The resounding theme of the housing market over the past several years has been fast-paced and high-priced. But over the last year, the markets have slowed and returned to a bit more normal pace. Homes may still get multiple offers but with fewer total bids per home. This means there are fewer bidding wars and an increase in price reductions. With longer selling times and more price reductions it may be more difficult to sell your Seattle, Washington home fast. For this reason, it is imperative that your home is perfectly staged and prepared to sell. To begin this process you need to thoroughly declutter your home.
Plan and Prepare
Decluttering an entire house takes time and a plan. Before you begin, decide on a decluttering strategy. Some homeowners swear by the KonMari method which is based on the Japanese philosophy that every item should bring you joy, others take their decluttering room by room. If you decide to follow the KonMari method you will declutter by item, starting with clothes then proceeding to books, papers, miscellaneous, and momentos. Each category should be broken down further into subcategories. So, for clothes you’ll declutter by tops, bottoms, jackets, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, and shoes. Go through each item piece by piece. Pick it up and go with your first emotion. Does the item mean something to you? If it doesn’t get rid of it. If it does, keep it. You could also declutter room by room, simply moving through each area collecting items that you would like to throw away, donate, or pack away to have in your new home.
Regardless of what method you choose, you will need a few supplies. Decluttering will create quite a bit of trash so have plenty of heavy duty trash bags on hand. You will also need boxes for items you want to donate. Finally, have a few containers to pack away items that you want to keep but need to put away during the selling process.
Start in the Bathroom
The bathroom is the easiest room to declutter so start there. Remove dirty clothes, towels, and washrags from the room. Move on to the sink area. Remove old cleaning supplies from under the sink, as well as half-used or unnecessary toiletries. Move onto the medicine cabinet where there are probably old bottles of cold medicine or aspirin that you should throw away. Finally, remove old or half empty shampoo, conditioner, and body washer from the shower.
Move to the Bedroom
According to 75% of HomeLight real estate agents, the master bedroom is one of the top three rooms that need to be staged to perfection. Decluttering your bedroom will begin with removing clothing items from your closet. This can be a bit difficult for some who are always saving clothes that they hope to wear one day. However, removing old clothing will make room for newer pieces that you will actually wear. The same is true for shoes and undergarments. Go through each item and decide if it should be thrown out, donated, or kept. When you are done neatly organize your clothes in the closet. When your closet is decluttered, move to the other areas of the master bedroom that tend to hold clutter such as the nightstand and dresser. Remove everything that does not have a purpose leaving only items that contribute to the staging of the room.
Next the Living Room
Our living rooms are one of the central areas of our lives, which is why they are the most important room to declutter and stage for potential buyers. While you may have your living room filled with nick-nacks, momentos, and extra sentimental furniture pieces, these items are not necessary for the staging or selling of your home. Remove any extra trinkets, books, toys, DVDs, etc. that are cluttering your entertainment area or shelves. Next, get rid of excessive throw pillows and blankets. Finally, remove additional furniture that takes away from the space. You only need a sofa, accent chair or two, and an accent table to stage a living room.
Then the Kitchen
Your kitchen is all about counter space, cabinet space, and pantry storage. None of these areas can be clearly seen by a buyer if they are cluttered with unnecessary cooking items, food, etc. Remove excess items and get rid of goods that are expired or will never be used. Then organize the items in the cabinets in a presentable way. Remove extra daily appliances such as the toaster from the counter and put it in the pantry or bottom cabinet so that you demonstrate just how much counter space your kitchen has. Finally, if you have a kitchen island, leave it open except for a small bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers in the center.
Finally the Extra Bedrooms
Additional bedrooms are not nearly as important as the master bedroom, but you will still want to show that each room has ample space and storage. Go through the closets and remove extra clothes that can be thrown away, donated, or stored. Rehang the clothes in an orderly fashion and clear out any clutter than may be on the closet floor. Next, remove sentimental items, photos, and personal knick-knacks from shelves around the rooms. Finally, remove any excess toys or furniture that may obstruct a buyer’s path or view of the room.
While decluttering may seem like a boring never-ending task, it is one of the most important tasks to complete before selling your home. Decluttering is recommended by over 98% of top real estate agents and has a record of increasing a home’s asking price by 3-5%. Decluttering may take quite a bit of time so begin the process well before you list your home. Stick with your decluttering plan and work at it little by little. When the process is finally done your home will be ready for a deep cleaning, staging, and a professional real estate photo shoot.