Selling Your Home: The 11 Most Important Spots to Declutter Before the Open House

published Jan 9, 2017
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Make no mistake about it: when you’re selling your house, potential buyers want to see everything. That means no area of your home (not even your utility closet) is safe from the gaze of a serious house hunter. That’s why it’s crucial to maximize every square inch of your place—backyard shed included—by minimizing your overall clutter.

Before you can successfully show off your house to anyone (or even take listing photos) you need to ensure you have a home that people will want to live in: one that’s well organized and filled with ample storage space. To help, we’ve put together a list the most important places to de-clutter as you prepare to sell your home. And though we can’t promise it’ll shorten the length of time your home spends on the market, we can assure you it’ll make the staging process go a whole lot smoother.

1. Primp the Front Yard for Curb Appeal

House hunters love to drive by listings and check out neighborhoods before attending open houses. For that reason, it’s important to keep your front lawn trim and tidy—porch included—and make a positive first impression.

2. Tidy Hidden Storage Rooms So They Look Bigger

Believe it or not, people are going to want to see inside your garage, utility closets, and backyard sheds. Now’s the time to clean up (and perhaps invest in some industrial shelving) to make sure your storage rooms look spacious and organized.

3. Make the Entryway More Welcoming

Much like the front yard, an entryway sets the first impression of your place. Set up a sleek coat rack or accent table to keep yours organized—and offer a place for visitors to hang up their jackets during open house—and create an entrance that draws potential buyers in.

4. Clear the Way in the Hallways

A narrow hallway can make even the loftiest of homes feel cramped. So make sure and remove as much visual clutter in yours as possible—i.e. hanging hooks, photographs, and other artwork—especially the hall is super slender.

5. Showcase the Living Room

Living rooms should always be orderly and free of eyesores during open house showings. This calls for clearing out stacks of magazines, editing your bookshelves, and even paring down throw pillows and table accessories that can make the room feel heavy and smaller than it actually is.

6. Curate What’s in the Kitchen

Your kitchen is prime with places for potential buyers to scrutinize. This means your countertops stay clean and clear—a good rule of thumb is to have no more appliances showing— and your pantry and cupboards curated. Also, don’t forget to clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and under sink area, too, as they offer more sought-after storage space.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

7. Keep Closets Streamlined

Whether it’s a hallway coat closet or a master suite walk-in, your home’s closets will have a major big impact on prospective buyers. Box up off-season apparel—or better yet, donate it—and remove extra hangers so yours looks spacious and streamlined.

8. Beautify the Bathroom

Everyone knows the difference a bathroom can make for a house hunter, so keeping yours orderly is imperative. Organize everything from your countertops (no one wants to see your makeup and toothbrushes!) to your linen closet and medicine cabinets, so people can visualize what they’ll do with the space.

9. Put in Some Work in the Office

If you’re lucky enough to have a proper office in your home, rest assured your potential buyers will want to see it. File away or shred old papers, clear off your desk, and cover up unsightly computer cords to create a study area that people will actually want to work in.

10. Touch and Tidy Up Play Areas

Kid’s playrooms should be every as tidy as any other bedroom in your place, and the same goes your pet’s play areas, too. Limit the number of toys you keep out and make sure to have a nice storage bin to stash them all when they’re not being used.

11. Create a Covetable Laundry Room

While it might seem unnecessary, your laundry room also needs to make a good impression. Make sure all of your cleaning products are put away nicely and floors and appliances are kept spotless to create the kind of laundry space prospective buyers will covet.

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.9.2017 – TW