A Seller's Guide: Decluttering Before You Move

Getting ready to list your home on the real estate market is a stressful and time-consuming endeavor. Thankfully, you can jumpstart the market preparation process weeks or months in advance by beginning to whittle down the number of possessions you have in your home.

It's essential to have a clutter-free property during home showings. A tidy home will impress shoppers. We'll walk you through a few ways to declutter your home that will save you time and money during your moving process (you can thank us later).

KNOW WHEN IT'S TIME TO LET GO

If you've lived in your current home for more than a month or two, you've likely accumulated a lot of stuff. De-cluttering is undoubtedly more important than staging, itself, which is why it is critical let some of this stuff go. Clear your home of unnecessary clutter before you attempt to stage your home for photography and home showings.

Look at each item and ask yourself some questions: Does it still work? Is it truly adding value to your life? Do you have two of the same thing but only need one? Have you used it in the last six months — or in the last year? If it were lost or destroyed by accident would you be upset about it? For that matter, how long would it even take for you to realize that it's gone?

Decluttering has become an art thanks to Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo. Kondo has has gained many dedicated fans who enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home thanks to her teachings. Check out her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if you want to take your decluttering to the next level.

Photo: www.modernmrsdarcy.com

SET GOALS

Set goals, such as unloading ten items per week, going through one room per week, or getting rid of one third of everything by the time you move — whatever works for you.

Clearing out old and unwanted possessions in advance of your move can make your move easier, so that setting up in your new home is more enjoyable.

Most people have a hard time getting rid of things because we think of them as assets, even if that’s not necessarily the case. Knowing they’re there and need to be tended to consumes mental energy we can use towards bigger life decisions, and there's a liberating feeling that comes with having less to keep track of or move around. Fortunately, most things we want to truly keep forever — jewelry,photo albums, yearbooks, drawings from our kids when they were young — are small enough to pack into a single chest or container.

For everything else, consider renting some long-term storage space, offering it to any college students in the family who may need cheap furniture, or taking a few loads to Goodwill to benefit a good cause. You'll be glad you did!

SHOW OFF STORAGE SPACE

Rooms and storage areas look more appealing for potential buyers if you can clear out some items and open up space. One of the top things potential buyers are looking at in a home is the amount of storage space available. Getting an early start on clearing your inventory brings an advantage since closets and cabinets are always going to look bigger if they're not as full. You're also going to improve your home's appearance for buyers if you clear out worn or dated furniture, and it doesn't hurt if some of the rooms are left sparsely furnished or near empty.

Start with your basement and garage — two places that can often get cluttered but could be strong selling points, if you have them looking big and roomy — and put some honest thought into whether you need to hang onto everything there.

Photo: www.daleao.com

Not only does decluttering save you time and money during your move (there's nothing more frustrating than moving something you thought you needed, only to throw it away when you arrive at your new home), but can also build your confidence to decide what kind of new home you’re looking for, and even help you sell!