If you are contemplating listing your house for sale, decluttering it will be necessary before the real estate sign goes in the ground. Getting started now will make the process far less painless as you move closer to your listing date.
Take it from one of my recent clients, who had to learn this lesson the hard way. She purged her home four times in the last few years – a couple of times before I listed her property, one while she was renting and another when she bought her condo. The first time took four months and the last time four hours. She’s made a personal pledge to purge twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
Here are the things she found helpful to keep her home clear of clutter day in, day out that I think will help you.
The Daily Declutter
- Put things away.
Don’t let dishes build up in the sink, leave folded laundry in the basket or hang coats over chairs. Take a few precious moments to put things away where they belong.
- Add things to the grocery list as you are out of them.
Rather than relying on memory or picking up items from Costco that will last you two years, keep a running tally on the fridge or your smartphone. This will prevent the temptation of impulsively buying things or overbuying items you already have at home.
Seasonal Purging Ideas
While daily tips are focused on keeping your home neat and orderly, the suggestions below are meant to divide things into four categories:
- Donate or
- Throw away
If you decide to sell or donate, promise to list or cart away items within 24 hours, in case you or your family members change their mind.
- Tackle every closet, cabinet and drawer.
Find clothes you don’t wear any longer because it doesn’t fit or it has gone out of style. If you don’t love it in your closet, you won’t wear it out in public. You may want to take it to a consignment shop or list it online, if it is new.Remember to look in the hallway closets, kitchen and laundry room. These can be “hiding” places for neglected items. The general rule of thumb is, if you haven’t worn or used it in the last twelve months, it needs to go.
- Spend time in the garage and basement.
When she didn’t know what to do with certain things, she was guilty of storing them in either her garage or basement. While it makes sense to box away seasonal items, sports equipment or camping gear, it doesn’t for items you can’t decide what to do with.If you have adult children, give them their items now. Don’t lay any guilt on them if they decide to toss those things in the trash or give them away.
- Review all items in the fridge.
It is easy to forget that condiments or freezer items have expiration dates, too. Preferably monthly, but at least twice a year, go through each item and pitch expired food.
- Check for duplicates.
Her son was going to buy a whisk and it dawned on her she had two at home, neither had been barely used. She offered one to him, and he gladly accepted.
This is just one example of dozens of “dups” she had in her home. Get rid of them.
- If you have young children, do this when they are out.
When her children were young and she did some decluttering, it was always when her kids were in school or at a friend’s house. It was amazing – they didn’t ask about any of the decluttered items! Out of sight, out of mind worked for her and it will work for you.
A Clutter-Free Home is a Saleable Home
I hope you have enjoyed my client’s tips. I can help you when the time comes to list your home. As Hudson’s Hometown Broker, I have assisted many individuals in preparing their home for sale. Give me a call at 330-607-4647 to discuss your specific needs.