Preparing your home to sell means presenting a home which is attractive to buyers. If you’re going to be living in the home while it’s on the market, and you’re choosing not to stage it, you absolutely must go through a decluttering process. It can feel overwhelming at first, but I assure you the process can be broken down into manageable steps which will help your home sell potentially faster and for a better price.
- Take photos of what you’re up against. You might think things look pretty good until you see your home with the unflinching eye of the camera. Photograph every room from multiple angles and you’ll begin to see what buyers will see. Don’t forget to snap the closets, laundry rooms, and garage.
- Plan a room-by-room attack. This doesn’t have to be done in a day, a weekend, or even a week. Depending on your timeline, tackle as much or as little as you can reasonably manage before burning out. If you try to do too much at one time, you’re likely to start making unfortunate compromises about what stays and what goes.
- Use a checklist. When you assess a room, list what needs to be done and then the order in which it makes the most sense to do it. Visualizing the process will prevent you from wasting time. For example: You may find that certain pieces of furniture can go, and if you haven’t planned for help moving them out, you can get stalled.
- Be ruthless. You have clothes you haven’t worn in years, piles in the garage you’ve moved around, and shelves of unread or dispensable books. Start thinking of those “perfectly good” somethings you’ve been hanging onto as anchors dragging down your home’s appeal.
- Stay motivated. Tell yourself: Less is more. Remind yourself: Every box that goes to Goodwill is a box you won’t have to lift, relocate, and unpack on moving day. This is an opportunity to refresh your life!
- Pile it up. Sort things into “give away,” “throw away,” and “sell.” Some things can go to friends, others can go to charity. Keep in mind the real market value of items if you plan on selling them online (they’re probably worth less than you think). Some you can unload curbside, other items may be destined for freecycle.org, Craigslist.org, or a local junk pick-up service.
If you need someone who can see your home with a buyer’s eyes, don’t hesitate to invite your favorite Realtor over. I’m sure they’d be happy to provide you with a fresh perspective on your decluttering mission.