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Advice

How to properly declutter before selling

It’s essential to put your best foot forward when selling your property. While you cannot change things like location, size or views, many things are in your control, such as cleaning, organisation and use of space.

Clutter, in particular, can affect interest. It can make a property look smaller, affect its flow, and deter a potential buyer. While you may have impeccable taste, your style won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, so it’s important to detach and depersonalise. A ‘blank’ canvas will appeal to a broader buying demographic.

Here are two great ways to approach decluttering:

  1. The KonMari Method™
  2. The short-stay rental approach

The KonMari Method™

Professional tidier Marie Kondo rose to fame in 2019 with the success of her Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The show gained global popularity due to the catchphrase “Does it spark joy?” – a proactive yet straightforward approach to clutter decision making.

Here’s an overview of Marie’s famous approach to decluttering, The KonMari Method™:

  1. Discard by category. Clothes > books > papers > miscellaneous > mementos.
  2. Break down categories into subcategories. For example, for clothes: tops > bottoms > hung items > socks > underwear > bags > accessories > event wear > shoes.
  3. Keep only the things that you love. Marie encourages people to pick up items one by one and ask themselves, “Does it spark joy?” – in other words, does it inspire joy, speak to your heart or move you. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. 
  4. Organise the space thoroughly. Store all items of the same type in the same place.
  5. Do it all in one go. Marie explains that the secret of success is to tidy up in one go, rather than bit by bit. Doing it in one shot is more likely to get the job done in the most effective way possible.

The short-stay rental approach

Another way to approach decluttering is to think of your house as a short-stay rental. Less is more, and the less personal, the better. Potential buyers want to imagine themself living in the space, and the best way to do this is with a stylised ‘blank’ canvas.

  • Minimize the amount of ‘stuff’ you need – you won't find 20 knives and forks in a holiday rental. Leave enough for six people.
  • Remove any distractions like family photos, heirloom furniture, or personal items.
  • Remove excessive loose items from counters, windowsills and tables.
  • Invest in stylish storage options such as filing systems and cupboards.
  • Return rooms to their original or most usable function.
  • Arrange furniture in a way that opens up and maximises the space.
  • Tidy behind closed doors – a curious buyer will open closets, drawers, and cupboards.
  • Clear gardens, pathways, and exterior entrances for curb appeal.
  • Don’t overdo it and make the space look too sterile. Leave art and decorative furnishings for a warm and inviting appeal.

Outside of helping maximize buyer interest, decluttering is also beneficial as it gives you a headstart on the moving process – prompting you to pack up excess personal belongings and toss away redundant items. It may also help you emotionally detach from the property ahead of moving day. 

You can never be too proactive when it comes to decluttering. Our team recommends you get started before your appraisal. At the very latest, it’s critical to get things looking spick and span before any professional photography and inspections.

As you’ve just read, preparation is critical when it comes to selling your home. The best form of preparation is a qualified real estate agent. An experienced and knowledgeable agent can provide you with a detached unbiased eye and expert advice on what you need to do to the property to optimise its selling potential. 

The process of selling can sometimes feel daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. Speak to your local Hockingstuart office today for advice and assistance with selling, including an obligation-free appraisal of your home’s current value.