Ultimate Decluttering Checklist to Help You Sell Your Home

decluttering checklist

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One of the most important steps to preparing a home for staging is to declutter. This simple step significantly impacts how well a house shows during the selling process, and we think our decluttering checklist will make this tedious job easier for you!

There are many reasons to declutter your home before putting it on the market.

For one, clearing out the clutter makes the house seem larger and more appealing to prospective buyers. A clean house that’s clear of clutter will also make prospective buyers feel confident that it has been maintained well.

When you’re selling a house, it’s essential to make its presentation to others different from its lived-in look.

When staging a home, it must be depersonalized and have minimal décor. For this reason, even the tidiest and most well-organized homes can benefit from decluttering and home staging.

If you’re planning to put your home on the market, follow our ten decluttering tips below to prepare it for staging.

Clear Out the Closets

When potential buyers walk through your house, they want to check everything, which is why stuffing your closets full of the things you removed from the rest of the house while decluttering isn’t going to work. You need to clear out the closets too.

Storage space is one of the top features buyers look for in a home. Naturally, they’ll want to see what’s available in terms of closet space.

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If you leave your closets unorganized and packed full of stuff, they will look much smaller than they really are.

Empty your closets so that they only contain essential items. If you haven’t already moved into a new home where you can keep everything, store it at a friend or family member’s house, or rent a storage unit.

Empty the Shelves

While keeping some décor on bookshelves can make a house feel more like home, too much décor can become downright distracting to potential buyers.

The items that pass for nice décor in your everyday life will most likely make your shelves look cluttered when your house is on the market.

Empty as much as possible off the shelves around your house to make the spaces look open and clean.

As a general rule, you should try to free up 50 to 70 per cent of shelf space throughout the home.

If every shelf is lined with books, pack up most of them and store them with everything else in a storage unit or at a friend or family member’s place.

Declutter the Kitchen Countertops

Kitchens and bathrooms require more decluttering and depersonalization than most other rooms in the home.

These spaces typically contain a lot of kitchen appliances and personal items that need to be packed away when it’s time to show the house.

There should only be a few things left on the countertops when potential buyers walk through.

The only items that should be left on the countertops in the kitchen and bathroom would be some minimal decorative items, such as apothecary jars filled with accents like cotton balls and bath salts in the bathroom and beans and noodles in the kitchen.

You can also place a flower in the kitchen, a small green plant in the bathroom, and a cookbook on a stand in the kitchen.

Remember that home staging requires different decorating techniques than you may be used to.

Simple accents are all it takes to make the home feel more inviting without distracting potential buyers from focusing on the house.

Neutralize the Palette

In addition to removing items from the home, it’s essential to do some visual decluttering by neutralizing the palette.

The goal is to create a neutral, cohesive scene with coordinating colors, patterns, and furniture scale.

First, you must neutralize the color palette throughout the house. Bold colors and busy patterns can be distracting. Neutralizing the color palette will help potential buyers see past your personal taste and help them focus on the positive attributes of the house instead of getting caught up in the décor.

Choose a color like beige or gray for the walls and use neutral furniture.

A few colorful accents can be added with throw pillows, abstract art, or stock photos.

Furniture should also be of neutral color, and bulky items should be removed from the home. Visually lighter pieces will make the space appear larger.

Focus on One Room at a Time

Thinking about the amount of work involved in decluttering your entire home can feel overwhelming and unmotivating.

When faced with decluttering, don’t focus on the big picture.

Start small by dedicating at least an hour of the day to work on one room at a time. Focus on the task in front of you, and you’ll get everything done without feeling overwhelmed.  

Categorize the Clutter

As you declutter each room, categorize the clutter into three separate piles:

  • Trash
  • Donate
  • Keep

To get even more organized, create subcategories within the three main ones.

This critical step can help expedite the process of donating or giving away the items you don’t need to keep and give you an accurate picture of the amount of storage space you’ll require for the things you do need.

Keep Track with Storage Boxes

Storage boxes are essential for keeping track of the clutter around the house as you clear it out.

Storage boxes can store items you want to keep or transport items you’re donating and giving away. Since storage boxes are designed to hold heavy loads, you can pack away more things with peace of mind.

Don’t forget to add labels to the boxes to keep things organized as you move.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Belongings

One of the most challenging things about decluttering (and moving in general) is getting rid of unnecessary belongings.

Moving is the perfect time to downsize, especially if you’re moving abroad or across the country. You can still benefit from shedding unnecessary things even if you’re just moving down the street.

Any items you come across that no longer serve a purpose in your life and are just taking up space can be donated or thrown away.

Consider Functionality

Before you host an open house or schedule walkthroughs of your home, consider the functionality of the layout and furniture design.

Think about the paths potential buyers will take as they walk through your home and how they’ll move around in each room. Redecorate the layout of your home so that it appears as convenient as it is aesthetically pleasing.

Create an Inviting Atmosphere

As you declutter, remember that the ultimate goal is to create an inviting atmosphere for prospective buyers.

You want your home to feel warm and welcoming from the moment they walk through the door.

Choose a warm color scheme for each room, use accents like throw blankets and decorative pillows, and add some depth with candles or scented wax.

Need Help Decluttering Your Home?

Taking the time to declutter your home is one of the most important things you can do before putting it on the market. When you take the time to do this, you increase the chances of selling your home faster and for a higher price.

Once your home has been decluttered, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional home stager who can come and give their recommendations on how to stage the house for sale.

With the right look and feel, you’ll receive attractive offers quickly when your home hits the market.

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