Decluttering is the first step to getting your home ready to sell. Staging a home is not the same as decorating. It is about highlighting the features of your home and taking away distractions. Clutter is a distraction. You are moving, you will need to pack, so think of decluttering as starting your packing in advance.
Here are 10 Steps to Decluttering:
1. Get prepared.
Collect packing boxes or bins, newspapers for fragile items, labels and markers, and garbage bags so you have everything you need to start.
2. Choose a room to start with.
For some people decluttering can be very overwhelming. We want this to be a calm and organized process for you. Pick one room at a time to focus on. If you are easily overwhelmed, set a timer for 15 minutes and work on the room 15 minutes at a time.
3. Start with the floor and work your way up.
Any room will look cleaner and larger with the floor free from clutter. Get rid of the pile of newspapers or magazines in the corner. Put the cat tree in the garage. Keep it simple. When the floor is decluttered, work your way up to the surfaces of the tables, fireplace mantles, etc. See the Three Item Rule below.
4. If you don’t use it every day, put it away.
Especially important in the kitchen, where we typically have several items on our counters that we rarely use.
5. Keep Pathways Clear
You don’t want buyers bumping into things when they are touring your home. Please do not put anything on the stairways as decorations, this is a dangerous trip hazard.
6. Bookshelves should only have books standing upright
Books on their side are cluttered. If you have too many books, pack some away.
7. China or display cabinet contents
Should also be paired down so as not to be distracting.
8. Clean off surfaces that are not meant to store things.
Nothing on top of the TV, refrigerator, nothing on or around the toilet, etc.
9. Pick up the rugs.
Rugs usually make a room feel smaller.
The only place I like to see rugs is where people have to stand, in front of the kitchen or bathroom sink, in front of the washer and dryer, and in the entry for shoes, or if you have all wood or tile floors in the living or family room a fluffy rug can warm up the area. All other rugs can go.
Artwork is important to create emotion and a theme or feeling in your home. Takedown anything that is distracting, such as nudes or stuffed animals. Keep the colorful paintings or prints that make you feel good when you look at them.
Remember the 3 Item Rule
The 3-item rule says that any more than 3 items on a surface are clutter. A surface may be a table, a bookshelf, or a section of countertop in the kitchen.
Keep the 3 Item Rule in mind when you are decluttering your home.