Decluttering: The First Step in Home Staging

When buyers see photographs of a cluttered house, they don’t see the great property underneath — they just see the stuff. That’s why it’s so important that sellers declutter before putting their home on the market. The same property can look small and cramped or clean and spacious depending on the amount of clutter in the home. Clutter-free homes are also easier to stage. Instead of using staging tricks to hide your stuff, you can proudly show off your home knowing that buyers will see everything it has to offer. If you’re hiring a home stager, you’ll want to declutter the house first so you’re not paying a professional to sort through your stuff. This may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve lived in the home for years. However, with time and dedication, anyone can achieve the clutter-free home that buyers want. Here’s where to start.  

Clean Out Problem Areas

If your house has a garage, basement, or attic, odds are that’s where your clutter resides. These out-of-the-way spaces are convenient places to stash seasonal decorations, recreational gear, and various household tools and chemicals. Over time, they also become home to unwanted holiday gifts you feel too guilty to throw away, broken power equipment you plan to fix “someday,” and boxes you’ve yet to unpack from your last move. Be ruthless when decluttering these clutter hotspots. Get rid of anything that’s sat around long enough to collect dust or that you didn’t remember owning until unearthing it from the dark recesses of your garage. If it’s broken, damaged, or not worth the money it would cost to move, throw it out now. Once you’re down to the necessities, install overhead and wall storage to keep your stuff off the floor and out of the way.  

Pack Everything But the Necessities

Next, take your moving supplies indoors. Anything you don’t need while your house is on the market should be packed and moved to off-site storage to maximize the open space in your home. Items you’re not keeping can be donated, sold, recycled, or thrown away, but whatever you decide, move quickly. The longer you hold onto clutter, the harder it is to part with.  

Organize with Staging in Mind

The ways you organize for daily life and the ways you organize for staging are different – in your home life, you want things accessible, which often means out and on display. But for staging, clear surfaces are best, which means hidden storage reigns supreme. Even if your home doesn’t have a lot of built-in storage, you can create storage solutions that keep your stuff out of sight. Use under-bed storage in the bedroom, decorative baskets for living room clutter, and lazy Susans and closet organizers to tidy up storage areas. Assess each room of the house to determine the best ways to add storage that not only works but also looks good.  

Simplify Daily Upkeep

Now that your home is clutter-free, you have to keep it that way. When interested buyers walk in the door for a showing, the last thing you want them to see is piles of mail or children’s toys strewn across the living room. If you’re living in the home while it’s on the market, that means you need to devise routines to maintain your staged home. Making a weekly cleaning schedule is the first step, but you also have to follow through. To make it easier, stock a cleaning caddy in each bathroom, invest in a stick vacuum for the second story, and keep stain removers handy for carpeted areas. When cleaning supplies are right where you need them, you can keep your home show-ready with less hassle. Buyers have a long list of things they need to do to prepare a home for sale. But even if you don’t have the time to make repairs, repaint, or add curb appeal, decluttering is a must. With your stuff out of the way, buyers can focus their attention on the main attraction: your home.   Image via Unsplash Article submitted by Seth Murphy of

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