Moving Guide

Decluttering Your Home Attractive for Staging

| Home Tips | Gerry Clark

You’ve made up your mind. It’s move time. In all the forward-focused excitement, however, it’s easy to ignore your current surroundings. If clutter is making you feel a bit closed in, think how potential home buyers might react.

Conquering the overflow will make your home more attractive and help maintain its marketplace value. Personal finance columnist Liz Weston states poorly maintained homes might suffer a 5%–10% sale price dip. Some real-estate agents avoid working with clients who own cluttered homes. Plus, discarding heavier items just might cut your cost of moving and ease your packing (and unpacking) burden. Crossing clutter cleanup off your moving checklist likely will help you breathe a sigh of relief as you ramp up to moving day.

ID your clutter

Clutter comes in two varieties: the kind resulting from poor organization vs. the type stemming from “too much stuff” syndrome. Identifying yours at the onset will guide you as to whether to store it more effectively or discard it. Gaining insight into why you own certain possessions should prove helpful as well. People sometimes feel guilty discarding or selling certain possessions, including gifts, family heirlooms, rarely worn clothing or greeting cards. Ask yourself: Is owning this item enhancing my life?

Before beautifying your home’s interior, you’ll first need to tackle the outside. This is where the fabled first impression occurs. How’s that curb appeal? Is that roadside mailbox standing at attention or slouching? Does the lawn resemble an enormous dandelion bouquet or a tidy green canvas? A freshly painted porch and properly maintained welcome mat make the right impression. Front door and windows also should be spick and span.

OK. Now let’s enter the home. Remember, we’re clearing clutter, not converting your home into a sterile laboratory. The house should show signs of life, but be “neutral” enough to heighten mass appeal. Children’s toys, knick-knack collections, photos and personal effects represent items that often distract buyers from realizing a home’s full potential, so remove those from plain sight. Temporary self-storage would prove ideal in this situation, if possible. Be wary of the time of year, too. If you’re moving during summer, you’ll have no use for your Halloween or Christmas decorations, so offsite storage would prove a great option.

Resist the temptation to use closets as dumping grounds. Potential buyers desire abundant storage space. A crammed closet looks undersized and overwhelmed. Make it a priority to clean those closets. When your pro movers arrive, they’ll appreciate your streamlined approach. Are you a bookworm? No one wants you looking less literate, but excessive volumes on bookshelves will spell c-l-u-t-t-e-r. Consider packing up most of your books and moving them temporarily off-site. Aim for shelves half to three-quarters empty for a spacious vibe.

Countertops (whether bathroom or kitchen) should play host to few items. Kitchen-counter mainstays such as toasters, coffeemakers and salt shakers should be tucked out of sight. Keep décor to a minimum. Ditto for the water closet. Place as many items as possible in under-sink or wall cabinets.

Remember, you’re still living in your home, so you require ready access to kitchenware and bathroom items, for example. One solution the moving men at National Van Lines recommends is using accessible bins for clothes, towels, bedsheets, surplus pots and plates, cleaning supplies and toiletries. You’ll be able to use them, but they won’t intrude on your home-staging efforts.

Say goodbye

Tour your home with a pad and pen. Jot down what each room requires to look its best before your deadline. Be wary of “repurposed rooms,” those areas straying beyond their original intention, such as a bedroom converted into a multimedia room or a family room turned into an office. Work to get those areas back to at least a semblance of their original purpose. While taking the tour, also focus on items falling into the “too much stuff” category. These can be sold, donated or discarded.

For sellable items, schedule a yard, garage or tag sale for multiple days during a great weather period. You also can pursue the online route by using eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Friends and family easily can access Facebook posts advertising your purchasable possessions. Make the most of your online ads by using captivating photos and detailed descriptions. Offer to mail items or offer in-person pickup.

Items that hold appeal as donations include books, coats, useable electronics, blankets, clothing, furniture, office equipment and kitchen appliances. Since these donations are tax-deductible, make sure to obtain receipts if giving to such charitable organizations as Goodwill or Salvation Army.

National Van Lines is dedicated to making your long-distance moving experience easier. As a national moving company, we’ve been helping families move memories for nearly 90 years. Contact us online or call 877-590-2810 for answers to your moving questions plus a free quote.

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