clutter free home

The Inside Story on Clutter

 I’ve always disliked the expression “de-cluttering” as it implies that all those priceless treasures in our homes are junk and need to be put out of sight. This just isn’t so. However there is a psychological reason behind putting your personal treasures and memorabilia under wraps and preferably boxed up and stored for the trip to your new home.


Traditional Kitchen by Chicago Kitchen & Bath Designers Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Buyers want and need to imprint themselves and their taste on your house mentally in order to make it their future home. They simply can’t do that when your family’s pictures are on the mantle, your schedules are on the refrigerator door, your pet’s toys are in their favorite place, the bathrooms are loaded with your special lotions, creams, and hair supplies, and the garage is full of your sporting equipment. It is very difficult for most Buyers to picture themselves in your surroundings with too many reminders of you.

Traditional Living Room by Atlanta Interior Designers & Decorators Niki Papadopoulos

The Buyers are looking for a clean slate, which means neutral colors, minimal art work, furnishings and distractions so that they can envision their own touches and favorite things. They are starting over in a new house, which they want to make a home just as you have done, and they have their own preferences in color and style. Ideally you should visualize your home as a house and try to look at it through a Buyer’s eyes.

Your first step is to start by driving past your house and then sit out front and look at it as though you don’t know who lives there – this might take a few minutes. Look at the windows, the front door, the landscaping, pet spots, the lighting, the window treatments, the walkway, and the front entrance. Does your house say welcome, please come in? One important item to consider is curb appeal – if Buyers don’t like the outside they won’t go inside.

outside of home

Traditional Landscape by St Louis Architects & Building Designers House Plans and More

We are all messy – that’s what makes us so much fun to be around and our lives are so full that we just can’t keep up with all the chores. However, now that you are putting your house on the market it’s time to get serious about your stuff and most importantly where it’s going.   The best advice is to get a clipboard and go through your house one room at a time. I usually meet my clients and help them out with a check-list for each room and for the exterior as well. As we go through room by room we decide what pieces should be left for staging, what pieces might be donated or sold if they have outlived their use, and what repairs are most important.

Contemporary Bathroom by Scottsdale Kitchen & Bath Designers Friedman & Shields

This might all seem overwhelming at first but with a game plan, some time, and some help it all gets done. As you progress this is a great time to take what you absolutely don’t want to leave. If the chandelier is an heirloom have it removed and replaced with another fixture; this goes for plasma TVs, speakers, wall hangings, window treatments, mirrors, and anything attached to the walls that you don’t want to leave otherwise Buyers may expect them to go with the house.

The good news is that you are packing at the same time and your treasures are safely tucked away and waiting for their new home, which makes the last job easier – clean, clean, clean. A house never suffers from being too clean and now that you are organized and packed away the scrubbing can begin!