4 Easy Ways to Declutter Ahead of a House Showing, According to Experts

published Jan 9, 2022
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When you’re selling your home, it’s incredibly important that any potential buyers are able to picture themselves in your space. The thing is, they can’t do that if your junk stuff is everywhere. Follow these tips from home stagers to make sure your house is decluttered to perfection when buyers come knocking.

Clean Everywhere a Buyer Would Look

Imagine yourself in a homebuyer’s shoes. Where are you going to peek when you get to a house showing? Make sure all of those spots are clean and aren’t being used as extra storage spaces.

“If you have items on the floor, thrown in the closet or behind a couch, or hidden under the bed, be sure to remove those items and place them in a basket or storage bin and place them in storage, a friend’s house, or in a garage,” says Mattie Sheppard, a strategic interior design advisor at Real Estate Bees and owner of Perfectly Pictured Decluttering & Staging Experts. “The last thing you want to do is show that you do not have enough storage for your items. The purpose of decluttering is to show that there is ample space and room for potential buyers.”

Pack Away Clothes You Aren’t Wearing

This is a good piece of advice in general, but if you have seasonal clothes you aren’t wearing, pack them away so they’re out of the closet. Lori Murphy, owner of Element One Home Staging and a strategic interior design advisor at Real Estate Bees, suggests using a three-to-four month rule. If you haven’t worn it or won’t wear it in the past or next three to four months, pack it.

Credit: Viv Yapp

Lock Up Important or Vital Papers

It’s also important to keep your personal items stowed away and potentially locked up — especially when it comes to vital records, bills, and other important documents.

“Place all papers in a locked file cabinet or inside a locked desk,” Sheppard says. “You do not want strangers going through your papers when they should be visualizing themselves living in your house.”

If you don’t have a filing cabinet or desk with a lock, consider putting your documents into a box and either storing it at the home of a trusted family member or friend, or carrying it with you when you leave your home for the showing. The most important thing to remember here is to make sure your papers and documents are safely secured from prying eyes (and that they’re out of the way).

Use Last-Minute Totes or Empty Cabinets

Consider these your emergency storage spaces for last-minute showings. You can have a tote or two with lids in each room, and if someone abruptly wants to come look at the house, everything you’ve been using can be stashed in the totes. Store them in the garage or basement for the showing, and then once it’s over, get back to whatever you were doing.

Similarly, having empty cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen can function the same way, Murphy says. You can hide away toiletries and medicine, or small appliances like a coffee maker or blender.