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10 Ways That Clutter Is Killing Your Sale!

Clutter is not only an issue for homeowners it can become an issue for home sellers when it comes time for them to move on - and in a big way. Here are 10 ways clutter may be keeping you from selling your home!

Clean Kitchen Counter

1. Your closets look small and inefficient.

If you have clutter in your closets, it is most likely making your storage look smaller and less efficient than ever. Buyers will wonder if their items will fit in the space and may immediately say that your home doesn't have ample closet space for their needs, when that might not even be the case. It's time to address your bulging belongings fast! Consider renting a storage unit to store away anything that doesn't need to stay for the next few months. (Out of season clothes, coats, and occasion dresses, to name a few). Only fill your closet to about half to two-thirds capacity to it looks as big as possible. You don't need 3 extra sets of sheets or towels (right now), so find someplace else to store them away to make your closet look more open and airy. Did you know that using the same hangers throughout, actually makes your closet look neater? Invest in a single hanger type and all your clothes will hang at the same level. Space them each evenly apart for a streamlined, professionally organized look. Utilize baskets and shelves to keep items off the floor. All that negative space will give the perception of more room!

2. Your counters send the wrong message about your space.

Flat kitchen surfaces attract clutter like a magnet, but the fact that you have those surfaces is a really big selling point, so don't cover them up! A large island, peninsula, or prep counter may be currently a drop zone for your family, but consider it your mission to keep them clear of clutter while you are showing your home. Keep them absolutely open adding just a fruit bowl, or vase of flowers for a pop of color. So now, instead of seeing how you use them (to organize your mail), your buyers will imagine how they will use them - baking cookies with their grandchildren, making homemade pasta (which they never had the space for before), or serving their little ones breakfast on a school day morning. 

3. Your stuffed front closet tells buyers that you have a lack of storage elsewhere throughout your home.

If you have a cluttered guest closet, it sends a message to buyers that you have a lack of storage elsewhere. Buyers will not have to wonder why your out of season coats or dresses or kitchen appliances are at the front entry, they will simply assume that it's because your closets and kitchen are too small. Instead, make sure your guest closets include some coats and shoes, but also extra room and hangers for guests. All buyers will be thinking about now is their next party.

4. Over-crowded children's rooms hide their size and features.

It's not easy selling a home when you have children. (If you are, here are some additional tips!) Toys, stuffed animals, and trinkets can look like a happy childhood explosion rather than decor to a buyer. Consider, as a preparation for your up-coming move, that you and the kids do a preliminary clean and purge of their rooms. You may also add some of their items to the storage unit that you may have rented based on our earlier suggestions. Not all buyers will be using your child's room for a child, or even as a bedroom. Allow them the opportunity to visualize the space for their needs by ensuring that they can see the size of the room an its features easily.

5. Yard clutter makes it look like you don't take pride in maintaining your home.

True or not, having your yard peppered with out of season or unnecessary items sends a message that you aren't keeping up your home. If you haven't cleaned up your Christmas decorations come May, buyers might wonder when it was that you last tended to more important home tasks. Keep your yard tidy and welcoming. As they say, you never get a second chance at a first impression -- and that impression may be from your pictures online before they even decide to come visit your home! So be sure you aren't shutting the door on buyers before they even come to the property.

6. Your home is cluttered with things that remind the buyer of you.

A highly personalized house is what any well-loved home becomes over time. But lots of personal items, photos, and decor actually make it more difficult for buyers to picture themselves in your home. Remove family portraits from the walls and picture frames and replace them with inexpensive seasonal prints and simple artful designs. An old calendar or one from a dollar store works great for access to images that are easily suitable as replacements for your frames. Go with scenic views, floral arrangements, or photography instead of family portraits. 

7. Your collections are clouding your potential.

Perhaps you are an avid reader or collector. Your stacks or books and memorabilia have become part of your house and who you are, but they may be standing in the way of your sale. Clear out stacks of reading materials and hobby items to create some breathing space in your home. Consider packing away about half of what you have on your bookshelf and alternating books with a few decorative items. Let buyers see the shelving space instead of what's on them.

8. Too much, over-sized furniture makes your home feel claustrophobic.

Is your home cluttered with the furniture you've collected over the years? Too much furniture in a room can be a very bad thing. It makes it seem smaller, and hides the features. Reduce the amount of furniture in your home if you think you have too much. If you are unsure, ask your Realtor. H or she is an expert. Even if you have the proper amount of furniture, if it's too bulky it still could be hurting your potential bottom line. Consider storing away your favorite over-sized pieces for use in your new home and invest in a few more properly sized rented items. The boost they can give your home's sale potential is well worth the investment.

9. Your cabinets are so full they look small.

In your kitchen, pay close attention to your cabinets and pantry. If you want your space to be a selling feature, make sure it looks, well, spacious! Take some time to clear your cabinets of expired foods, old spices, and items you haven't used in years. Once those are cleared out, organize your items by type and replace them in the cupboards. This will give your cabinets the illusion of being much bigger and more useful than they were before. 

10. Your laundry room looks like a punishment to use.

If you have a dedicated laundry space, this can be a HUGE selling point! Let buyers see how easy and "fun" doing laundry would be in the space. Clear the piles and be sure detergents and supplies are organized and stowed away. Consider adding fresh flowers somewhere in the room to send a message of nature and freshness to all those who enter. If the laundry area is part of another room or behind closet doors, be sure that those doors open and close easily and that access to the area is clear. To ensure that this is possible, invest in shelving or baskets that keep detergents and other items off the surface of the appliances and the floor. 

So there you go! 10 clutter issues SOLVED. 


We Want to Hear from You!

Do you believe that clutter influences a buyer's opinion?
What other tips do you have for de-cluttering a listing?