By: Sheryl Simon
If you’ve been putting off really cleaning out your house, and plan to put your house on the market in the near future, de-cluttering is a worthwhile and necessary task. The condition of your home will make a first, and lasting impression for most buyers, and a property with a lot of disorder and chaos can easily scare off house hunters in the first few moments of a showing. Because of its potential to derail a sale, a messy or “crowded” home is usually identified by a realtor during his or her first walk-through. It’s a tall order to clear out the clutter, so take these tips to heart as you get started:
1) Small Doses – remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some folks can clean their entire house in a short period of time, but for the vast majority, it’s a little too much to handle. Shoot for 15-30 minutes a day. Even if you can’t see it, you’ll be making progress.
2) Build it in to Your Daily Routine – there are often times when we’re idle during the day, and could be multi-tasking a bit more. Take a few minutes during your morning or evening routine that you otherwise wouldn’t use, and spend those moments cleaning out a closet or spare room. If you’re waiting for the morning pot of coffee to brew, or for the clothes in your washer to finish their cycle, clear out some cabinets or drawers. It all adds up and will get you closer to your goal!
3) One Room at a Time — try to take a room-by-room approach to your de-cluttering. If you try to do too much at once, you’ll never feel like you’ve accomplished anything and you’ll be overwhelmed. You’ll also limit your chances of success. Take one space, focus on it until it’s completed, and move onto the next.
4) Donate What You Don’t Need – if you’re like most people, you have a difficult time throwing things away. You’ll often find yourself thinking, “what if I need this again?” or “I can’t throw this out, it was a gift from my parents.” If you find yourself in this predicament, try to think of how others might benefit more from said items. Donate whatever you can to charity. There are drop-offs for books and clothing, and some nonprofits will come and pick up furniture or appliances. Almost anything you have lying around the house can help the less fortunate; making the donation will ease your mind, give you a sense of accomplishment, and make you feel better in the long run about parting with some sentimental items.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help – if you’ve been putting this off for some time, you could very well have a mountainous task on your hands. Find someone who knows you well and whom you trust, and ask them for help. We all have friends or family who are more organized than we are – and they can often advise on what’s important to keep, and what can be tossed or “recycled.” Having a couple of extra hands can also turn a normally tedious activity into a fun, social one. If you still find that the job is too tough to handle, or you just don’t have the time, there are professionals you can hire to ensure that your house is methodically de-cluttered, and looks the best it possibly can!
6) Your Trash Could be Someone Else’s Treasure – consider having a yard sale. It will motivate you to clear out the inside and outside of your home – and actually make a few bucks while doing it. And, when all else fails, give it away! If you’re relocating, make a pile in the garage of all of the things you don’t plan on taking with you. Putting all of the unwanted items out on the street for trash pick-up, or attach a “free” sign to them. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they get snatched up. Between
De-cluttering is no doubt a daunting task, but by following these six easy steps, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed with the process, and finally overcome the constant clutter that so many of us deal with on a daily basis. Remember that less is more when it comes to putting your house on the market — rooms will look larger and more attractive with less “stuff” piled up. If you’re thinking of selling in 2015, the first step is to consult a professional real estate broker who can help you prioritize to get the job done. After all, you want to make your home appear as presentable as possible for potential buyers, and you’ll have less to move to your new dream home when the time comes!