It’s always going to be worth the effort to declutter your home before putting it on the market. If you are in any doubt as to why decluttering is crucial, just take a look online at properties for sale and select the ones you like the best. I can guarantee it will be the ones with images of spacious, clutter-free rooms. If the thought of decluttering your home sends you into a cold sweat, we’ve got our top 5 decluttering tips to help you make this process a breeze.
1. Prepare yourself mentally
Imagine your property is already under offer and you’re on your way to moving to your new home. This can really help focus the mind on what you actually want to take with you and what it’s time to kiss goodbye to, making the decluttering process feel less like a chore and more like a necessity. It will also give you the time and space to declutter at a pace that suits you, rather than in a chaotic, last minute rush.
2. Be systematic and organised
Our second decluttering tip is to start with a list of the rooms and areas you need to declutter and then put them in order of priority. Next, tackle them one at a time, making sure you finish one room before starting on the next. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, so breaking it down into manageable chunks will make the entire process feel less stressful.
3. Do keep, don’t keep, don’t know – start sorting
- Divide your belongings into three piles – things you know you want to keep, things you know you don’t want to keep and things you’re not sure about. Tremendous headway can be made purely by removing the things you know you don’t want, without getting repeatedly stuck on the things you’re not sure about.
- Remove the things you don’t want from each room as you go. Store them in a shed or garage or, better still, donate them to charity, recycle or dispose of them immediately.
- Put the things you’re not sure about in boxes to be sorted at a later date. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to make decisions about these items once your drawers and shelves are neat and tidy.
4. Ask for help
If you’re struggling to find the time and motivation to start the decluttering process, ask a friend to come and lend a hand. It can help to have someone who isn’t emotionally involved in the decluttering process to keep you focussed and on track – not to mention, way more fun. It also helps to have specific dates booked in your diary, so you know there’s a plan of action in place.
If you think this is more than your friends can handle, try a professional declutterer. They can be worth every penny. They should be fast and efficient and show you how to clear your surfaces, find sensible, practical storage solutions and live clutter-free lives for evermore. To get a recommendation for a professional declutterer, try asking a local, online forum like Nextdoor or better still, if you live in London, try us! Not only will we help you sort and store the items you want to keep, but we will also donate, recycle or dispose of the items you want to get rid of.
5. Get the kids on board
The final decluttering tip is, if you have children with toys or clothes they’ve outgrown, give them each a box. Ask them to put everything inside they no longer want. If they don’t immediately jump at the request, then find an incentive to motivate them.
When I moved from my last house, I told my daughters they could sell anything they no longer wanted at the local car boot sale and keep the money they made for themselves. It worked a treat. If that isn’t an option for your children, perhaps they could organise a toy or clothes swap with their friends. You’ll be amazed at the budding entrepreneurs they may turn out to be.
Even if we like to surround ourselves with our personal belongings, we all essentially aspire to have a tidy home. We may struggle to keep our homes clutter-free, but if we’re going to invest in somewhere new, we want it to reflect our future aspirations, not the place we’re leaving behind.
Not only does a cluttered home feel untidy, but it can also appear smaller than it really is, and potentially claustrophobic. Like an unpleasant smell, we are unlikely to notice it when it’s our own, but we definitely notice when it belongs to someone else.
Decluttering a property for sale isn’t just about addressing the areas that are immediately visible. Viewers will want to look everywhere in your home, in the garage, the shed or even inside your cupboards to see if your property will offer them the lifestyle they dream of.
Janine Shalev is a professional property and home stager at JS Property Staging. She transforms properties into spaces that prospective buyers or tenants would love to call home. Call or message Janine if you would like to discuss home staging tips and strategies for your property.
More to read: