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Turnoff Tuesday #3 – Chaotic Clutter

De-cluttering is one of the biggest and most important tasks required to get ready to sell.  Overwhelming clutter makes it hard for prospective buyers to see the true potential.  Too much “stuff” is distracting (even in the listing photos) and may prevent buyers from putting your home on their “must see” list.  Once inside, it will likely keep prospective buyers from realizing the great features of your home.  A cluttered home can also give house hunters the impression that a home is dirty…imagining “critters” lurking in corners and under piles of stuff.

You want to keep the buyer interested in the house, not its contents.  Go room by room and remove absolutely anything and everything that is not required in the immediate future.  Pack it all up and move it right off the premises, such as to a storage unit.  Organize the remaining items to look neat and well kept.

Every room is important, no matter how small. If house hunters unleash an avalanche of objects when they open closet doors, they will instantly assume that there isn’t enough space in your home for their things! Great closet space is high on every home buyers want list.  The rule of thumb is to have everything only half to two-thirds full including kitchen cabinets/drawers/pantry (even fridge if remaining), all closets, and bathroom cabinets and linen closets.  This will make buyers think that there is plenty of room for their belongings. (Hint: baskets are wonderful tools for hiding clutter)

A neat, tidy linen closet.

A well organized pantry shows there is lots of space.

Pantry before de-cluttering

Much more appealing after de-cluttering and organizing

Walk-in closet

Kitchens are the hub of the home and must be inviting.  Remove everything from fridge door.  Take anything down that’s on top of cabinets.  Clear the kitchen counter by at least 80% leaving only two or three items that you would use on a daily basis. Don’t hang towels on cabinet doors, fridge, or stove.  Makes sure all pet dishes, beds, etc. are removed for photos and showings.

Kitchen before

Kitchen after


Bathrooms must be neat and welcoming.  Remove all toilet brushes, plungers, extra rolls of toilet paper, wet towels, robes, mats, and fuzzy toilet seat covers.  If you must have a garbage container out, keep it small and empty it before viewings.

Too much furniture, oversized furniture, or even misplaced furniture can make a space look much smaller than it is.

master before makeover

Same room, same furniture – where did all that space come from?

Offices and rec rooms tend to collect errant papers, books, games, toys, and knick knacks.  Clean off and organize desks.  Pare down toys and books and organize the remainder by placing in bins and bookshelves.  Don’t forget to hide or at least tidy all cords and wires.

So much more appealing.

Children’s bedrooms are important to make tidy too.  Keep pictures, decals, and stickers on the wall to a minimum.  Save some of their favourite toys and put them neatly on shelves or in a bin unit.  Make sure the floors, beds, and dressers are cleared off.

Don’t forget the storage rooms and garage.  It’s critical to show them to their best potential.  Buyers want to see that there is room in a garage to keep a vehicle(s).  If a garage is full of furniture and household items, it makes buyers believe that the house is too small.  If you must store items in the garage, place them in totes and store them neatly in one area, preferably on shelves.

De-cluttering your home and staging adds value, and will get your home sold faster and for more money.  It just Makes $en$e.

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