How To Sell A Cluttered Home

Tips For Selling A Cluttered House

Selling a Cluttered HomeWhen you own a home, it is easy to accumulate more stuff than you intend to. With enough closets, spare bedrooms and a garage or shed, you can quickly fill your home to bursting with all manner of things. Unfortunately, all of this stuff can really get in the way when you decide to sell your house. This is why we have put together a guide on how to sell a cluttered home. Buyers want and need to see the full potential of your house to picture themselves in it, but that can be difficult to do when it is covered up in your things – no matter how important they may be to you.

This is a situation real estate agents run into frequently. You do not have to suffer from a hoarding condition to have a cluttered home. A surprising number of people come to agents looking for help in selling a cluttered property.

Selling a cluttered home is hard due to the fact that many people do not have the necessary vision to see beyond it. Appearance is critical in real estate sales. Luckily, there are solutions, things you can do now to make your home look its best and sell more reliably.

15 Quick De-cluttering and staging tips

  1. Minimize the amount of furniture in each room to make your home appear larger.
  2. Make sure all high traffic areas are kept clear.
  3. Move things like exercise equipments that don’t belong in a family or living room.
  4. All closets should be thinned out.
  5. Everything but the bare bone essentials should be removed from kitchen and bath counters.
  6. Get rid of old unsightly plants.
  7. Put away excess nick knacks, family and pet photos.
  8. Get rid of old magazines and newspapers that are just lying around.
  9. Clean up bookcases of clutter and arrange books neatly.
  10. Organize wires coming from televisions and computers around the home so they don’t look unsightly.
  11. Clear out excess shoes that may be lying around in your foyer or mudroom.
  12. Always put away dirty laundry and make the beds.
  13. If you have a deck clear it of any non essentials
  14. Don’t forget your garage! Remove anything that is no longer necessary to have.
  15. Remember to De-clutter your yard as well. Remove any junk you have accumulated.

While these are some things to consider when sprucing up a cluttered home, lets talk about the big stuff.

Rent A Storage Space

One of the best tips to sell a cluttered home is to rent a storage space. This may be the most straightforward solution out there. When you start looking at selling your house, you will see all manner of possible investments you can put into your home to yield bigger returns on your sale. If your home is cluttered, consider a storage unit rental as a very small investment that could yield a considerable increase in your sale price.

Rent a unit that is plenty big enough to store all of your non-essentials. You can keep the couch and the television, but your collection of comic books or elephant figurines may be better off in storage until your house is sold. The idea is to create space for buyers to envision themselves living in your home, so anything you can remove to allow for that is probably a good idea.

Storage units are usually inexpensive, charge month-to-month and typically offer climate-controlled options. Go for a storage provider that emphasizes security, because your things are worth protecting. Any good storage space will make security part of its operating procedures, so it should be easy to find a provider that is serious about it.

Types of storage space

De-clutter a home at storage facilityThere are a couple of different types of storage options that you can choose from including storage your property onsite somewhere in your yard or at an actual storage facility. A company like Pods will provide you a storage container that you can actually house somewhere right on your property. A Pod comes in different sizes to accommodate your storage needs. They offer the convenience of being located right at your home so if you really need something you won’t have to travel far to get it.

A storage facility will typically the route that most people who are selling a cluttered home and really need some extra space that a Pod will not be able to handle. Most storage facilities are very secure and monitored pretty heavily. Both of these types of storage options can really transform a cluttered home into something far more appealing to a home buyer.

Get Rid of Your Clutter

Junk Removal CompanyWhile storing things you want to keep is an important part of how to sell a cluttered home, you also want to get rid of things you don’t intend to keep. Preparing a home for sale is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items. There are many of us who have a problem disposing of  things that we don’t use on a weekly or even a monthly basis.

Often times many of the items we end of holding onto have some kind of sentimental value. Psychologically it makes it harder for us to get rid of these things. The first step of course is to overcome that fear of saying good bye to something you have held onto. There are also some folks that hoard even what would be considered by most people to be “junk”.

If you have items in your home that will not be coming with you and you need to get rid of them one of the best solutions is a company like Junk King or 1-800- Got Junk. These companies will come out to your home and haul away any of your unwanted clutter. Big or small it doesn’t matter. These companies will take just about anything. Pricing will be dependent on what you are getting rid of. The cost will be impacted by the size and weight of what you are getting removed.

Another great way of getting rid of things you no longer need or want is to give them away to charity. Old clothes, coats and shoes are the perfect thing to give to a charity. Not only will you be putting a smile on the face of someone who really needs it, your home will look better in the process. Some folks also like to have a yard sale as well to get rid of excess clutter. As the saying goes one mans junk is another mans treasure.

Get A Professional Cleaning

Professional House CleaningDepending on your personality, this may be a difficult move to make – even if it is a small thing. Some people take pride in keeping a clean house, and many have spent years working to ensure that their homes are spotless. However, unless you happen to run your own cleaning service, you will probably benefit from the skills of a professional. While a professional cleaning really doesn’t necessarily get rid of clutter it can dramatically change a homes final appearance after you have tackled the heavy lifting and removed the bigger items from your home.

Some cleaning companies specialize in prepping houses for sale, and can do an amazingly in-depth cleaning job in a short amount of time. Once you have removed as much of the clutter as you can, bringing in a cleaner is the next best step to get your home ready for sale. From carpet cleaning to dusting the mini blinds, they can whip your home into shape – making it stand out to buyers through pictures and in person. Doing everything it takes to prepare a home for sale before you actually list can go a long way in determining how successful you are in not only selling your home but maximizing the profits you receive.

Emphasize Strong Suits

Like anything, your home has some areas where it stands out, and others where it lacks. This is normal, and something that any good real estate agent will know how to work with. This is important for you to focus on as well. Take a good look at your home, especially if it suffers from too much clutter, and consider how to emphasize your home’s strong suits.

If your home has good lighting, mention that in your ad and emphasize it to potential buyers. If you have excellent storage space, demonstrate it by keeping closets and storage areas at least half empty and organized. If your yard is expansive or well cared for, make sure to keep it clean and to show it to all interested parties.

You may still have a garage full of stuff, have scuffed wood floors that you just couldn’t afford to fix before the sale, or even a dated kitchen. However, you can still encourage a sale by demonstrating what is great about your home. You never know – a buyer may be looking for a kitchen to remodel, as long as the home has good lighting. There are many ways to market real estate and often times some of the simplest ways are overlooked. A skilled real estate agent should be able to to help highlight the things that are most special and deserve emphasis for your home. Now that the clutter in your home has been minimized it is time to get your home prepped for the market by showing off all the hard work you have put in.

Take The Right Pictures

Great Real Estate PhotographyThis goes along with the idea of stressing the strong suits of your home. The photos you put up on your listing are the first thing most potential buyers will see, and they need to put your best foot forward. To accomplish this, you need to have someone take your pictures that knows what he or she is doing, and they need to be pictures that emphasize the best parts of your home.

If your home does have good lighting, your photographs need to demonstrate it. Taking the pictures at the right time of day, and using professional quality settings on the camera, is important to get the best pictures. The same can be said of any other good quality your home possesses. The right angle, the right time and the right settings can make a huge difference in how buyers perceive your home.

There are really not many things that are more important in marketing real estate than having quality photography. It is the first thing that every buyer looks at when perusing listings for sale on the internet. This can actually make or break your sale. It is also an area of real estate where you can really see the difference between a great Realtor and one who should not be in our business. The two types of indiscretions include taking only a couple of photos when the home deserves far more, to providing terrible real estate photography. If you want to see what I mean click the link. It is hard to believe that these photos exist but they are actual pictures taken by lousy real estate agents.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a Realtor is seeing a seller who has hired some schmuck that puts absolutely no effort into selling a home. They throw a sign in the yard, put the home in the Multiple listing service and then pray for their big payday. If you are going to go through the time and expense of preparing your home for sale, make sure you don’t skimp on doing your home work for the real estate agent who will represent you.  Selling a home is a team sport so you want someone who will put as much effort into the process as you just did getting it ready!

Look to a Realtor For Solutions

If your home is piled high with clutter, you still have ways to sell it. Use the above ideas as a starting point, and consider contacting a real estate agent for tips specific to your situation. A real estate agent will be able to go over your property with a fine tooth comb offering suggestions based on experience of selling homes like yours. Don’t be offended with any advice you get as the Realtor is trying to guide you in a way that gets your home sold in the quickest amount of time for the most money possible.

While you are cleaning out your home of all it’s accumulated clutter is a good time to take a look at any necessary work that needs to be addressed before you put it up for sale. Eventually the buyer for your home is going to have a home inspection. There is nothing more important than being well prepared for the home inspection as it is a major hurdle to cross in any real estate transaction. More sales fall apart at a home inspection than in any other point in the sale. De-cluttering your home will give you the opportunity to look it over with a finer eye for things that you may notice during your day to day life.

More Home Sale Preparation Resources:


The above Real Estate information on how to sell a cluttered home was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 27+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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  1. says

    “One of the best tips to sell a cluttered home is to rent a storage space” vs. “you also want to get rid of things you don’t intend to keep.” Most people (present party included) would rather do the quicker “throw it into storage” rather than the extra work of getting rid of stuff you’ll never use. Either way, it’s got to go! Nice article Bill, perfect timing for homeowners prepping for the Spring market.

  2. says

    Right on point as usual Bill. Could not agree more! As a Realtor who works with both Sellers AND Buyers, I know first hand that it is vital for your space to be clutter-free! The moment Buyers see clutter, they wonder, “Hmmm…wonder what the messes are that I cannot see?” They are overwhelmed and MOST cannot see past it to the homes’ true potential. Buyers need to see the space, and imagine THEIR lives in that home. So get that lovely stuff OUT! Thanks Bill!

  3. says

    Another great resource you don’t mention is to hire a Professional Organizer before you’re ready to put the house on the market. Often with the help of a pro you can get rid of the unneeded items which both benefits the selling process and lightens the load before you move. Nothing like walking into the new chapter of your life with a somewhat cleaner slate. To find a professional Organizer near you, visit … Or for folks in the greater Boston Area, my team at Living Peace might be able to help.

  4. says

    Great article Bill. Looking at this from the perspective of an appraiser I can tell you that while appraisers are trained to look beyond clutter there is also a sense that if the home is badly cluttered then the home may not have been very well maintained and give off a bad vibe. Within the appraisal there is an indicated value range provided by the sales, and if the home is well maintained and kept up then it provides support for reconciling a value at the upper end of the range, which may mean the difference between appraising for contract or not.

  5. says

    Extensive information here Bill. People need to be willing to clean it up and many times if it’s cluttered enough, they just don’t care. I’m going to be telling a couple of sellers to read this great article. Nice job.

  6. says

    I’ve had a few sellers that want me to take deceptive pictures to avoid a messy area or something unsightly. In my opinion, the buyers are going to see it anyway and discount the home once they are there. Either take care of it now or don’t waste everyone’s time.

    • says

      Thanks Todd and Jonathan. Selling a cluttered home is certainly harder than selling one that is not. Seller’s who think not taking a picture of their mess is a good way to solve the problem are sadly mistaken.

  7. Delia Biagioni Catapano says

    Good it but as an ex-realtor and now a home stager, Realtors do not want to go over the house with a fine tooth comb. They are there to market it the house and sell it. That is the number one complaint I get from Realtors when they call me. They explain “I don’t have time to de-clutter for them or tell exactly what they need to do to get their home market ready can you help”? Realtor’s spend a lot of time advertising their listings and marketing them. A home stager without a doubt puts the house in pristine shape to attract the most buyers. To me it all goes hand in hand. And everyone is happy when the home gets de-cluttered.

  8. says

    Great resource article! I’ll be adding it to my Pinterest board on preparing your home to sell it. And I, too, agree on the storage rental. Weeding and decluttering is not only time-consuming. It can also be very taxing emotionally – especially for boomers and seniors dealing with years of family memories, including loved ones who have passed away. Selling their home is already a major life stress. Decluttering in stages by using the storage unit can help a bit with that. Thanks again for a grand article.

    • says

      Thanks very much Kaye. It is amazing the thing we accumulate over the years from living in a home. Sometimes the clutter surrounds us and we don’t even realize it. Your idea of Decluttering in stages is a good one!

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