You can lay down house rules for your family and friends, but when it comes to selling a home, nowhere is off-limits, because if you try to place restrictions on what viewers get to see (and what they don’t) then viewers are going to assume you have something to hide.
With this in mind, here are some tips on decluttering the main areas of your home.
Make sure the entryway looks utterly pristine
You only get one chance to make a first impression and it matters – a lot. Because of this, you really just need to do whatever it takes to make sure your entryway is totally clutter free, even if this means investing in new storage pieces which you know you’re going to donate when you move. Property buyers have many turn-offs, however, household clutter is one of the biggest.
If your hallway looks cluttered, people could easily assume that it’s because you either don’t have enough storage space in your home or because you can’t be bothered to manage your stuff.
Neither of these thoughts is likely to inspire enthusiasm and confidence in you or your home.
The living room
Make sure anything visible looks attractive. If you have unsightly items on open shelves, put them into boxes. This includes electronics, if need be, get a regular cardboard storage box (an attractive one) and cut out the back so the cables can run where needed.
Invest in some storage furniture for super-quick, last-minute decluttering just before guests arrive. As most estate agents showing prospective buyers around your property will start with the living room, you need to make sure this is the most inviting room of the home.
If you have built-in storage units, then assume viewers are going to want to look inside them to get an idea of just how much space is actually available so make sure that the interiors of your wardrobes are as organized as can possibly be, even if this means taking out some of your clothes and putting them into storage. Generally speaking you can ignore the interiors of storage pieces you’ll be taking with you as viewers won’t be concerned about those.
Bathrooms can be challenging places to keep in sales condition because they are used regularly throughout the day, so toilet rolls are going to run out and toilet brushes are going to be used. The only practical approach here is discipline.
You need to drill it into your family that until your house is sold, they need to leave the bathroom as they would expect to find it in a hotel. When dealing with bathrooms, the smell can be an issue, so deal with it discreetly by using a good reed diffuser.
These look like decor and work all the time (as long as you keep the scent topped up), plus they don’t need to be lit or powered by batteries.
The kitchen may be the toughest area of the house to manage since it is in constant use and will generally contain a lot of built-in storage which viewers will want to examine.
Brutal as this may sound, one effective trick is to allow your food supplies to run down, so they take up less storage space, which you can then use to store items which might otherwise be left on your counter.
Get rid of unwanted items
We have all at least once fallen for the trap of “it might be useful one day.” However, such items are usually the ones that have been in the same box, bag, suitcase or the loft for years and, because you had forgotten they were in there, you have probably bought a new one instead!
This trap is also one of the main causes of decluttering processes failures – so don’t fall for it! If they are inexpensive and you are sure you won’t use them, recycle them (if you can), give away to charity or as dispose of them safely. Consider renting a roll-off dumpster or a skip if the rubbish is a lot and you can’t take it to the local dump.