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Decluttering when selling your home

The top reason for moving to a new house is lack of space and wanting to upgrade to a bigger home - whether you are a first-time buyer that has outgrown your first property or are looking for somewhere that can accommodate your growing family.

A potential buyer will also be looking for spacious rooms that they can fill with their own furniture and personal items. They don’t want to visit your home to find you’re running out of space; this could be a major turn off. So how can you get your house prepped and ready for viewings?

Decluttering is the quick and easiest way to achieve space.

Here are our top ten tips on decluttering when selling your home:

1. Create a decluttering checklist

Before getting started, make a plan, to-do list or checklist. Your house has many rooms to cover therefore start with a specific goal. By creating a checklist you’re providing yourself with a visual representation of what needs to be done.

If you're not a fan of lists, try drawing out a map of all the rooms in your house, grading each room on the severity of clutter with colour. For example, red being most cluttered, orange as average and green as least cluttered.

Make sure you set yourself an attainable timescale and completion time/date. Some spaces may take more time than others such as the attic, garage or kitchen. Splitting up major tasks into smaller more manageable ones, such as tackling the bedroom by specific areas such as in the wardrobe or under the bed, a much less overwhelming task.

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2. "Three-Box" method

As you make your way through your list or map it’s useful to choose a creative method of decluttering to keep it as fun as possible.

The "Three-Box" method forces you to make a decision item by item by gathering three boxes and labelling them either ‘keep’, ‘lose’ or ‘storage’. When you have finished a room and filled the boxes you should:

  • Place your ‘keep’ items in their newly designated home, preferably in a stored container, drawer or cupboard.
  • Store your ‘lose’ items ready to sell or give away in a temporary place such as the boot of your car, so they are ready to go.
  • Empty the box for storage into containers, labelled and organised, and move them to your preferred storage area.

3. "Maybe-Box" method

If you can’t make your decision on the spot like the "Three-Box" method, the "Maybe-Box" method could be the decluttering system for you.

We all have those items that we know we don’t need but will never throw away just in case, one day, it might come in useful. Creating a "Maybe Box" is a good way to cut down on the hard-to-get-rid-of clutter. Once you’ve stored your items in said box, come back to it in a couple of months to see if you needed anything that was in there. If you didn’t, move it into the ‘lose’ pile.

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4. The “One Bag” rule

If decluttering seems like too big a task, start with smaller goals such as the “one bag” rule. Start by filling up one bag with clutter items that you no longer need but could be useful for somebody else. This can then be donated to a charity shop of your choice. Set yourself a “One Bag” rule twice a week and slowly, but surely, you will start to see less clutter around the house.

5. The “12-12-12” challenge

Hunt around your most cluttered rooms, locating 12 items to return to their original home, 12 items to throw away and 12 items to donate to a local charity shop.

6. Start recycling

#Plastic, glass and paper can go straight into your recycling bin. By doing this you’re not just saving your home from clutter but you’re also helping the community by helping to save our world from pollution.
Don’t forget, many unwanted electronic items can also be recycled. Does it have a plug? Does it use batteries? Does it need charging? Does it have a picture of a crossed wheelie bin on it? Can it be recycled if no longer usable? If the following questions answer yes, then they are recyclable. Find out more at recyclenow.com.

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7. Donate your wardrobe

What clothes do you never wear? To identify such items, turn all our clothes with hangers in the reverse direction. Once you have worn an item, when hung back up, face the hanger in the correct direction. After a couple of months, you should notice which hangers haven’t turned. Donate these.

8. Start small with decluttering projects

Before starting to commit to a full room, start smaller projects as this will give you a sense of accomplishment, urging you to take on more. Flat surfaces are a great place to start. Countertops and shelves are magnets for clutter. The odd few things on countertops are OK but they tend to build up, eventually creating a mess. Make space in drawers using old tins and boxes and keep only small essential appliances on kitchen sides. If you notice you don’t use such appliances, look at step 6 or 10.

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9. Take before and after photos

When you’re starting on a section of the house, take a photo of the area. Once you have cleaned and cleared the clutter, take an after photo. From this, you will start to see how your home could look, therefore it becomes easier to declutter and your goals will feel more attainable.

10. Sign up to a car boot sale

If you find that you have lots of clutter that could be useful to others or is in good condition, you may be able to make some money from your clutter by signing up to a car boot sale. This tip will work best once you have used a decluttering method from above gathering boxes of unwanted items.

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In addition to freeing your home of unwanted items and creating space, decluttering makes the chore of cleaning a little easier. Having to clean around things makes cleaning much more stressful and time-consuming – a clean house, as well as tidy, is much more appealing to a potential buyer.

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