So, the home is gorgeous, the yard is perfect but inside, your things cover every surface. Whether you’re setting up for an open house, or trying to get the packing done, the last thing you want is clutter complicating the process. Seems easy, right? But getting control of the mess can be harder than it sounds.
You have plenty of choices: boxes, shelves, under-bench and table storage; so many that it can just make your job harder by creating more clutter. There are lots of television shows, DVDs and self-help books that purport to show you the best ways to organize your life. You don’t need to become the model of organization to get your home on the market, merely start with these few simple rules.
Getting control of your clutter can be overwhelming, but you can get through it.
1. One Step at a Time: It looks like a huge job, but you’ll manage. Just do one part at a time. Start small, say, with the kids’ toys or a junk drawer and work your way through the room. Then move to the next room and repeat. Focus on just the part you’re working and don’t worry about the rest until you get there.
2. Keep Track of the Time: It’s easy to get caught up thinking about why everything is important or getting just the right setup on that bookshelf, but it’s important to keep yourself going. Limit yourself to short blocks of time, 1-2 hours, and complete a whole block before moving on. For example, start with your junk drawer (come on, everyone has one): get the entire thing sorted out, then move on. That could mean moving on to the next project, but you can also go back to your life. Unless you’ve left this to the very last minute, don’t think you need to get it all done in one day. You can reduce the stress substantially by spreading it out.
3. Give Yourself Enough Time: However long you think this job will take, double it. The doubling rule is a good standard for planning for two reasons: First, you won’t be disappointed if it takes longer than you initially thought and second, if you are lucky and get done early you’ll be extra excited!
4. Keep it Simple: Making your de-clutter plans too complicated only slows you down. Use the four box rule: Keep, Give, Discard, Save. The discard box is for anything too used, damaged or otherwise inappropriate for giving away or keeping. Anything from junk to trash goes here. The Keep box is just a temporary spot, use it for things that are staying in the same room, drawer, or shelf. This helps keep them out of the way while you finish sorting anything else. The Save box is similar to the keep box, except these things go in other rooms. Lastly, the give box: this can be things going to friends or family, and should also include anything you want to donate to charity. Charitable donations are a valuable tax break that can help offset some of your other expenses.
Your clutter is your business, but it’s a good idea to ask your real estate professional about any specific staging needs to help show off your home to potential buyers so you can take care of those items first.