If you are even vaguely contemplating selling your home this spring and summer, start decluttering NOW!
How much should you declutter? How should your home look?
- Talk to an agent. They REALLY want to sell your home and they’ve done this quite a few times before.
- Check out the advertising photos of other houses like yours.
- Go to open homes around your area and take notes. Talk to other viewers about what they liked about the way the house looked.
- Consult with a home staging company.
Stage 1. ~ Preparing For The Photographer/Your Photos.
Don’t Panic! This is The First Wave of Decluttering and it can be a quick and dirty one. It’s all about appearances on the surface.
Stage 1 is the Do What You Can – Just Shove It In A Cupboard Or The Shed if you don’t have the time to do a full declutter.
You don’t have to go minimalist or completely depersonalise your home, but it’s a good idea to make it look as large, uncluttered and open as possible. The goal is for your buyer to be able to see themselves living there from a few small photos, which can be hard to do in a space that is so clearly and uniquely, fully occupied by you and your things.
Decluttering for Aspirational Home Photos:
If possible prep for donating and packing. Get boxes, bins with lids, wrapping materials. Hire or borrow off-site storage space. Everything you pack or donate now, you won’t have to deal with in Stage 2. If it’s impossible, make space in any cupboard, anywhere in your house (best case scenario they’re cupboards near where your bits and bobs usually live) and squirrel everything away.
- Declutter every surface – you may love your collections, children’s art, photos, knick-knacks and piles of handy stuff but clear surfaces make a space look bigger and lighter in photos.
- Remove small items of furniture – this makes the floor area look larger ie: nesting tables, poofs, toy baskets, crafting bags, dog beds, bean bags, etc. It’s better to pack or donate but you can store these elsewhere in your house, however you’ll need to move it all again when you have open homes, regardless of whether you decide not to have a photo of that space in your marketing.
- Take down most of your wall art or photos – it’s fine to have a couple of gorgeous photos of your beautiful wedding and your kids in the hallway, or one dramatic piece on a large wall. Too many will make the space feel smaller and oppressive.
Recently a wonderfully creative family asked for my help to prepare for private viewings of their home. The first thing I noticed was how dark the rooms felt in their spacious Queenstown-style home. The problem was art. Monumental, spectacular, dark, unique art, on every wall.
Absolutely fine for the family living there, they loved the way their home looked and adored the art, but it was putting people off. The kind of families who were looking at their home were after modern, light, expansive spaces and they were not seeing it. They arranged for a few pieces to go into storage and what a difference it made!
Stage 2. ~ People WILL Look In Your Cupboards.
Again, Don’t Panic. Stay calm. You have a few options here.
The best is Serious Decluttering with style in mind. You WILL have to live there in the meantime, but it’ll be much easier to keep it looking tidy if there’s a whole lot less stuff crammed into every nook and cranny. You’ll be surprised how easily you’ll manage with a simpler household. You might even start to like it!
Prep for donating and packing but this time We Are Serious. When someone opens your linen cupboard they want to see how they would like their Pinterest ready folded linens to look. The reality of life has no place here.
Hopefully you’ve already donated and packed the things you decluttered from the surfaces of your home in Stage 1. If not, you’ll have quite a bit more to do now. Time to get serious. You are removing all things that are not absolutely essential to your life in the next few weeks, things that look crappy or do not work in your Home Styling.
- Gut your pantry. Everything that’s icky, expired or dodgy can go. Arrange what’s left so it’s reasonable organised. You can use some of your plastic containers to group things, this always looks so much better than tottering towers of tea boxes and soup packets skittering around the place.
- Declutter your kitchen cupboards and drawers. Remember, you can pack those glass casserole dishes that you never use if you want or you can donate them.
- Empty your bathroom shelves, cupboards and drawers. Use containers to groups things you need and arrange towels and shells and other Hotel-Like things. Remember, we want the Illusion Of Perfection.
- Pick up all the things on the floors of your wardrobes and find them a new home. Arrange your shoes in an orderly way. The more floor that’s visible the more luxurious a space looks, including the floors of wardrobes.
- Clear out the garage. We want an Aspirational Garage, not a reminder of all the work your buyer has to do to back home. Make work zones and group the minimum amount of things required.
- All other storage – Buyers want to know how much space there is for THEIR stuff. If they can’t see the far wall or even the ceiling of the storage under the stairs or under the house, it’s likely to put them off (unless it’s beautifully boxed and neatly arranged, aspirational storage is a good thing!).
You won’t need to invest in fancy baskets if you don’t want the cost. It’s amazing how much more appealing a space looks with fewer things organised neatly.
Alternatively you could move out. Pack everything and have your home staged. It’s worth a thought, if this is an option. Also partial staging, once you’ve decluttered, can take away the burden of styling your home if you’d rather not do it yourself.
What we’re doing is not trickery, that’s when you neglect to inform people of things they really need to know. What we’re doing is showing your house as if it was already the buyers home, and this is how you think they live. Now that’s flattering and really kind of nice.