| by Kenneth Chase | 19 comments

How to Declutter When Selling Your House | Clutter Video Tip

Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter
Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about preparing your home for
sale, otherwise known as staging your home. Now, I’m thinking about this in particular
right now because I’m doing it. We are downsizing into a home that’s about 1/3 the size that
we currently live in. The boys are leaving for college and I have been looking forward
to this for a very long time, just simplifying, having a smaller space, fewer things to take
care of. And if you know me at all, you understand why that’s appealing. But I first have to
sell this house. So we’re doing that by removing things that are distracting to potential
buyers. So that is your whole goal of staging a home, is removing those distractions so
that buyers can picture themselves living there, not you. So what that means is anything
that’s broken, anything that’s dirty, or anything that reminds them there’s still
another family living here, needs to be removed, or fixed, or cleaned. So let’s talk about first the curb appeal.
This is right when you drive up, what does the house look like from the outside? It’s
very important to make sure that all of the landscaping is updated, you know, freshened
with flowers and mulch. Another great tip though I heard from my friend, Ashley Whittenberger,
who is one of the best stagers I know, she said that no matter what time of year if you’re
not selling your house or if you are, if there is a certain time when your house is perfect,
when the lawn is green, whether that’s springtime or whatever time of year in your area, when
your house is the best looking, take a picture right then. Because you never know if you’re
going to get stuck selling your house in the winter, you might really need to have that
picture for the listing. So think about that, especially in a good time of year, like spring,
and get it ready and take a nice picture of it. Don’t forget the front porch when you’re
thinking about curb appeal and first impressions. You want to make sure you have a clean doormat
and a clean door. [POP] You might want to get a fresh brass kick plate and kind of make
that first impression even brighter. The next thing you want to worry about is
just cleanliness in general. People are going to be looking in particular at the kitchen
and at the bathrooms. Those need to be spotless. And you need to clean this house like even
more than you would clean when your mother-in-law visits. I mean, things that you’ve never
cleaned, like your oven, your switch plates, your light fixtures, getting the bugs out
of them, cleaning the walls, washing them down, washing down the doors and all the trim,
and making sure that when all the lights are on, which you should do when you show the
house, turn every single light bulb on in the house, those light bulbs are going to
show up all the dirt that you have. So when that’s all on, you want to make sure everything
looks really clean. The next thing to think about is de-personalizing
your house. So you want to remove any kind of mementos or trophies, and certainly pictures.
We had a really large family portrait hanging over the fireplace, which we took down and
replaced with a mirror because obviously that was very distracting to, you know, that that
family was living in this house. You also want to de-personalize with your
pets. So a lot of buyers are put-off actually by any hint of having a pet in the house.
So even though you love your pet, other people may not. You want to put away any dog bowls,
dog toys, cat toys, anything that’s even evidence of the pet, as much as possible,
and then certainly when the house is being shown, have a pet plan that you put into place
so that the actual pet doesn’t [POP] distract from the looking and the showing experience. And then finally we want to talk about de-cluttering,
which is my favorite subject. So my friend Ashley Whittenberger, that I mentioned, she
says that anything [POP] smaller than a baseball should be put away and taken down and stored
so that only large decorative pieces are on the shelves. You can see that we have only
one large item per shelf in this picture. And that’s great advice, because then it
looks like a model home and again you’re removing distractions, you’re removing clutter. If you want to have a 13-page checklist with
all of this information and way more on how to prepare your home for sale, in our Member
Area at clutterdiet.com in our [POP] knowledge base, we actually give our members this 13-page
checklist. And it is a teaser for the book that I wrote, which is the Improve Your Move
Workbook, it’s a 97-page workbook that has that checklist plus all of the six-week timelines
for moving, guidelines and instructions for packing and organizing, and for setting up
in your new house, guidelines on house hunting, all kinds of information gained from my 11
moves personally, plus all the moves I’ve made with my clients over the years and all
of the real estate professionals I’ve worked with over the years. So from a professional
organizer’s point of view, I think this is one of the best resources you could ever
have getting ready to sell and buy and move. Check it out at http://www.clutterdiet.com/movingbook. See you next time, and may you always be happy
and grateful for having more than enough.


Poochy Kitty

Feb 2, 2013, 10:55 pm Reply

1st comment!!! 🙂 Anyway, could you make a Valentines special?


Feb 2, 2013, 12:38 am Reply

You are so sweet! Ha! Valentines special… what would I do? Show how to organize your many Valentines alphabetically by suitor's name? LOL!

Polly Dolly

Feb 2, 2013, 1:00 am Reply

Another great and TIMELY video! I retire in 6 months and my 2 kids will have finished school and out living their own lives. Serious downsizing! I will have 6 months to declutter, purge, sell and give away what the kids don't want to take with them. I will checkout the websites listed and add to my plan. As a widow, I now only have to please myself. The 6 months prep will be emotionally hard; but the lightening of my soul will be my reward! Thanks again!


Feb 2, 2013, 2:30 am Reply

The house we have is very large, so it doesn't make sense to live here with just the two of us, when the boys will be here only a tiny percentage of the time as guests. It sounds like you are a little more sentimental maybe than I am. 😉


Feb 2, 2013, 2:31 am Reply

Good for you, Polly Dolly! It's so great to be able to do a little at a time, it's so "digestible" that way. Yes, your soul will be lightened! 🙂

Ericka Iverson

Feb 2, 2013, 9:02 pm Reply

ok heres my question:
we havent even had a showing in over a year. how long do you have to live in your house that doesnt even seem like your house because its so de-personalized?
we've re-personalized it because we like living in our house with our things obviously. we did have photos taken when it was bare bones minimum and de-personalized… and as i said no showings anyway (real slow around here!)

but yeah… how practical is that and how long a time period to be de-personalized?


Feb 2, 2013, 11:32 pm Reply

That sounds like a very difficult situation, Ericka. You should talk to a real estate agent about specifics like this. Good luck to you!


Dec 12, 2013, 7:08 pm Reply

Great thoughts – love your videos. De cluttering is a good thing even if your not selling.

Jon Weeks

Mar 3, 2014, 6:04 pm Reply

Great tips for getting your home ready for sale!

Debi Gauthier

Nov 11, 2014, 3:54 pm Reply

You are great, but your videos are all talking.  I like examples. 

RJ Walker

Apr 4, 2015, 12:06 am Reply

I hear this alot, that  everything needs to be spotless and clean or your home won't sell.  But what they really mean is it won't sell for top dollar.   When I looked for a home, I wanted a dirty one, because all the clean ones were priced too high.  
I bought a dirty one cheap and cleaned it up myself.


Jul 7, 2015, 7:49 pm Reply

This vid had many helpful tips. Thank you for sharing.

Finlay Brewer – Brook Green

Jul 7, 2015, 2:44 pm Reply

No one wants to buy a dirty house. Same with renting a flat. Keeping it clean and presentable will increase your chance for a sale.


Aug 8, 2015, 9:26 am Reply

I love all your videos on here, and I've gotten some good tips on how to further organize and declutter my space. But when I go looking at flats I actually prefer for it to be personal and lived in (obviously not dirty). I would find it easier than an empty shell. I enjoy seeing that someone is using the space and obviously love and use it. Maybe it's like buying second hand furniture. I enjoy the knowledge that people have loved and cared for the things I love even before I loved them. I guess I'm funny that way.

Gloria J. Pinsker

May 5, 2017, 11:17 am Reply

Things are so silly nowadays & people are so spoiled. Years ago people had the sense & imagination to look at a house & see what it was like & realize that the people who live there now will be moving out! Duh! All this staging is just to create another way for people to have to spend more $$. I agree with the decluttering & cleaning but "staging" is over the top of what's necessary, IMO. It's a house, not a Broadway play for goodness sake!

Andika Duncan

Oct 10, 2018, 12:21 am Reply

Please watch my video for more tips on how to prepare your home for sale from a real estate broker and professional real estate photographer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMPiXtFQobo&feature=youtu.be

Saiid Zamani

Dec 12, 2018, 9:38 pm Reply

Fantastic Video. Great tips by the way.

elomari taher

Mar 3, 2019, 5:22 pm Reply

Many thanks, been searching for "tips on how to declutter" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Ever heard of – Vanonnor Tenhloe Equalizer – (just google it ) ? Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my buddy got amazing results with it.

Roberta Williams

May 5, 2019, 10:18 am Reply

Should have shown photos of before and after. Missed a great opportunity to show and tell what you do.

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