One of the first things you’ll need to do to prepare you home to sell is to start decluttering. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want any area in your house (from closets to bookshelves) to be more than ⅓ full. This will give the buyer a feeling that the house is open and has plenty of storage. Plus, you are going to be moving once you sell your house, so you’ll want to start decluttering now!
In This Article, You Will Learn:
- Why You Should Declutter
- My 4-Bucket Process to Decluttering
- Places to Donate In Northern Virginia
Why should you declutter?
In short, having a decluttered home will help you get more money for your house. When a buyer walks into your home, they want to feel like it is well kept and maintained. When a buyer walks into a messy home, it automatically creates the thought in the buyer’s mind that the house isn’t well maintained. If you can’t keep your dining room table clean, did you really manage to keep your HVAC or gutters cleaned and maintained??
A buyer wants to be able to imagine their own furniture and belongings in your house. They won’t be able to do that if your stuff is everywhere. Sure, you might like your life size toddler doll collection (yes, this was an actual picture I took at a showing!), but buyers will only get distracted by your stuff and not focus on the house. I literally could not take my eyes off of it!
A cluttered home also makes the whole house look smaller because buyers can’t see past your stuff. This is also why staging is so important when selling your house. Staging provides the right balance of furniture and decoration to allow buyers to get an accurate feel for the size of the home, without it feeling to crowded. You want the buyer to fall in love with your place when they first walks into your house.
My 4-Bucket Process to Decluttering
I have a 4 bucket process to decluttering: keep, donate, trash, and undecided. Each item needs to go into one of the 4 buckets. I recommend having 2 trash bags for the donate and trash buckets so you can get rid of the stuff right away. If your stuff is in good enough condition, then consider donating it, selling it on Craigslist, or even on Facebook (see below for a list).
Start with an easy win so you feel motivated to continue. The best first step is to not get overwhelmed. I recommend starting with the hall closet or one of the bathrooms. They are small enough spaces that you can declutter in a relatively short amount of time. They also usually don’t contain those “I’ll never give that up” family heirlooms that you are emotionally tied to.
The key is to make sure only a few items go into the undecided bucket and it isn’t just an excuse to keep stuff (ask me how I know this!). I only use the undecided bucket if it is an item I really can’t decide whether to keep or donate and I’d rather keep going with other items and come back to the undecided pile, rather than get bogged down with one item.
This 4 bucket process works for everyday cleaning too! I like to keep a rolling donate bag that I’ll put stuff in over the course of a few months and then I’ll do a big donate run to the local donation center.
Places to Donate Your Stuff in Northern Virginia
Below is a list of local donation centers and Facebook Groups in Northern Virginia: