• Doreen Rivell

Thinking of Selling? Declutter first.


If you have watched home makeover shows, you'll notice one common theme - decluttering. Yes, they spruce up the place and modernize the furniture, but the biggest change is the lack of clutter. You can make that happen in your own home, with some time and effort.

Start with a plan. It may sound simplistic, but put pen to paper, or thumbs to screen, and make a written plan. Is this a one-off or a lifestyle change? You may be inclined just to push forward with decluttering to get to an immediate goal, but incorporating elements into a lifestyle change will make things easier in the long run.

Where to begin. Start with something simple and finite to ease into the process. Perhaps it's all the mismatched food storage containers in the kitchen. Put them all on the kitchen counter, put tops and bottms together, recycle anything that is not complete, and then look at the rest. Extra complete sets of tupperware can be donated at your local thrift shop. Excess take-out containers can go in the recycling. Then clean and organize that one shelf or drawer before putting back only the needed items.

Your next encounter may be with gift boxes, gift bags, gift wrap and ribbons. If the gift wrap drawer won't close properly, you know you have too much stuff. Pull it all out. Recycle the crushed bows and boxes. Do the same with the wrinkled wrap and gift bags. Save the items you know you will use in the upcoming months and donate the excess. If you want to go green and get a Sunday print newspaper, save the comics for gift wrap. Clean the drawer or closet shelf, and put the saved items back. You now have two clean, decluttered places.

Moving forward. Your two clean drawers are now your go to place for inspiration. Feeling good about what you have already accomplished will make it easier to tackle bigger issues. Websites abound with advice on decluttering and organizing. The Spruce is one of many places for your next step, while FlyLady.net is focused on introducing new habits to get your home under control, and keep it that way. Click around and find a site that works for you.

Why all the effort? You will want your home to show at its best, maximizing your return and reducing your time on the market. A decluttered home looks spacious. Organized drawers and closets highlight the available storage space. This article from the NYTimes points out the benefits of a clutter free home: "buyers want to see themselves someplace better and more beautiful."

If you are thinking of selling your home, you may not have the budget for an extreme makeover. Even small fixes may be out of reach, but decluttering will only cost you time and pay-off with a top dollar offer.


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