How to declutter your home to sell

When you’re trying to sell your home it is important to get the best price possible in the shortest time, to enable you to move on quickly and snap up your dream property before someone else does! Selling a house in the current market conditions can be difficult and frustrating. It’s certainly not the fast-paced process that we experienced a decade ago. With mortgages being less available, and houses more difficult to sell on again, buyers are becoming choosier about the house on which they spend their hard-earned cash.

Even in a different economic market, the old adage of ‘first impressions count’ is still relevant and sellers need to create a fantastic first impression on potential buyers. The keenest buyers will be first through the door for a viewing and sellers need to capitalise on this by hooking a keen buyer quickly.

Your house will be the stuff of dreams to someone somewhere. You may have the perfect size, location, and layout for the very first buyer who walks through your front door. You may also have a property which isn’t perfect but has potential. Either way, you need to show your property at its best, and show potential buyers how they could use and live in your house. A huge problem when it comes to trying to show your house off as somewhere someone else could live is that you already live there, and the house is full of your life, and all the things that come with it. Moving home is a great opportunity to take stock of your life, and of all the stuff you’ve amassed over the years.

Here is some brilliant advice for de-cluttering, and staging your home to sell.

Kerb appeal

Start with the front exterior of your home. Walk out to the street and have a look at your house. What do you see? Is it looking a bit shabby? Is the fence and gate falling down? Are the plants overgrown?

Take time to repair anything that is broken or damaged. Give your fence, gate and front door a lick of paint. Unblock guttering and drains. Remove weeds and prune overgrown shrubs. Remove anything that may not be to someone else’s taste, such as too many garden gnomes, or animal ornaments.

Have a look at your front windows. Give them a clean inside and out, washing any dirty curtains or blinds, both downstairs and upstairs. Sweep your doorstep, and make the entrance area more appealing by replacing your doormat, or fixing a hanging basket with fresh flowers.

Create space

A trick often used in show homes is to use smaller furniture to create the illusion of space. It can work for you too. While it’s not recommended you blow your budget by trading in your full-sized furniture for smaller alternatives, it would be a good idea to take away oversized items and pop them into storage until you’ve moved home. You should also reduce the amount of furniture items you have. If you have two bookshelves for examples, you could store one temporarily, and just use the other for display.

Declutter

Moving home is a good opportunity to have a clear out. By reducing the amount of items you have, you will instantly create more space. Decluttering can take a long time but it is worth it. To work out what is ‘clutter’, follow this rule:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,

or believe to be beautiful.”

― William Morris

If something does not fit the useful or beautiful description then it is time to consider whether you really need to keep it. Be brutal. While selling, you should aim to at least halve the amount of things you have in your home, either by putting things into storage, or getting rid completely.

Here’s what to do with each item:

  • If it’s useful and you need it every day, keep it.
  • If it’s beautiful and adds value to your home, keep it.
  • If it is useful or has sentimental value but you don’t need it on a daily basis, store it.
  • If you don’t need it and it’s in good condition, donate it to a charity shop.
  • If you don’t need it, and it’s worth a decent amount of money, then sell it.
  • If you don’t need it, it’s not in good condition, and it’s worthless, then bin it.

Selling items through small ads in local newspapers or on internet selling sites such as eBay or Gumtree, or doing a car boot sale, will not only get rid of clutter but will earn you some extra cash to spend on lovely new things for your new home.

De-personalise

Adding some personality into your home is fantastic but it may put off some buyers who can’t see past your life enough to imagine themselves living in your house. While you may love your numerous photos, posters, and canvasses of your family, too many and too large and they can dominate a room. Cull your photo collection to two or three in each room. Remove oversized portraits from walls, and replace with generic landscape images or art. Photos and pictures can be stored safely until you need them in your new home.

Custom-murals or themed rooms may be amazing for your children (or oversized children) but your house’s new owners don’t necessarily want to sleep under the glare of Spiderman or the latest Disney princess. You should invest some time and money turning overly-personalised rooms into a more generic, neutral theme. Yes, it may look boring, but buyers will be put off if they think they will have to re-decorate before they can even move in. Boring is better when you’re trying to sell.

Clean it up!

Now that you’ve removed all the items gathering dust and redecorated the most controversial rooms, then you should clean the entire house as best you can. Buyers don’t want to live in a dirty house, and if viewers can’t see past the dirt then they can’t see the potential for themselves. Keeping a house clean is easier once you’ve decluttered, and doing a little every day will mean you don’t have to do a mass cleaning spree every time you expect a house viewing. If you can’t bear cleaning or just don’t have the time, investing in a professional house-cleaning company either as a one-off or on a regular basis is a small price to pay to get your house sold for the maximum value.

In fact, anything you need to invest in such as cleaning, redecorating, and storage services will be worth it when it means your house is sold and you can then do the nice part of moving on to pastures new. Don’t be afraid to speculate to accumulate when it comes to making your home appealing to its new owners.