Clutter can kill a real estate sale quicker than a corpse in the entry. It sends the wrong message in every way, conscious and unconscious. Clutter says: “I’m a mess. My home for sale is a mess. It’s also small and depressing. Your dreams have no place here.” So if we want to sell the house we have to de-clutter. You will remove, recycle, store, or eliminate personal things (keepsakes, heirlooms, and the like), things you no longer use (for donation or storage or the dust heap), and junk. Clutter is a particular risk when a home is for sale by owner, as there is no real estate agent there to make you clean up your act. Remember – it’s not cozy – it’s clutter.
Bathroom – Expired medication, hand lotion we don’t use, and hotel soap should be the first to go. Be brutal.
Living room – Nick-nacks, sports trophies, family photos – pack it now for the move.
Hallway Closets – Closet space is a big selling point so maximize it by keeping belongings neat and organized.
Bedroom Closets – If you haven’t worn something or used something in the last year – or three – get rid of it! You probably never will. If you can’t bear to part, then store it off-site.
Bookcases – Books we have read or received as gifts should be the first to go. If you ever want to read it again, or need it to cite in that PhD thesis, you can always hit the library.
Cupboards – Kitchen cupboards especially are a gold mine of seldom used junk. Old dishes, spices, appliances missing pieces, can all be tossed or donated.
Kids Room – Lucky children have lots of things they don’t use. The process of going through their toys, books, and clothes, and picking out things to donate can teach your children valuable lessons.
Kitchen Counters – get things off the counter and into the trash (or the cupboards!).
Linen Closet – Most people have decades’ worth of faded and frayed towels and dishes.
Under Your Bed – Watch out for killer dust bunnies!
Organize – One word, are you ready? “Plastic.” Use clear plastic storage devices so you can easily see what’s inside. Get some devices in a variety of shapes and sizes. Start with zip lock bags and then buy cheap plastic boxes at Rona or Wal-Mart.