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How to Declutter Your Home Before Listing

Get your "stuff" out of the way so your space can shine.

No matter how cozy, quaint or charming you find your apartment, when preparing to sell it is of the utmost importance to depersonalize and declutter the entire space before showing.

Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the home and visualize how they will live, work and make the place their own. This means getting all of your “stuff” out of the way so the space itself can shine, particularly in a city where "space" is at such a premium.

This is a great time to trash, donate or sell anything you don’t want to take with you when you move. Consider throwing out items that are damaged or no longer useful.

Clothing, furniture and household items in good condition can be donated to a non-profit organization such as Goodwill or Salvation Army and donations can add up to a hefty deduction at tax-time.

Or consider having a stoop sale. It’s a great way to get rid of quality items and make some extra cash. Some space-hogging items to get rid of include books you’re done reading and bulky, oversized furniture you do not wish to use in your new space. When you’ve finished getting rid of everything you no longer plan to keep, it’s time to start looking for ways to store remaining items that are not essential to your day-to-day life.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to declutter before showing your home is to start the process of packing up to move before you even put your home on the market. Anything you don’t need on a daily basis should be packed for transport to your new home and moved to a storage facility. Items that should be stored off-site include family photos and personal mementos, out-of-season clothing, kids’ toys, all tchotchkes and the contents of closets, cupboards and even your portion of any shared storage space available to potential buyers in the building.

Remaining items should be made as unintrusive as possible. Clear off all counter tops and surfaces. Store items in attractive lidded baskets or bins so they're accessible but still out of sight. The goal is to make the rooms appear as spacious, open, and light as possible.

Don’t attempt to declutter before showing your home by stashing everything behind closed doors. These spaces need to be sparse, too as buyers will certainly be opening doors to see how much room is inside. And don’t forget to address the hidden areas under the bed, in cupboards and closets and even in the pantry as ample storage is a key selling point.

In the event of a showing on short notice, it’s helpful to have an empty bin or bag on-hand so you can quickly gather up any messes such as toys, paperwork, cell phones, etc. and haul them out with you when you leave. Plan to remove all traces of any animals that live with you including their food, dishes, cage, leash and the animal itself.

If possible, arrange to move all pet supplies to a neighbor's home during showings and open houses. Buyers should not have any indication that an animal lives in the apartment. Leave time for a quick vacuum and brush of furniture to remove any pet hair and your home will be ready to make a powerful impression on potential buyers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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