When selling your home you want buyers to feel that there is plenty of space for all their furniture and belongings. Nothing is worse than home buyers viewing a cramped room with so much stuff in it that its intimidating.
Even if you’re not selling your home, you can start by decluttering a room at a time to make it feel refreshing and have more space. Don’t let the idea of decluttering your whole house intimidate you. You can easily just start small by going room by room.
By following these tips, you can make rooms feel larger, cleaner and more welcoming to buyers, or even everyday guests visiting your home.
Use The Five Buckets
Where do you begin decluttering? Start by creating 5 buckets, or areas that you can sort items into:
- Things to Put Away
- Things to Repair
- Things to Sell
- Things to Donate or Give Away
- Things to Trash or Recycle
1. Things to Put Away
When you first step into a room, you may find items that don’t belong there or don’t need to be there anymore.
Imagine a coffee cup on your night table, or a sweatshirt draped over the back of the couch. These items are things you want to keep, but they just need to be put away into their proper place.
It’s always best to start out by placing all these items into your put-away bucket until you can find an appropriate place for them later.
2. Things to Repair
This bucket will be filled with items that you want to keep but may need some mending or repair.
Do you have a lamp with a burnt out lightbulb, or a blouse with a missing button? Simply put items like this on your repair list and move on.
This bucket of repairs could take time to get through but doesn’t need to be done all at once. With every item you fix and put away, there will be a weight lifted off your shoulders. In the end you’ll appreciate having much more room.
3. Things to Sell
Sometimes you will find items you no longer want, but they’re worth money and more than just being thrown in the trash.
If you’re industrious, you could post these items on Kijiji or on your local Facebook buy and sell group. You may even want to host an entire garage sale if you have enough to sell.
Pro tip: set reasonable prices. You’re not going to make a fortune from selling used goods but getting something in return for valuable items is better than getting nothing.
4. Things to Donate or Give Away
Another way to give your house more space is by donating unwanted items. It’s as easy as finding unwanted items in your home and dropping them off a donation centre. You can also inquire to find out if anyone wants your old household items.
When donating it feels great knowing that your stuff is going to people that will appreciate it, especially in their time of need.
Organize your bags and boxes, and set a time when you can drop them off to the donation centre or friend. Make sure to follow through on your plans so they don’t stay in the trunk of your car for months!
5. Things to Trash or Recycle
Gathering up things you’d rather dispose of instead of keeping is another great decluttering project. If you go around your house, you’ll probably find a few bags worth of things you can throw out.
If you’re worried about some items ending up in a landfill, simply take it apart and recycle certain components. It’s important to be conscious of the amount of trash you’re disposing of, and to be sure there’s no other place that could use these items first.
Making More Space Before Selling Your House
Now that you know what you want to keep and what you want to throw away, it’s time to get organized and only keep out what’s absolutely necessary.
When Decluttering, Less is More
When you’re selling your home, you want spaces to feel large, open and not filled with distractions. You may have an amazing collection of knick-knacks, but to create a space that looks and feels larger than it is, you may want to pack up the majority of it so your shelves aren’t jam-packed.
The more open and clear your counters and shelves are, the cleaner the lines and larger the spaces seems to potential buyers.
Bonus: when doing this task, you’re already ahead of the game with packing when it’s time to move.
Decluttering Crammed Closets
To give potential buyers the impression that your closets are wide and spacious, start by packing away clothes that are out-of-season.
Buyers look in closets, and crammed closets can be scary to buyers. A crammed closet makes it look like your house doesn’t have much storage space. This can be a real deal breaker for some.
You can use your suitcases to neatly fold and pack away clothes you won’t need until after your home sells. You can also put them in plastic containers and neatly store them in the basement or your garage.
Cleaning up your closet will open up your closets making them look much look bigger and more organized.
Clean Up Your Walls
Now is a great time to remove any children’s artwork or stickers, photographs or wall-hangings.
The more open wall-space your home has, the more it looks like your rooms are large, bright and roomy.
Buyers like to imagine what their pictures and paintings will look like in the house, so give them a wide, neutral palette to imagine as their space.
Remember: this includes your refrigerator too. Pack away all the coupons, notes and papers on your fridge and on your kitchen cabinets. When you’re done the room will feel larger and more organized.
Properly Sized Furniture
Sometimes we see houses with huge furniture that’s stuffed into rooms that have barely any space to walk around.
The room might be reasonably sized, but if you cram a king-sized bed, a couch and a TV station into a guest-room, it’s going to feel small and claustrophobic—unattractive to potential home buyers.
Consider distributing your furniture more evenly throughout the home which will give a breezy, wide open feeling.
It may be a good idea to store some of your larger furniture and items, and opt in for professional staging. Talk to your real estate agent about the option of home staging and how it can help sell your home faster.
Having ample walkways through each room, definitely works to make your house look and feel bigger than it actually is.
Keep The Counters Clean & Clutter Free
It’s common to leave your toothbrush in a cup on the bathroom counter, or your blender and paper towel holder on the countertop in the kitchen—it helps to tuck those away when you want a more open and larger feeling space.
The more clean, unobstructed lines in your kitchen and bathroom, the bigger these rooms and spaces appear.
This goes for offices and bedrooms too, where desks and dressers can sometimes be catch-all places for items. Simply use one of your buckets to get these places emptied and free of visual distractions.
Be Courteous—Clean It And Pack It
You may be packing items away, and you may be donating them to friends. But whatever you’re doing, make sure they’re clean.
Giving your items a quick wipe down before putting them in a box will save you time when you’re ready to unpack. Trust me – your future-self will thank you!
Although it may feel like you’re living with the bare minimum while your house is for sale, the open space you create will do wonders for finding a buyer.
Who knows? When you move into your new house, you may be surprised to find that you actually don’t need all that stuff at all.
Decluttering not only makes the whole hour look great, but it makes the whole family feel great too!