How to Declutter Before Selling Your Home

by Sandy Dodge

A woman starts to declutter before selling her home. She is organizing items in the living room. She holds a small pile of winter clothing and prepares to place it in a box labeled “donation” on the floor.

To sell your home for the best price, it needs to be in pristine condition. You’ll work with your agent to identify high-ROI remodeling projects and various ways to improve the property, but all that is a moot point if you don’t declutter before selling your home. Here are some helpful tips to get started.

Declutter Before Selling Your Home

Getting your home cleaned up and organized is a precursor to capturing appealing listing photos and having successful open houses. You’ll be opening your doors to crowds of interested buyers, and it’s essential that your home feels like a place they want to live. Decluttering will also get you prepared for home staging, whether you’re hiring a professional or staging your home DIY. All these preparatory measures work together to make your home as appealing as possible to a wide pool of buyers.

Decluttering also helps to kickstart the transition of moving out. Homeowners are attached to their homes, and the selling process can bring a lot of those emotions to the surface. By going through your home room by room, sorting through your possessions and paring them down, you’re simultaneously beginning to process the life changes in your near future. Plus, by getting an early jump on organizing your home, it will make moving day a whole lot easier.

For buyers, space equals opportunity, so a tidy, uncluttered home allows them to fill it with their imagination. As such, it’s crucial that buyers see decluttered, spacious areas when they walk into your home or browse through listing photos online.

A young Caucasian woman starts to declutter before selling her home. She places books into a box labeled “donation books” in her home office.

How to Declutter Your Home

Take a deep breath; your decluttering doesn’t have to get done all in one sitting. Tackle your home room by room, taking stock of items as you go. The tried-and-true home organization method of keeping boxes labeled “donate,” “keep,” and “throw away” applies here. Separating items by their destinations will help you reduce piles of clutter in no time.

To properly declutter before selling, consider your moving timeline. Between your discussions with your agent and your preparations for your next home, moving day can go from a seemingly distant point in the future to tomorrow in a hurry. Planning a yard sale can help to give yourself a specific deadline by which you need to have finished giving the house a clean sweep.

Emphasize tidiness in small and narrow areas such as hallways, closets, and storage rooms and consider hanging mirrors to make these areas feel less cramped. These little tricks of the trade can help to give the impression that even the spatially limited areas of your home feel bigger. Scrub, wash, and dust the house top to bottom, even the commonly missed cleaning spots. A home that’s sparkling clean is more welcoming to buyers.