A Guide to Moving House Without Your Clutter in Tow
Nancy Jones of Serene Spaces and member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers) loves helping people restore calm to their spaces by decluttering and re-organising the way they use their space and style their home. This Spring Clearing Week she shares why decluttering is the first thing to do when you’re thinking of selling up.
With spring approaching, many of us will be turning our attention to brushing away the winter cobwebs and getting our homes and gardens ready for the warmer weather. It is also a popular time to put your home on the market.
With that in mind your home will need to look its’ best, so ask yourself what needs to be done in readiness for putting it on the market.
Decluttering is deemed to be one of the most recommended services to help sell a property - as stated in the 2018 Home Staging Profile Report.
A cluttered home can leave a potential buyer feeling overwhelmed, distracted and unable to visualise themselves and their possessions in the space. It can also give the impression that the space is smaller than it is and that there is a distinct lack of storage.
So, what is clutter? The dictionary definition is "a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass." Some clutter may need to be purged (thrown out, donated, sold) whilst some may just need a clean-up before being stored in an organised way.
When you move to your new home, there is no point in packing up items which you no longer love, use or need. Moving is a stressful and exhausting time – imagine the relief of knowing that unloved and unused items, currently stuffed in the back of cupboards, drawers, the garage, the loft etc. will not be following you, like a ball and chain, to your new home.
If you like the sound of that, here are some tips for decluttering your home:
- First impressions matter– decluttering also extends to the outside of your home. For example, remove any broken plant pots, dead plants, unused building materials, rubbish etc. from the front of your home. This will increase the kerb appeal and create a warmer welcome. The garden should be viewed as another room and you should therefore follow the same approach when it comes to decluttering it.
- Divide and conquer- It is best to divide the overall task of decluttering into achievable mini tasks so that you will be able to see immediate results. This will help keep you motivated and feeling good about what you have achieved so far and what you can continue to achieve. An example of a mini task could be decluttering and organising the under stairs cupboard – a potential buyer will want to see how much space is inside your fitted cupboards so don’t be tempted to hide your clutter!
- Should I stay, or should I go- It is often easier to start the decluttering process with items which don’t require much thought as to whether they should simply stay or go. For example, out of date food in the kitchen cupboards, expired medicines, old magazines etc.
When looking at an item, always ask yourself, do I love it, use it or need it? As you continue to work through your items you will become more confident in your decision-making and will be ready to take on those sentimental items when the time comes.
- Bag it- Designate an area/room for your discarded items to avoid them crowding every space. Use different coloured waste bags for items to sell, donate to friends/family/charity, recycle or bin. Transfer the bags to their respective new homes as soon as possible, thereby freeing up your space. This will remove the temptation for you to reconsider your decision about any discarded items.
- Look at the bigger picture– Furniture culling should be considered as part of the decluttering process. When selling your property you want your rooms to look spacious and light not, overcrowded, which is sometimes the effect of oversized/dark furniture. Consider your current furniture, is it:
(a) fit for purpose i.e. does it have enough drawer/shelf space to store the items you have
(b) in need of repair because it has been overfilled with heavy items, or
(c) an inherited piece that you don’t particularly like/is too big/doesn’t align to the style of your home?
If any of these apply, say good-bye.
- Need help?- If time or energy are obstacles to decluttering your home, consider hiring a professional. A professional organiser will work alongside you and provide support, focus and direction to help you achieve a clutter free home ready for the finishing touches and those all-important marketing photos.
Now that the decluttering is done, you can focus on undertaking any repairs and redecoration, which may have been hidden by the clutter. Finally, give your home a good spring clean and finish with some home staging touches. Your home is now buyer ready!
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