6 Things You Need to Organize Before You Sell Your Home, According to Pro Organizers

published Mar 22, 2023
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From cleaning out closets to tackling the mess under the bathroom sink, homeowners have a laundry list of items to check off their to-do list once they decide to sell. And while many of the items you need to take care of are pretty standard, there may be a few super-important things you might not realize need to be at the top of the list. Below, pro organizers share the things you need to get organized before listing your home. 

Get your to-do list in order.

There are likely plenty of things on your plate now that you’re ready to list your property, which is why Marcia Sloman of Under Control Organizing says you need a to-do list to help you get things in order. “Start with curb appeal,” she says, along with adding any other items that need to be at the top of the list. Then, “make a list of necessary repairs (cracks, water stains, broken fixtures, etcetera), and get estimates.” 

Some sellers hire a home inspector before listing to be sure their home follows code, Sloman adds, saying that in addition to helping you get your list in order, it could help avoid any possible complications during the sale. 

Make your mudroom a priority.

If your front yard is the first impression a potential buyer gets of your home, Jane Stoller, a productivity and organizing expert and the author of “Decluttering for Dummies,” says the second impression is your mudroom. “Entryways and mudrooms can be major clutter traps that we always seem to forget about,” she says.

“The key to organizing it before selling is to make it as clutter-free and spacious as possible,” she continues. “This is a great time to declutter out-of-season items, remove knick-knacks, and improve the entryway.”

Give your refrigerator a makeover.

Clean out your fridge before the showings begin. “Yes, buyers will open your fridge and it can make a positive or negative impression,” says Stoller. “Go a step further and make it look pretty by labeling and using special trays and jugs. Change your baking soda monthly during the sale process to make sure everything is as fresh as possible.”

Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Get your important documents ready.

You should organize documents related to your home, especially monthly recurring bills and utilities, as potential buyers will want to know how much the house costs to maintain, explains Stoller. “You may already be digital by now and have all your house documents online and ready to share with potential buyers.”

Make the most of unutilized storage space.

With extra storage being top of mind for many buyers (especially those in cities or other high-density areas), Stoller says you should reevaluate spaces like your attic or crawl space to make them seem more spacious. “Organize the boxes, allowing for the client to walk through, and make it look even bigger by painting the walls white or removing some items.”

Prepare for filing your tax documents.

Okay, so it may seem to be putting the cart before the horse when it comes to considering your tax liability before you’ve even sold your house, but Sloman says it’s never too early to start organizing receipts. “Before getting ready to move, it’s important to have a complete list of home improvements,” she says, suggesting a dedicated spreadsheet or list where you can document all your home improvements, including dates, contractors, and amounts paid.

“The higher your capital costs, then the higher your cost basis will be, then the lower your capital gain will be on the sale, resulting in a lower tax on the sale of your home,” she says. “It’s easier to accomplish this before listing your home.” Once your home is on the market, Sloman says you’ll likely be too busy to worry about these things.