How to tackle decluttering

February 5, 2019

No matter the home, if it’s been lived in for a while, there’s bound to be a lot of clutter. Unfortunately, if a home isn’t decluttered, that can harm its sales price and extend its time on the market.

The simple truth is that potential buyers want to be able to see themselves in a potential purchase. If a home seller has a lot of clutter or personal items lying about, it can be an instant turnoff.

However, it can be really difficult to declutter a home and dispose of the accumulation of years of stuff. To make it even harder, longtime homeowners often have a lot of attachment to their possessions. So how do people declutter and not lose their minds?

There are three steps recommended for decluttering. The first is to create three spaces for possessions – a donation pile, the maybe space and the keepers. At the first go-around of sorting, the keeper pile is usually the fullest while the donation pile is the least full. And this is OK, as it’s only the first go-around.

Home sellers should make the donations right away and get them out of the house. Then, for the second step, it’s time to re-examine the maybe and keeper items.

The key here is for home sellers to challenge themselves and make good use of the maybe pile. Fill that pile up. Move keepers into it, just to test the water to see if the items will really be missed.

If the home seller has a good friend or family member nearby, they can ask to store the maybe pile at their home. That way the items are removed from the house up for sale and are out of sight, out of mind for the seller.

In the meantime, sellers should box up the definite keepers and also store them off-site, if possible. This will help clear rooms while also helping to get the moving process started.

The home will now be in good condition for showings, with much of the clutter eliminated, helping to increase the home’s selling chances.

Once the home is sold and the seller is moving, it’s time for the third step – going through the maybe pile. The sellers shouldn’t bring the items to the new location. Instead, they should go through the boxes and items where they were stored, which helps lessen attachment.

Home sellers can then really examine what they actually missed. Chances are, there will be many possessions they simply forgot about and find they don’t really need. These should now be donated.

At the same time, sellers can revisit the keepers. Maybe they have found the old fruit bowl from Aunt Sally really isn’t something they want to hang onto, despite sentimental feelings.

They can find solace in knowing that if it’s donated, it will most likely wind up in a deserving home. Also, the more possessions the sellers shed, the more of a fresh start they get to make in their new home.

Michael Getzlaff is a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Resort Realty in Rehoboth Beach. To reach Getzlaff directly, email or call 302-515-5711.




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