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Out of sight IS out of mind. Banish thy clutter!

Reblogger Shirin Sarikhani
Home Stager with Seattle Staged To Sell www.seattlestagedtosell.com

An inspirational blog and I think everybody who is selling their home should read this and then follow the advice.

Original content by Richard Strahm RM423982

I'm a pack rat.  I live a cluttered life style.  I collect things, on purpose and inadvertently.  And I'm fine with it.  Because I'm not trying to sell my house!  But you shouldn't be fine with it when trying to sell.

Too many times when I'm listing a home for sale, the owners will dismiss my gentle prodding about their clutter with a statement like, "People will be able to look beyond my clutter and see the house for what it is."

Most probably some people can look beyond your clutter.  But many can't.  And for those who either overtly or subliminally cross your home off the list because of the perception that the house lacks storage -- you know you've lost an opportunity, right?  And in today's market, you can't afford to lose any opportunities!

What did I do when I moved five years ago?  I rented a 10 x 10 storage unit.  And took everything that was not needed on a daily basis out of my home.  My home was ready to show the first day it went on the market.  While correct pricing was a big part of my success story (I got three full price offers on day 10 of the listing), the house was uncluttered and ready to show.  That had a part in it too.

And self storage places make it so easy!  Many places around here offer the first month for free or $1.  And the free use of a moving truck the day you rent.  After that, a 10 x 10 unit in these parts runs about $150 per month.

Self-storage coupons are money savers

And while PODS are a great idea, please spend the extra bucks and get then to take the POD to their storage facility once you've filled it up.  If you leave it in the driveway, or curb-side, buyers are no dummies.  They'll still think your home has storage issues -- that you're trying to camouflage!

Here are some goals in decluttering you home:

  • Food pantries - either eat, donate or give away what you can.  An overflowing pantry is not a pretty sight
  • Closets.  Please -- nothing on the floor.  Little on the shelf.  And get matching hangers from Ikea or the Dollar Store to make it look less jumbled.  All off season clothes should get boxed and moved to storage.  Use your suitcases -- it gets them out of the house and into storage, too!
  • Bookshelves.  You should be able to see the back of the bookshelf on at least 30% of each shelf.  Box books in small boxes so you don't break your back.
  • If you really need your stuff, hide it away in furniture drawers.  Buyers won't be pawing through your drawers.  Or in under-bed boxes if you have a bed skirt.
  • Kitchen and bathroom under-sink cabinets tend to be overflowing havens of cleaning supplies.  Please pare down your needs and open up these spaces.  The property inspector will thank you for this one!  But be careful that you don't just throw out hazardous chemicals.  Call your county offices for safe drop off sites.
  • Attics, basements and garages.  It's July -- the Christmas decorations can go to the storage unit!  Or, if it's December, the pool and yard stuff can go.  Do not consider you attic, basement or garage as your "free" storage unit.  You'll end up paying for it in the long run.  A nice, empty attic, basement and garage are happy places
  • Everywhere -- if you haven't touched it in a year, consider donation, Craigslist, yard sale or trash.

Finally, let's look at this logically.  $1 first month's rent and $150 for the second.  For $75 per month for the first two months, and a bit of hard work, you are making your house more appealing.  And in the long run, it hurts a lot less than having to take a price cut of thousands of dollars!

But please, for the love of everything uncluttered, get your excess stuff out of your house!

Richard Strahm
Realtor, ABR, SFR, SRES
REMAX Realty Group
439 Main Street
Harleysville, PA 19438

Direct: (215) 853-2624
Office: (215) 256-1200 x-223
Fax: (215) 529-8931

Email:  Richard@RichardStrahm.com


PA Lic # RS310765

Copyright © 2010 Richard Strahm.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the great tips. I always tell sellers to declutter before listing their homes.

Jul 18, 2010 11:22 PM
Patrick White
Home Driven Realty, Inc - Baldwin, NY
Driven to bring New Yorkers home

Good Morning Shirin,

Thanks for the post. Have a great day.

Jul 18, 2010 11:32 PM
Shirin Sarikhani
Seattle Staged To Sell www.seattlestagedtosell.com - Seattle, WA

Thanks for your comment Gita. I'm here in UK right now and my brother's house, a very high end home, is on the market. The home stager has hardly de-cluttered personal items, but has taken too much furniture out. The house looks empty and cluttered. The worst possible outcome. 

I'm here to visit my mom, but I am trying to see what I can do here to help out. You're telling your clients what they need to hear.

Jul 18, 2010 11:33 PM
Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

Thanks, Shirin, for the re-blog!  It means a lot coming from a professional stager!

Jul 19, 2010 02:38 AM