Spring is often the month we all get the bug for “Spring Cleaning.” It’s also a popular time of year for homeowners to list their homes for sale. One of the things we always recommend to our sellers is to declutter before they list their homes. It not only makes your home show better, but it also makes it much easier to unpack at your new place! Here are our tried and true tips to get out of the clutter:
1. The 80/20 Rule
When you go through items to start the declutter process, this is the best rule to follow! You use or wear 20% of your “stuff” 80% of the time. Always keep this in mind when you go through your house, and put items into piles as follows:
Use it/Love it – KEEP
Don’t use it/Don’t love it – DONATE
Use it/Don’t Love it – CONSIDER
Don’t Use it/Love it – CONSIDER
The last two piles are your decision-making piles, and hopefully, when you see them categorized as such, you will have a much easier time deciding KEEP or DONATE.
2. Go Room by Room
Now that you know the rule to declutter, don’t try to tackle the whole house in one day. Start small with a space you can finish in a couple of hours.
3. The Kitchen is Key
Make sure to clear all kitchen countertops. Thin-out cabinets and drawers. Make your pantry shine and get rid of all expired food and donate excess food to a local food pantry. Sort like items together, and then consider putting them in bins. Bins make your pantry look tidier and more spacious!
4. Closets and Bathroom Cabinets
Downsize items to leave extra space. You should always try to have at least 25% of your closet free of items. If you are planning to sell your home, this is a good time to remove and lock up all medication and personal items as well.
5. Remove Personal Photos
As you declutter your home to sell, make sure to take down all personal photos and sentimental items. Thin out all bookshelves to show space.
6. Bins and Baskets are your Friends
A great way to make a space less visually cluttered is to use bins and baskets. Whether it be toys, office supplies, or snacks in the pantry, group like items in each bin. To help maintain the system, label the bins. Toddler tip – if you are organizing toys for little ones, make your labels a picture, so they can help clean up!
7. Recycle your Old Electronics
Interconnection is a Seattle-based non-profit that accepts used electronics that are then refurbished for charitable reuse. You simply drop them off at their Seattle location and they wipe the data – at no charge.
8. Get Rid of Hazardous Waste Items
It’s important to remove all of these items before you list your home for sale. King County Hazard Waste takes items such as oil paint, fluorescent bulbs, pesticides and more. Check out what’s accepted at their sites here.
9. Torn, Ripped or Worn Clothes? No Problem
Threadcycle is a free program developed to keep damaged and torn clothes, shoes and linens out of the garbage. These items CAN in fact be donated and many are repurposed into rags and used in insulation, stuffing and carpet padding. Goodwill, Value Village and many other local organizations accept Threadcycle items. You simply add the damaged items to your donation bag and donate! No extra work is required.
10. Get the Donations and Junk Gone
Don’t let the donations and junk pile up once you go through it. Invest in a junk removal service to come pick it all up at once. We love Happy Hauler Seattle because of their eco-friendly approach – they take everything and then donate or rehome whatever they can!
Are you considering a move and need help with a checklist of where to start? We can help. We also work with seniors who are downsizing for retirement and families who need assistance selling their parents’ estate. Find out more here.