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Five Organizing Tips to Prep your Home for Sale

You may have heard that a staged home will sell quicker and for more money, but what does that mean? How do you stage a home if you still need to live in it? I've compiled a list of 5 helpful organizing tips to get your home sold for top dollar.

1. Go through your Storage

This may be the most time consuming, but also the most critical step. One room after another, dig into your closets, basement, and attic and weed out belongings that no longer have meaning in your life. Open one box at a time and simply hold each item and confirm the following 3 questions:

1. Do I need this object? If this is an object that serves an important and necessary role in your life, like a window air conditioner, a medical device or a vacuum (assuming you only have one), then it might be something to hold onto.

2. How often do I use this object? If you've deemed an object necessary, determine when you use it. Do you use it every season or infrequently? Do you have duplicates? How expensive it is to replace if you were to let it go but later find out that you needed it? One common article that's most frequently kept is outgrown clothing- a general rule is that if an article of clothing hasn't been worn within the last 12 months and you don't anticipate wearing it in the next 12 months, then it should be donated. Clothing can be easily replaced on any budget. (Look for a blog post soon about Clothing, specifically)

3. Does this object "Spark Joy" Referencing Marie Kondo's method; the idea is if an object does not serve a specific purpose in your life in order to be deemed necessary, why are you holding onto it? Does it remind you of something or someone? Hold the item in your hands to see if it "Sparks Joy" in your life. You don't have to let go of an old napkin if you don't want to because you used it to wipe your tears when your father spoke at your wedding, or let go of your grandmother's expired perfume because it reminds you of her. Certain objects hold a dear place in our hearts, and it's okay to keep them. Group them into a "memories" category and store them in a labeled container. Keep in mind, however, that hiring a Professional Organizer can help you come up with alternative solutions for keeping your memories while saving your space at the same time. Everyone has a different situation and may require individualized assistance.

Once you have gone through your storage, you'll likely notice some extra space- you'll want to leave those open spaces for future steps in this process.

2. De-clutter your Knickknacks

As much as you love looking at the hand-painted ceramic bunnies that your grandchildren made you each Christmas, it may cloud a potential home buyer's vision of what they could use that space for. Limit the items you leave out to groups of 3 over a 5 foot surface of space. This includes shelves, mantles, coffee tables and end tables. If the tabletop is smaller than 2' in any direction, consider leaving only 1 object (just a lamp or one single picture frame). Take a look at your walls and remove excess picture frames so that there is 3x more wall space visible than items.

The kitchen and dining room table should remain free from any objects other than one size-appropriate centerpiece (if desired). Kitchen counter-tops should be as clear as possible other than 1 or 2 small appliance, however I recommend finding a cabinet to store those appliances when the home is being shown. Kitchen Islands should have nothing on them and china cabinets should be thinned out to just a few dishes. This is where that extra space comes in that we created in step #1. Box up these extra objects or if you have time, go through these objects as you did in step #1 to save even more space. Don't forget to label every box with it's a short description contents.

3. Limit Personal Photos

Contrary to popular believe, it's actually okay to leave personal photos around your home. The presence of personal items gives potential home buyer's a sense that a happy family has lived here and that they too can enjoy this home. It allows them to envision their own family living here and heightens their emotional bond with the home. Nothing sells a home more quickly than an emotional feeling and attachment to a home. Think about the "fake families" you see when you buy new picture frames, doesn't that make the frame look more desirable than if the frame was empty?

4. Evaluate Furniture Arrangement

The entryway or foyer should feel open and airy. If you have a hall tree, bench, or table used to drop off your purse or your kid's backpacks, you might want to remove them to give the room extra space. It's important for new home buyer's to walk into a home and be immediately greeted with a ample space. walk through your home and pinpoint and pieces of furniture that a potential home buyer might trip over or crowd their way. Remove hall tables if the hall is less than 3' wide, remove chairs that don't belong to a table. Rearrange furniture that best compliments the room and provides the most space, regardless of how close the couch is to the TV.

5. Create Curb Appeal

Don't just focus on organizing the inside of the house! Most home buyers will judge a home by it's curb appeal; or lack there of. If you have yard ornaments, keep them to a minimum and close to the house. Take down your Christmas lights if it's not in season, and put away yard tools or kids toys. If you have a front porch, keep your furniture to a minimum and set them in groups or sets. Take this opportunity to clean up your landscaping or hire a professional for help. Consider a power wash to the exterior as well. Ask your realtor for referrals if hiring these tasks out. Establishing great curb appeal will increase the likelihood of a sale dramatically, as it is the first thing home buyers see.

By sticking to these 5 organizing tips when preparing to sell your home, you'll be increasing it's value by nearly 20%! We recommend to hire a Professional Organizer for assistance when needed, and you can expect a significant return on your investment.

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