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Clutter stops buyers in their tracks!

Services for Real Estate Pros with HouseTie.com

No one wants to inherit chaos.
We have all been in homes where the walk-in closet is no longer walk-in. We've been in homes where we had to jump over things hoping to discover a trail along the way. A buyer does not want to be on a quest to find the kitchen. We have all been in homes where the homeowner runs between us and a door and says, "Don't open that, it took me 5 minutes to cram everything in so I could shut the door." Believe it or not, this may be a problem.

If you don't want to offend or don't know how to talk to your homeowner -

Review Article:
Have you ever been embarrassed to show your listing?

Here's some help for your client to stop the disorder.

Print a PDF Version of the STACKS System for your seller.

The STACKS Organizational System

STACKS stands for: Storage, Trash, Another Room, Charity, Keep and Sort. It is the best organizational system for even the largest of cluttered spaces. This step-by-step method will save you time and tears. In less time than you think, you will have an organized home ready for potential buyers.

The Tools Needed

  • STACKS - six large boxes or plastic bins labeled:
  1. Storage: for items you'll not need while your home is on the market. It's important to get these boxes off the property and not store them in the house or garage. Buyers need to see as much space as possible, even in the garage.
  2. Trash: put it in the middle of the room and go for it. It is always surprising how much trash we have in a house. Don't forget to recycle!
  3. Another room: do you know how much time it takes to run all over the house putting items in other rooms? Tons! Save it for later and stay in the area you're clearing out. When you are done, then you can distribute it all at once.
  4. Charity / Sell: I recommend giving it to charity more than hanging on to it for a yard sale. You know things will sneak back to the house if you hold on to it for the big sale.  For larger items you don't want to give away consider consignment shops, an antique dealer, or sell it on the internet. Don't save it for your kids; they have enough stuff!
  5. Keep: only items to be used for staging purposes or needed while you're on the market.
  6. Sort: very important for keeping your speed up. Example: if you are cleaning the top of a desk and there is a lot of paperwork, put it in the sort box and keep going. Later, set the timer and go through the sort box. It is all about breaking the clutter down into smaller units so it's easier to deal with.
  • Packing wrap
  • Large marking pen
  • Timer
  • Small and large Zip-Lock® bag
  • Great upbeat music - no TV!
  • Babysitter if you have small children

Develop a Plan of Attack

A solid plan is your first step:

  • Make a chart of who is to help, then divide each room down to sections. This way it will not be overwhelming and you can celebrate small victories along the way. For example: Tom is going to clean and organize the cabinet under the kitchen sink, while Ann is going to clean and organized the pantry.
  • Start with simple areas first to give you a sense of achievement. Hiring help or bringing in a friend can also help the process. This will save you time because this person does not have memories attached to all your things.
  • Estimate how long it will take and schedule the time. Be generous. You do not want to cut it close when you are starting out, it will only discourage you. Use a timer! It will keep you on track. Even if you have a heavy schedule, break it down into small time segments. This will allow you to get everything accomplished. Best of all, you will be pre-packed and ready to move.

Buyers need to see past your life, and see the home behind it. They need to envision their own things and style of life. You need to show off what wonderful features and architectural details your home has to offer. When a buyer feels uncomfortable or feels there is not enough space, you're not going to get an offer and your agent may be calling you for a price reduction.

You might be surprised. Once you live in an uncluttered home, you may never unpack those boxes.

Helping you get your home SOLD!
Angela Voss
Designology Home Staging

For Buyers Only Realty
Sharon Stevens & Dwight Cole

thanks for the post...good information to share with sellers..

Apr 28, 2010 01:31 PM
Stephanie Hall
Keller Williams Realty - Madison, MS

Great post with lost of good information. i have a home stager friend that helps me with seller  that have a lot of clutter


Apr 28, 2010 01:32 PM
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
M3 Realty - Brookfield, WI

WELL WRITTEN! Perfectly organized "To Do" list for the organizationally challenged. Thanks for laying it all out so clearly.

Apr 28, 2010 01:33 PM
Angela & Stephen Hardiman / HouseTie.com
HouseTie.com - Spokane, WA
When first impressions count...

Thanks for the comments.

Apr 28, 2010 01:33 PM
BethAnn Long
RE/MAX of Spokane - Spokane, WA
Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, CLHMS Spokane Wa Real Estate

YEAH! I am so glad you are blogging! You will add alot to Active Rain. You will learn a lot hear, and many will benefit from your wisdom!

You go girl!

Apr 28, 2010 03:17 PM
Angela & Stephen Hardiman / HouseTie.com
HouseTie.com - Spokane, WA
When first impressions count...

Thanks BethAnn

Apr 28, 2010 03:55 PM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Angela -- Wow, this is a very detailed plan, and when a seller has lots of stuff, this can make the difference between progress and paralysis sometimes.

Apr 28, 2010 04:53 PM
Glenn Roberts
Retired - Seattle, WA

This is very good information. Sellers need help even more than buyers do.

May 04, 2010 10:32 AM
Robby Leviton
Metro Real Estate LLC - Kirkland, WA
Knowles Team

Love your system, thanks for sharing. This is something I know I will be able to use.



May 09, 2010 06:01 AM
Angela & Stephen Hardiman / HouseTie.com
HouseTie.com - Spokane, WA
When first impressions count...

Thanks Chris, Glenn, and Robby....

I hope the system will help your homeowners. It has really made a difference on how I approach hard topics with clients.

May 10, 2010 06:44 AM
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

This is a very useful system, Angela. Thanks for making it available!



May 24, 2010 11:47 AM