartial, as will genuine friends. They can help you determine the full extent of your clutter.

This way, you can understand where you should focus your efforts. You may only have one or two rooms that require actual work.

Remove any personal decorations

You don’t want to feel like you’re invading someone’s privacy. Take those finger paintings and wedding photos down while your house is up for inspection.

Get rid of clutter

Keep each room looking clean and spacious by sticking to the bare minimum in furniture.

The second coffee table in the corner might be perfect for keeping the kids’ colouring books off the floor, but it can make the room look cluttered and small.

Organise your cupboards and drawers

Don’t assume no one will see it because you stashed that nude portrait in your bedroom cabinet.

Potential buyers are nosy and will open cabinets and drawers to see how much storage space they have, so these areas need to be maintained.

Organise them and remove any junk.

Clean thoroughly

Now that more of your rooms are on show, you’ll need to do a thorough clean to make sure your home is spotless.

Don’t forget the walls and ceilings – you may be surprised by how many cobwebs have accumulated there. Once you’ve evicted the excess furniture, you might find some dust-bunnies lurking.

Decorate your home with artwork

Add artwork in your minimalist rooms to make them look complete. Doing so is a great way to add a pop of colour and bring a room to life without taking up floor space. You can’t go wrong with something contemporary and abstract.

See beyond what the eye can see

Clutter tends to hide in corners, on shelves and under beds. Take the time to look for it, and don’t limit yourself to the most obvious places.

Prospective buyers will open cabinet doors and peek into nooks and crannies to check storage and other features.

Make sure they get the best impression of your property.

Sort the items into three categories

Make three groups:

  1. Things you are moving with.
  2. Things to donate.
  3. Things to throw out.

You can donate goods and clothing that you no longer need to charity.

Have a garage sale and sell the items you’ve culled that are still in great shape and worth something. By collecting enough gold coins, you could turn a mess into a little extra money to buy something you need for your new house.

You might want to treat yourself to a special reward – after all, you did work hard to declutter.

Start packing for your new place early

Stack those trinkets away and you’ll be ready to invite buyers through your home before you know it.

First, personal items should be stowed. Keep any neutral decor items until last. They could save you from having to invest in furniture or accessories for home staging.

Uncluttered surfaces in the kitchen create space. Let the buyer see your countertops, walls and even the fridge door.

Don’t just stuff items into another cupboard. Remove the clutter with the same rigor as you would in any other room, and sort for packing, donating or tossing.

Leave some space in the cupboards. Despite their impeccably clean contents, buyers will want them to feel spacious and envision their belongings in them.

Kids can declutter too

In most cases, children’s toys and teenage posters aren’t effective property marketing. Keep things out of sight and cull ruthlessly.

Throughout our lives, we often hear the phrase “less is more”. It may seem silly when you’re sprinkling cheese on nachos, but it holds a lot of truth when it comes to preparing your house for sale.

Decluttering your property could boost its first impression and help you close a deal faster.

What doesn’t sell a house?

Memories and clutter from the past that you need to eliminate. You want your home to appeal to buyers, and buyers don’t want to feel like they’re walking into a family video at an inspection.

Give your excess furniture and sentimental crap the boot (at least temporarily) and let your house speak for itself. Getting rid of that armchair in the corner makes your lounge room look larger than it is.

It’s also time to get rid of those sports trophies you won when you were 10.

Once you’ve cleared your home of excess ‘stuff,’ you’ll be left with a simple, minimalist space. Your agent and bank balance will thank you for helping potential buyers envision themselves living in the property.