A Room-by-Room Guide
Are you selling your home in the upcoming spring market, or even next year? Organizing your living space is the perfect place to start. Read Part I and Part II of this post to aid you in decluttering the main interior rooms of your home. Then finish your pre-sale clearing and organizing by following the steps listed below.
If you have a mud room or area, or you have a spot near to an exterior entry where you can create one, you’ve got a wonderful asset for resale.
- Get it ready for resale by decluttering your mud area using the sorting and culling processes described in Part I.
- Review it for functionality.
- Does it have hooks for book bags and jackets? If not add some to the wall, or purchase a coat stand.
- Provide a shoe rack if you have the space.
- A storage bench makes a nice extra. It can hold scarves, mittens, boots, shoes—even book bags, and can provide a seat to steady bodies of all ages when removing shoes.
- Hall trees are nice all-in-one pieces for entryways and they can make your move with you, as can anything that is not attached to the walls.
These rooms or areas are major clutter magnets.
The guiding principal for decluttering these spaces is that the laundry room is for items that help you to wash, dry, and press or steam clothing. It should contain only items that aid you in those processes.
If your laundry space is tight, consider stacking your washer and dryer and adding a shelving unit in the newly created space.
Remove items from your laundry room shelves and cabinets.
- Sort the items into like groups.
- Review all of your products.
- Combine multiples.
- Discard products you do not use.
Return items to the shelves or cabinets in an organized way.
- Group all detergents and cleaning products together, all dryer products together, all ironing products and devices together.
- Use bins, shelf risers and stacking drawers or in-cabinet drawers, as necessary, to maximize your storage space.
Home buyers love finished basements. Many buyers plan to use them as either recreational space or as teen or in-law suites. So it’s important to ensure prospective buyers can envision your finished basement space that way.
- Apply the same decluttering and organizing principals described for the main living areas in Part I to make your finished basement look like a space that you would want to spend time in, or to have your parent or teen to live in.
- Be sure to provide storage for all electronics, games, toys, books, etc. by using shelving or furniture drawers.
- Any items that don’t fit into existing furniture or shelving should be critically reviewed for usefulness. If you must keep the items, box them up and store them in basement or garage storage areas.
Unfinished Basement Spaces
These areas are the mother lode of decisions that you have put off making and “things you might use some day.” They are the museums and dumping grounds of homes.
The guiding principal for clearing and decluttering these areas is that if you have forgotten that you had an item or haven’t used it in more than two years you don’t need it.
As you clear storage racks, shelves, and rooms sort them in the same way that you have sorted living areas.
- If you have the time to walk down memory lane with items as you sort and clear, allow yourself that pleasure.
- If your clearing is time-sensitive focus on the weight you are lifting from your being by releasing unnecessary stuff from your life.
- Remember that decisions you refuse to make now will simply be moved to your next residence. There, they may may fall to loved ones to take care of some day.
- If your storage rooms and areas have shelving or cabinets return items that you plan to keep to those storage aids.
- If your storage rooms and spaces are devoid of storage devices, either box up all of the belongings that you plan to keep, or purchase some inexpensive shelving units or stackable storage drawers to keep the areas neat. As always, any such items can make the move with you to your next residence
Do you have and use attic storage? Most buyers will not go into attics. But home inspectors will need to check these spaces for structural soundness and HVAC and electrical systems. So they will need clear access to the structure and systems. Additionally you will need to remove your belongings from the attic before the buyer’s pre-closing walk through.
It’s best to do the attic clearing before you paint walls or install or refurbish flooring materials in the main living areas of your home to keep them pristine for showings.
Use the same clearing and organizing processes recommended for your interior spaces. Remove and discard old boxes. Donate or sell furniture pieces, old home decor items, holiday decorations, etc. that you no longer use. Anything that you’ve held on to “just in case” will probably never be needed.
If you find that you have many old, broken, or nonfunctioning items that you need removed from your home look for a junk removal service in your area. These services tend to charge to remove your excess by size or weight.
Over the years garages can become overflow storage areas for postponed decisions as well as repositories for old sports and recreational devices that are no longer used. Tools, automobile oils and fluids, paints, and landscape materials are often stored here too.
As with the attic, your garage must be cleared before your buyers’ pre-closing walk through. It’s best to do it before you put your home on the market so potential buyers see a spacious and organized garage.
- Sort through the items stored in your garage with a critical eye. Keep only those items that you know you will use in your new residence.
- Sellers often leave excess paint cans of colors that are on the walls when listing their homes. Excess tile that is current to your house can be left as well. But old tiles that are no longer in the house, and old cans of paint should be removed safely. Local school art teachers are often happy to have your old paints of all sorts.
- Do you or your children still ride the bicycles, scooters, and skate boards in your garage? If not donate or sell them.
- Review other sports and recreational paraphernalia stored in your garage space and release those items no longer used. Check your area for second hand sports stores that buy and sell your used equipment. If you live in or near to the Peachtree Corners area contact me and I can give you some resale and donation places to check out.
- Automobile oils and fluids are often stored in garages. Review your products. Dispose of old or expired products safely.
- Store the automotive oils and fluids that you are keeping on or in garage shelving, drawers or cabinets.
- If your garage lacks cabinets or shelving, consider investing in plastic shelving units. Remember that such units can move with you to your new residence.
- Keep tools, nails, screws, etc. neatly organized in tool kits and storage devices. Old jars make wonderful, free places to store hardware. But if you don’t have any jars on hand, consider using inexpensive compartment boxes for these items.
- Neatly store bicycles that are still in use. Some people like to hang them on wall mounts or ceiling hooks to save on floor space. Such storage devices are considered fixtures and must remain with the house.
Decks and Patios
Buyers love useful outdoor spaces. This is definitely a place where less can be more.
- Make your patio or deck look fresh and inviting by clearing it of broken or extremely worn furnishings. If it is decorated with loads of planted pots consider editing them down to a few especially lovely ones.
- Are you or another family member the kind of grill master who has multiple grills and/or smokers? Do you use them all? If you can, let those that you haven’t used in a while go to sale or donation.
Review your patio or deck with a critical eye and make sure it looks spacious. If you still have multiple grills, and it seems a bit crowded, consider storing some of them in a garden shed or basement storage.
These spaces can be the exterior equivalent of the attic. As with the attic they must be cleared before your buyers’ pre-closing walk through.
- If you find old landscape equipment that is broken, you no longer use, or won’t need in your new residence it’s time to let it go.
- Neighbors or your buyers may be interested in buying or receiving functioning equipment that you do not plan to take with you when you move.
- Many waste removal services will take broken equipment such as lawn mowers, edgers, power shears, etc. Check with your service to see what its policy is. Junk removal services can be hired if your waste management company does not provide that service.
- Dispose of old equipment fuels safely.
- If you have fertilizers in your shed you may want to ask neighbors if they would like to have them. Dispose of all remaining fertilizers safely.
- Avid gardeners often store empty garden center pots and decorative ones in their sheds. If you have such items and plan to move them with you, pack them up before the walk through. If you don’t plan to move them check with gardening friends to see if they’d like to add them to their garden supplies. Discard remaining plastic ones and donate or sell decorative ones.
If you don’t want to declutter yourself, there are many reputable people who can do all, or part, of the process for you. If you live in or near to the Peachtree Corners area, contact me and I can give you a few names to check out.
Now that you’ve finished decluttering your home you can spruce up your walls and flooring. Your house will look spacious and appealing, and your clutter-free living space will increase your productivity and make cleaning easier. Contact me if you need resources to help with this aspect of your sale.
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