If you’re considering selling, or just want to tidy up for Spring, here are 40 de-cluttering tips from my book “How to Sell Your Home for a Better Price”. If you’d like a free copy of my book, call or text me on 0402 945 488.
1. Buy storage crates to allow you to quickly put away children’s toys and other loose items before inspections.
2. Go through the house room by room and take out any furniture that is tatty or old, and items that are not absolutely necessary. Park them at a friend’s house or hire a storage unit or sell in a garage sale.
3. Large screen TVs can dominate a room and make it appear smaller. Remember that any television attached to the wall is a “fixture” and will be assumed to come as part of the house, unless stated otherwise. If you have a huge TV attached to the wall and want to take it with you, take it down or tell your agent it is not included.
4. Tidy the garage and store items off site wherever possible. Most buyers will overlook a few items stored in the garage, such as packing boxes or a spare fridge, but don’t make the garage the storage space for this decluttering exercise.
5. Remove and store unnecessary items of furniture—the three coffee tables, the antique sideboard inherited from your parents that doesn’t match the house, the gun locker and the trophy cabinet.
6. Clear the bedrooms of excess furniture and clutter. A bedroom doesn’t need chairs, a coat stand, desk or television (unless it’s bolted to the wall or you have a good size bedroom).
7. Keep the number of framed photos and paintings on walls to a minimum, and repair the holes where the hooks have been. Have at most one family photo on display or better still, none at all.
8. Remove fridge magnets, notes and concert tickets and remove any items from the top of the refrigerator.
9. Store excess floor lamps, coat stands and any items taking up unnecessary floor space. One decorative lamp in the living area is sufficient.
10. Remove posters from walls and the back of the toilet door. If you have teenage children this rule may be relaxed if there is a high risk of damaging the paintwork in their bedrooms.
11. Remove religious, political and potentially offensive items from display. If you feel strongly about it, have one religious symbol that is not too prominent, and no more. Nude paintings, even if tasteful, are potentially offensive for some people, so my advice would be to remove such during the selling period.
12. Put your DVDs in a cupboard out of sight. They are a distraction, and some people may be put off by your taste in movies.
13. Remove Christmas or party lights (unless it’s the season to be jolly), wall hooks and streamers or other seasonal or celebratory items.
14. Remove ornaments and vases and keep to a minimum.
15. Store old rugs that are just filling spaces on the floor.
16. Remove cliché signs like Bundy Rum or Holden Race Team from the rumpus or above the wet bar. Really, they don’t help the appeal to buyers.
17. Clear small items off the top shelf of any cupboard, bookshelf, TV unit or chest of drawers.
18. Clear off kitchen benches of utensils and appliances, except the toaster and coffee machine that are used regularly.
19. Put away any kitchen cloths, scrubbers, gloves and other cleaning utensils.
20. Remove surplus chairs and stools. If your dining table has 8 chairs, consider removing two, and if you have an extension table reduce its size.
21. Throw out newspapers and magazines, or store them out of sight. Remove magazines and used toilet rolls from the toilet.
22. Clear laundry benchtops and store any dirty laundry out of sight during inspections.
23. Remove suitcases and other bulky items from the tops of wardrobes.
24. Shelve all books neatly and store books taking up unnecessary space.
25. Clear bedside tables of all items except a lamp, clock and one book/iPad.
26. Clear bathroom benches of all cosmetics and medications, and toothbrushes and toothpaste.
27. Tidy cupboards so they look neat and roomy. Fold towels and stack neatly.
28. Clear out kitchen drawers so they are not full of items.
29. Remove bean bags and footstools. Keep the number of cushions per couch to four at most and get rid of cushions that are dirty, tatty or don’t match the colour scheme (unless they accent it). Buying new cushions is always a great option.
30. Get rid of any wood if you have a fireplace. Logs remind people of termites.
31. Put at least half of the children’s toys and most of the pet toys into storage and keep the rest in storage crates for easy tidying before inspections.
32. Spring clean wardrobes, donate old clothes and make room so they are neat and well presented.
33. Store pool equipment and pool toys in the shed.
34. Store bicycles in the shed or off site, or hang from wall in garage.
35. Have tools and garden equipment neatly stored or hung from walls.
36. Remove cars, jet skis, trailers and motorcycles from garage for open homes. An empty garage always looks bigger.
37. Fold up the table tennis table or store in the garage or offsite.
38. Store all jewellery and valuables off site or somewhere secure. It is not desirable to lock up cupboards and rooms during inspections.
39. Rearrange furniture to maximise the space in rooms.
40. Put in storage any gym equipment during the selling campaign, or sell it if you don’t use it. It takes up lots of space.