Onr of the most effective tools in staging your home for sale is the act of "decluttering".  If you have lived in your Oakland or Piedmont home for any period of time, you have started to accumulate all kinds of books, toys, storage boxes full of papers, etc.. that you find handy and comfortable while living there.  When you put you home on the market, however, you will need to address this issue of crowded or cluttered rooms before you show it. 

Why is this important? Why bother?  There are two very important reasons for taking the time:

a. Buyers Need to Envision How Your Home Will Fit Their Needs--They need to see a simple presentation of each room.  They don't want to see an old football trophy, or an award given for raising Boy Scout funds ten years ago.  Let them imagine what it would be like as their home. 

b. Buyers Need to See What They are Buying In Terms of Space--They are buying square footage as well as buying a house.  Every foot will be important to them and their concept of how it will be used for their family.  They will not have the full picture if they can't see the space!

Here are some of the most important and powerful decluttering techniques:

1. Remove As Much Furniture As Is Practical From Each Room--Keep only the most basic furniture that flatters and enhances the style of  each room.  Concentrate on removing big, bulky pieces which take up space and interrupt the flow of traffic through the room.  Put in visual highlights to catch the eye like flowers, vases, and simple accessories that create a welcoming look.

2. Remove All Personal Items from Walls, Refrigerators, Bedrooms, etc.-- As mentioned above, the room should not be about you.  It should be a background for the buyer's imagination on the use of that room for their family.

3. Don't Store Your Junk In Your Basement To Hide It--It doesn't work, it looks sloppy, and is very unappealing during a tour.  Instead, if you must keep things, for the short period of time that your home is for sale, consider using rental storage space for those items you must take to your new home, or just can't part with. 

4. Involve The Whole Family In The Decluttering Activities--If everyone is not involved, it is just not going to work.  Start well ahead of time, and well before showings and open homes.  Most experts encourage going into each room with 4 empty boxes labelled "KEEP, "DONATE", "THROW AWAY" and "SELL".  Each family member might want to get into the swing of things by starting in their own room with personal items.  After they get good at this activity, the whole family can move into the living and dining and family rooms to make joint decisions about what items are found there.  An excellent tip to keep everyone motivated is to make plans to set aside the funds from the items that are being sold for a fun family event, like a trip or dinner out at a special place. 

As you can see, this is not hard.  It just requires a bit of advance planning.  It will be worth it when you see the final result. 



Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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