Humans are accumulators. We accumulate lots of *stuff* that we often forget we have and rarely use. When preparing to sell your home, many of us are amazed at just how much random stuff we have. Even the best home staging won't help sell your home if you don't take the time to declutter first. Seem overwhelming? We've got 5 steps to help you bust the clutter!
1. Identify your clutter "hot spots". These are places where clutter seems to collect most. In most homes, the top clutter hot spots are closets, cabinets, under sinks, in kitchens and bathrooms. Whether you tackle the hot spots first or last, once you declutter those areas you'll need to strictly enforce that nothing goes back into those spaces. Moving *stuff* back and forth between different rooms doesn't solve your clutter conundrum.
2. Rent a storage area and move "must keeps" that you don't use daily to storage. Relocate all storage from places like the garage to the storage unit. Go through every room of the home and every cabinet, closet, drawer and cubby. Anything you haven't used for at least six months or won't for sure use within the next three months, pack it up and take it to storage. Be ruthless! (It's only going to storage, after all.)
3. Remove (and replace) anything you wouldn't be willing to give the buyer in the sale. If a buyer sees it, they can ask for it. This includes curtains, removable light fixtures, statues, decorative items, your great-grandmother's hand-sewn antique lace valance in the kitchen, the painting your spouse surprised you with two anniversaries ago... if it means something to you, move it on out.
4. Create as much empty space as possible, particularly in closed spaces like closets, cabinets and pantries. If these areas are crammed full, it creates an impression of not having enough space. If these areas have plenty of room and the carefully selected items in them are lined up nicely and spaced evenly, it shows the buyer plenty of room to grow into the home.
5. Cultivate a clutter-busting obsession. As you remove clutter - either to the donation bin or the storage area - create a "home" for every item that will stay. If every item has a designated place where it belongs, keeping clutter from creeping back up on you is easier. Keep those designated "homes" obsessively organized. Organize closets, ensuring all clothing and hangers face the same direction and space them evenly. Organize cabinets with coffee mug handles all facing the same way. And make sure any kitchen appliances like toasters and coffee makers also have homes that are NOT on the countertop.
These 5 steps will get you well on the way to reducing the *stuff* you've accumulated and create the space you need to stage your home to sell!