There is a lot that goes into preparing your home for sale, ideally leaving buyers with a great first impression that will hopefully result in them making an offer. But one of the things that might feel a bit intimidating is decluttering your space.
Research shows homes that are too cluttered make it much more difficult for buyers to envision themselves living in the space. Consequently, too much clutter can leave homes feeling smaller than they truly are.
According to the Processional Organizers of Canada (POC), unorganized homes are less appealing to homebuyers which can adversely impact your overall sales price.1 It may also have buyers questioning whether your home was properly cared for or not.
Here are a few of the top strategies you should consider using to help you declutter your home and get it ready for potential buyers.
1. Perform an Initial Inventory and Spot Check
The first step to decluttering your home is understanding what you are working with. From larger projects to simple ones, taking a few minutes to look over effects that have accumulated will help you with goal setting and time management.
First, look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Start by addressing the first things that catch your eye as these are the items that tend to be the immediate eyesores.
One of the best ways to create the illusion of more space is to focus on clearing off horizontal surfaces, such as counters, tables, and mantles.2 Entertainment consoles and the tops of fridges are also often overlooked areas.
2. Divide Up Your Workload
One thing that helps a lot of sellers is divvying up the work to make decluttering your home more manageable. Tackling too much all at once can leave you feeling frustrated, stressed, and unmotivated.
Instead, consider decluttering from room-to-room basis. Starting with high traffic areas is ideal, however your starting point should make the most sense to your process and flow.
If working by room doesn’t resonate with you, consider decluttering by category. Some professional organizers feel the room-by-room approach isn’t always the most efficient method of decluttering.
Cleaning by category focuses on like-items and clearing those out before moving on to another subset. For example, if you have a lot of papers scattered from room-to-room, work on cleaning up those first (storing, recycling, junking, etc.) before moving onto something else. Clothes, books, and movies are a few other examples that could work well with the categorization method.
3. Create a Plan and Stick to It
Decluttering an entire home can be a large project. Once you have taken a preliminary inventory and divided up your work, the next step is to create a plan and schedule.
Having a formal plan will help you chip away at the work and will allow you to set key benchmarks. For example, say you only have a few set hours to declutter.
Maybe dividing those up equally over the weekend makes the most sense. You can even set a specific goal to have any given room done by a specific date.
Most importantly, don’t try to do everything all at once. It's more important to make incremental strides so you get a sense of accomplishment that will continue to motivate you through project completion.
4. Focus on Depersonalizing Your Space
If you want to draw in more buyers, focus your decluttering efforts on depersonalizing your space. When people look to buy a house, they want to imagine how they could potentially use the space. That is a bit hard with your personal photos and knick-knacks everywhere.
Alternatively, try to put more personal possessions in a safe storage space. This may include family photos, eclectic artwork, and unique decor.
Other key tricks to making your place less personalized is by repainting, focusing on neutral colors and schemes. You should also open curtains to allow natural light to flow into your home and provide the illusion of more space.
1 Professional Organizers in Canada. (2016, May 26). SOLD: Decluttering to sell your home. POC. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://organizersincanada.com/sold-decluttering-to-sell-your-home/
2 HomeChannel.ca. (2020, January 2). Selling a Home? How to Declutter in Two Weeks. HomeChannel.ca - News | Blog. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.homechannel.ca/news/selling-a-home-how-to-declutter-in-two-weeks