This is the first in our spring three part mini series on how to prepare your home for marketing. Be sure to check out the links at the end of this article for the full series.
We’ve taken inspiration from the Japanese phenomenon, Marie Kondo, to help provide you with our twist on how to tidy and declutter if you are looking to sell your house.
With several books behind her and a new show on Netflix – “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”, homeowners across the world are finding themselves motivated by Kondo’s unique methods.
Decluttering is a great place to start to get your property, and your life, in order. You will feel instantly better in yourself once you have everything tidy and easily accessible for when you need it.
Lets face it, you’re going to have to pack up your life and move at some stage anyway, so why not get organised super early! A cluttered home is a cluttered life and you can truly benefit from getting everything organised.
Potential buyers will only imagine themselves living in your property if they can see where they might put their possessions. The distraction of seeing your things cluttering the house might be the factor that prevents them from making an offer.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best practices that we recommend when you start the task of tidying your property, and your life!
Step 1 – Tackle categories, not rooms
Tidy by category, not by room. Write a list of all the categories of possession in your home and identify in which rooms they are stored. Tick a category off by room and then once you’ve tackled that first one, move on to the next.
Your rooms will gradually become less cluttered and when you work by category, the task ahead can seem much less daunting.
For example, we advise beginning with clothing as it’s likely to be the least emotionally loaded of your possessions and to deal with every single one of your books at once, otherwise they’ll continue to creep from room to room, and you’ll never rein in the clutter.
Step 2 – Find a home for every item
Shoes on the shoe rack. The children (or grandchildren’s toys) in the toy box. DVD’s on the DVD rack. The day’s post filed neatly away. The dishes all cleaned and put in the cupboard. Cushions plumped and placed neatly on the sofa. You get the idea!
There’s usually an obvious place for everything to be kept and it’s this important process that will help to make your property look larger and more appealing to your prospective buyers.
Once this task is complete, you will find it easier to find things without having to trawl through drawers, wardrobes and cupboards.
For those everyday essential items, it’s definitely worth having a particular place to keep them. How many times do you come home from a busy day and put the car keys on the side, only to be hidden by the days post or a magazine?
There’s nothing worse than having to hunt high and low for something you’ve lost, especially when you are in a rush!
Step 3 – Try to detach from nostalgia
Don’t be lured into opening boxes filled with letters, it can seriously put a blinder on the task ahead, throwing you off target before you’ve even begun. Leave the lid shut firmly on that old shoe box of nostalgia and save it for another day when you’ve completed the rest of the decluttering.
We recommend scanning old letters and photos that you want to keep onto your computer where you can store them safely on the cloud. You can then throw away those moth bitten boxes of nostalgia. The wonders of modern technology!
If you simply can’t let go of those sentimental items, rather than leave them to gather dust, consider buying a nice album or keepsake journal where you can present them nicely for future use.
Try not to let family members get too involved in the decluttering exercise, you will find yourselves in an argument when one wants to keep something and the other does’nt.
The chances are, if you or your family members haven’t touched, looked at or thought about something for 12 months, they are unlikely to miss it when it’s gone.
This isn’t strictly true for all items, especially those that might be useful in an emergency or for a future event but in general, we hoard our possessions for years without touching them!
Step 4 – Re-arrange your furniture
When you bought that new sofa or sideboard, you found the best place for it at that time but it’s always worth re-visiting the position of your furniture to make sure you are maximising space.
Perhaps you positioned your sofa because your TV was in a certain place, therefore, it’s worth considering if the room would look less cluttered and visually larger if your TV and furniture was moved around.
Bedrooms are a classic example of how a room can look smaller than it actually is. As we replace our furniture and go for different styles, we often just accept that the bed is where it should be and that there’s no point moving it.
A change of furniture might create more room to reposition other items. We don’t expect you to re-arrange your whole house, just to try and second guess a prospective buyers taste, but it doesn’t hurt to consider your options for a less cluttered property!
Step 5 – Organise your clothing
It’s unlikely that buyers will snoop around in your wardrobe or bedroom drawers, but if you’ve got a built in or walk-in wardrobe, there’s every chance they might see your clothing.
Many of us have the tendency to hang our clothes in the wardrobe with no real system and on plastic hangers. If you invest in some nice wooden hangers that are all the same size, you’ve won half the battle.
To take it a step further, why not organise your clothing into type, for example, trousers, skirts, dresses and blouses. If your wardrobe is sectioned off, it will be easier to find an item.
If you are super motivated, you could even organise those categories into their length so that the clothes look good enough to wear!
Then comes drawers. We have a habit of laying our folded clothes on top of each other meaning that when we want to find something to wear, we have to lift other clothes out of the way.
Try folding your clothes and placing them vertical in the drawer. You will see neat lines and every single pair of trousers or jumpers will be visible as soon as you open the drawer.
Once you’ve done the hard work, you should find it easier to maintain the routine you’ve created for yourselves. Your property will be tidier, your life more organised and that constant feeling of chaos will hopefully have subsided to leave you in a better place!
When selling your property, prospective buyers will often forget that they are viewing someone’s home and will simply want to imagine themselves living there. Although you can’t organise your property to suit everyone’s tastes, when a prospective buyer walks through the front door and sees a clean, tidy and organised house, you’ve put a big tick in the box.
To further satisfy yourself that starting the decluttering process is the right thing to do, think about it like this: When you move house, you’re going to have to pack up your belongings into some sort of order, ready to move to your new home. Why not start the process a little earlier and have less to worry about when the time comes to move?
One things for sure, the Marie Kondo express train is gathering momentum, so maybe it’s time to jump aboard and get your belonings in order!
If you want to read a little more, why not check out our next article about how to present your home.