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Declutter for dollars - Learn why and how to declutter your home for the best possible sale.

Image of two piles of donate and keep

Let’s face it. It is easy to bring things into your home right? Mail, gifts, shopping excursions, and late-night one-click shopping that we are all guilty of. The items build up all around in each room of our homes. Guess what? Things don’t leave on their own. Things do not leave without effort. It is hard to get the things out once they are in.

So why do we declutter before we prepare to list our homes for sale? With the right home, buyers need to imagine themselves living in your home. It's usually a good sign when those buyers linger and start picturing their belongings within your home. We want them to stay and feel comfortable. We want them to imagine your home as their new home. While still displaying all the charm and appeal of your home, we want them to have somewhat of a blank canvas to facilitate this visualization. Spaces overfilled with your stuff makes it very difficult for them to do this.

The more people can fall in love with your home, the higher the likelihood that they are willing to come closer to your list price. Clutter can be a distraction that can actually have a direct impact on the price they are willing to pay if they can even get to the point of seeing themselves in the home. With clutter comes distractions. Buyers will feel like they are intruding in your home when it is cluttered and they won’t want to stay and linger. Buyers will see that your home has been taken care of if it is decluttered. Additionally, a decluttered space will feel more spacious for them so they do not see a possible storage problem, which we all know is a premium in Southwest Florida. So isn’t that worth the time it takes to properly prepare and declutter your spaces before photographing and listing your home?

Decluttering is the first step to helping buyers see the beauty of your home. A common guide that many organization professionals use to declutter or depersonalize your home is to reduce your contents by approximately 50%. There are also some steps that may make sense to tackle to let its full potential shine through! Is there new fresh paint in your home, new cabinets, gorgeous counter tops, newly cleaned tile, or beautiful fresh hardwoods? Decluttering and cleaning will allow buyers to fully appreciate these highlights. Decluttering will make your home more appealing and you have to move anyway so let’s get the “stuff” cleared out in the beginning. So, how do we declutter in order to create this space for our buyers to enjoy?

"Where do I start?" you might ask. There is no perfect place to start, it’s important that you just start. Do one room at a time. For example, let’s start in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy place with lots of action always going on. It is a valuable place within your home. Pick a target. Such as:

  • Outside fridge doors

  • Counter top

  • Coffee Mug cabinet

  • Pots and Pans cabinet

  • Spices

  • Shelf or Two in the Pantry

  • Cooking Utensil Drawers

Consider working in small increments (e.g. 10- 15 minute sessions). Get a few boxes or paper bags and make one keep, one donate, and one trash. If you have more than one of something, there is a high likelihood you don’t really need it. Remove the “Space Hogs” from your counters (i.e.: juicer, air fryer, blender) any things you don’t use on a daily basis. Once your minutes are up, go and clean up what you have completed. Take the trash out, take the donations to the car or garage, and put away your keep items. These quick few-minute increments may seem like baby steps, but in the long run, they are more motivating than spending long drawn-out time on each targeted spot. Your kitchen will look more enjoyable to cook in once decluttered.

It may not be fun to declutter, but with baby steps it can be manageable and give a feeling of accomplishment. Working in smaller increments of time will make you want to do more. The best payoff comes at the end when a buyer (or two or three) fall in love with your home and make an offer that meets your financial and time needs.


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