The first step (and one of the most important) to staging your home for sale is to declutter it. A home that is clutter-free will have a much better impression on buyers and result in higher offers and faster sales.
However, decluttering for home staging is different from decluttering to live in it. Here are 5 tips we recommend following if you want to give your home its best chance in a competitive market.
Decluttering Rules for Home Staging
Declutter, then declutter again
When you are living in your home, decluttering is a great thing to do periodically to clean out the old to make space for the new and to keep your home organized. However, the decluttering you do to stage your home for sale is not exactly the same. Even the cleanest, most organized homes can benefit from some extra decluttering before they go on the market.
This is because decluttering for home staging is not just about getting things organized. We recommend taking it a step further to open up the space so it seems as large as possible. We also like to take away any unnecessary distractions from buyers. This means de-personalizing the home so buyers can imagine their own lives there rather than getting caught up in the current homeowner’s lifestyle and tastes.
In the kitchen, for example, it is perfectly normal to leave a toaster out on the counter. However, for home staging, we like to remove small appliances and leave only a few pieces of décor out so the counter space looks as abundant as possible.
So, as a rule, declutter your home and then edit what’s displayed even further to make it ideal for home staging.
Remove 50-75% of items from shelves
As we mentioned, decluttering for home staging is about going the extra mile to really pare down the items in a space so the attention remains on the home. The less small items there are around, the more open and appealing it will be to buyers. Shelves are some of the most important spots to declutter.
For shelving, we recommend removing 50-75% of the items that are displayed. Focus on leaving a lot of negative space. If you’ve ever paid attention to the décor on shelves in model homes, it is stylish but spaced out to maintain a clean, open look. Aim for this look on your own shelves and surfaces.
Hide personal items
When a buyer is touring a home, it can snap them out of imagining their own life in the home once they spot something personal belonging to the current owner. It can shift the mood to an awkward one when they’re reminded that they are walking through a stranger’s home.
After you’ve decluttered all the major things in the home, go through and put away anything that is personal, such as family photos, framed certifications, children’s artwork, and toiletries. For items you still need on a daily basis such as toiletries, hide them in cabinets or drawers in an organized manner.
Declutter the spots you don’t think buyers will see (because they probably will)
You may be thinking that you can stuff all of these items into a linen closet or put them out in the garage because buyers won’t look there. Here’s the thing: a lot of buyers do look inside closets and cabinets to get an idea of how much storage is available. They also take a peek at the garage and if it’s chockful of stuff, they won’t be able to tell how much space it offers, either.
That’s why it’s important to declutter your storage areas, too, and organize them. Make sure they show off how much storage is available in a clean presentation. If you find that you aren’t able to declutter them enough, consider storing some of your stuff off-site (such as at a friend/family member’s home or a storage unit) until you move.
Start packing early and store off-site if possible
A clever solution is to start packing up your home early before you put it on the market. Not only does this get a lot of stuff out of the way before you list it, but it also gives you a head start on your move. If you decide to do this, though, it’s strongly advised that you store the boxes off-site somewhere, such as at a friend or family member’s home or in a storage unit until you move so they don’t create more clutter in the form of boxes, unless you have plenty of space in your garage without it creating an eye-sore.