Listing Your Home – Part 4
This is the most important step of all! Uncluttering doesnt include just your daily personal items but also your decorating style. For example, you like to cook and have your mixer, toaster oven, blender, spice rack, all readily available cluttering up your kitchen countertops. Another example would be if your style is Country French and you have bright yellow printed draperies, lots of floral pillows and blue & white Delft pottery adorning every tabletop. Not only is it distracting but also makes the home feel cramped and claustrophobic. Your goal is to show off the actual design, space and features not your style.
‘ Clutter makes a house feel smaller. Who wants to purchase smaller?’
Consider rooms like craft rooms and children’s rooms. They may be a nice size but you wont see it for all of the toys and scrap book materials. Make sure to get some nice coordinating organizing bins or pack them up and store them nicely in the garage. The same with worn out old furniture or too much furniture. You can certainly live without the old reclining chair until the house sells. Too much stuff is cramped, messy and overwhelming feeling.
If you do only one step – do this one! Go through every single closet and cabinet and throw out, sell, give away and donate. Potential buyers wont go through your dresser drawers but they sure will open up your cabinets and every closet. In Las Vegas, most people leave their refrigerators when they sell so dont think they wont open it up because they will. Make sure its neat and tidy too.
Living with the Basics
We can all live without a lot of the things in our homes. Now is the time to get back to basics. You may want to get a storage unit to put your Christmas decorations, out of season clothing, Grandma’s china, furniture that takes up too much space for the purpose of selling. If you’re wondering whether to keep it handy or not, ask yourself if you’ll need it before your new home. Consider your new home and what you will need there then get rid of appropriately.
When selling my last home that I had owned for five years, I started preparing two months in advance to prime selling time (Spring in Las Vegas). Right after the new year I began going through each closet at a time and dividing between throw-out, give away, donate, and sell. This process gave me an immense amount of pleasure in giving things to friends and family, donating to our local SafeNest and Dress for Success, throwing away junk I didnt know how I accumulated (like 10 shades of pink lipstick) and my favorite – a good garage sale prepping.
During this phase I also created new spaces to organize. I didnt need built-in shelving in my closet for sweaters since I have 3 dressers, but I thought a new buyer might. I had my handyman go to Home Depot and purchase supplies to do this in a way it coordinate with my other built-ins in my closet. I actually had to pull stuff out of dressers to fill it but it was good for staging.
Create spaces for everything and everything in its space. I was fine to keep a small plastic grocery bag in one side of my sink as trash but I bet the new buyer wouldnt like that so I added a pull out garbage can under the sink. That made me decide to want a pull out on the other side for all of the cleaning supplies. Wa-la organizing and creating space.
In my laundry room I have a really great old willow laundry basket. I left it on top of the ugly run-of-the-mill dryer that I planned to leave, with fresh towels neatly folded. It made the laundry area look cute and served as space for extra towels.
Clutter is more than the little stuff – its the big stuff too. Oversized and worn furniture sticks out like a big thumb; it also makes a room seem smaller than it is. On the flip side, no furniture also makes a room look small because there is no perspective. Dont let a piece of furniture hide a nice view, big picture window or protrude too much in a walking space or path. When you cant find a right place for a piece of furniture then it doesnt belong. Either give it away or put it into storage. The same thing with too many accessories. As a rule, a few bigger accessories are better than several small ones which make it look cluttered.
Remove as much furniture and accessories as possible without the room looking stark. No furniture sends a message that the Seller is desperate to sell and may result in lower offers. Consider living in your new home with a few basics while leaving your listed home furnished. Obviously do hire a professional stager when possible.
Too many doors are also clutter. Consider taking them down and storing them in the garage. Its no wonder barn doors are popular now, they create space and a cheap fix to a pocket door. If you have bulky closet doors consider putting up a nice drapery or barn door. Both can be super inexpensive.
Uncluttering as Therapy
Uncluttering can be hugely rewarding. Not only will you come across the “what am I holding onto this for?
but also old momentos, letters and photos. Let this be a great time to finally organize things and get rid of the junk. It will make you feel lighter and help to plan your new space.
Uncluttering also makes for a much smoother mover to your new home. You can literally cut the amount of stuff you’re moving by half by simply giving items to friends and family that you think they may enjoy, selling it at a garage sale (or two) and donating to a good charity. All of which are immensley rewarding.
Part of getting organized and uncluttered is making good lists. Break down all of the chores that need to be done and you should be able to tackle preparing your home to sell within a month of weekends. I will be covering this topic in the next issue. I hope to see you next time!
Happy Home Selling!