The Busy Mom Guide to Declutter and Prepare For a House Sale
For busy moms preparing a house to sell can seem overwhelming. It does take organization and effort. But decluttering, the essential first step is well worth the effort, and there are ways to make it an easy, positive process.
Decluttering is vital: it’s the foundation for cleaning and staging, steps that make a house show-ready and desirable.
Sparkling clean, well-presented homes can, according to Consumer Reports, get 3-5% higher offers, or even more. They invite buyers to imagine themselves living there, and that connection often leads to an offer.
This post is sponsored by HomeLight.com.
“Quality of Life” Decluttering vs. Decluttering to Sell
Books like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up offer great tips on decluttering just for the purpose of having a better life. But selling a home requires intensive decluttering with the goal of an open, depersonalized look.
Counters and other surfaces should be cleared so that buyers focus on the house itself. This means snack supplies, bath products, laundry, books, etc. should disappear.
No scattered toys on the floor, no collection of shoes in the front hall, no family photos filling up a wall. Storage spaces, including closets, cabinets, and drawers, should be partially empty and organized to show off their space. Buyers look everywhere, and who can blame them? They want to know exactly what they’re buying before making an offer.
There’s much to do before listing your house for sale, but it can be a good experience. Even if you’re not sure about selling yet, a little decluttering now can streamline “The Big Declutter” later, if you do greenlight the sale.
Remember, the more you pack away or get rid of, the more packed you are, and the less you have to move. You can let go of things you no longer use or love, for a fresh, decluttered start in your next home.
Tips To Help You Get Started
- Set up boxes or bins for Keep & Pack Away, Donate, and Not Sure. Have some bags ready for the trash. This will help you divide and conquer!
- Research ahead where to recycle old electronics, or where to donate books, clothes, toys, etc.
- Do one room, or part of a room, at a time, and complete it. Use a timer so you don’t overdo. A playlist can help too: sing or bop around while you’re at it.
- Set aside time in your calendar, whether daily or weekly, for decluttering. Show up for it as you would for work or your kid’s soccer game.
- Be firm: don’t keep things that maybe you will use or wear someday. Let those things go. If an item is stopping you, put it in the Not Sure box and make sure you get to it at a quieter moment.
- Enlist help. Kids may be able to do the Keep/Donate project with their toys and belongings, and they may feel good about getting involved. Or delegate chores to others to free up your time. Ask friends to babysit or cover carpool shifts or playdates.
- Stop buying things. For example, it’s not the time for new holiday decorations that will have to be packed and moved.
- Realize you can say NO to some things in life right now that you might normally do or take on. Make as much time as you can for decluttering.
- Prepare for some up-and-down emotions. The process might feel hard, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a long time, or somewhere you’re sorry to leave. It’s natural. But the process is also positive: clearing out clutter from your life, helping others by giving donations, and starting a new adventure.
The Pros Can Help
Once you declutter, the next steps are organizing what’s left, deep cleaning, and staging the house for that perfect look.
There are pros who can help take any of these steps off your shoulders: hiring a professional organizer or stager, or a cleaning company with services for home sellers, may be a good investment to save time if you’re a busy mom. Top Realtors in your area can help with tips, advice, and feedback on preparing a house that will stand out and sell fast for the best price possible.