Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to Declutter When Selling Your House

If all the world is a stage, is your home red carpet ready? Nothing brings on opening night jitters like selling your house. Cleaning your home, as well as careful home staging will help you get a standing ovation, and maybe even some purchasing offers. You don’t want your home to be remembered as a comedy (or worse yet, a tragedy). Watch this video, and use these tips from home stagers to clean up your act.

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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about preparing your home for sale, otherwise known as staging your home. Now, I’m thinking about this in particular right now because I’m doing it. We are downsizing into a home that’s about 1/3 the size that we currently live in. The boys are leaving for college, and I have been looking forward to this for a very long time, just simplifying, having a smaller space, fewer things to take care of. And if you know me at all, you understand why that’s appealing. But I first have to sell this house. So, we’re doing that by removing things that are distracting to potential buyers. So, that is your whole goal of staging a home, is removing those distractions so that buyers can picture themselves living there, not you. So, what that means is anything that’s broken, anything that’s dirty, or anything that reminds them there’s still another family living here, needs to be removed, or fixed, or cleaned.

So let’s talk about first, the curb appeal. This is right when you drive up, what does the house look like from the outside? It’s very important to make sure that all of the landscaping is updated, you know, freshened with flowers and mulch. Another great tip though, I heard from my friend, Ashley Whittenberger, who is one of the best stagers I know. She said that no matter what time of year, if you’re not selling your house or if you are, if there is a certain time when your house is perfect, when the lawn is green, whether that’s springtime or whatever time of year in your area, when your house is the best looking, take a picture right then. Because you never know if you’re going to get stuck selling your house in the winter. You might really need to have that picture for the listing. So think about that, especially in a good time of year, like spring, and get it ready, and take a nice picture of it.

Don’t forget the front porch when you’re thinking about curb appeal and first impressions. You want to make sure you have a clean doormat and a clean door. You might want to get a fresh brass kick plate and kind of make that first impression even brighter.

The next thing you want to worry about is just cleanliness in general. People are going to be looking in particular at the kitchen and at the bathrooms. Those need to be spotless. And you need to clean this house like even more than you would clean when your mother-in-law visits. I mean, things that you’ve never cleaned, like your oven, your switch plates, your light fixtures, getting the bugs out of them, cleaning the walls, washing them down, washing down the doors and all the trim, and making sure that when all the lights are on, which you should do when you show the house, turn every single light bulb on in the house, those light bulbs are going to show up all the dirt that you have. So when that’s all on, you want to make sure everything looks really clean.

The next thing to think about is de-personalizing your house. So, you want to remove any kind of mementos or trophies, and certainly pictures. We had a really large family portrait hanging over the fireplace, which we took down and replaced with a mirror because obviously, that was very distracting to, you know, that that family was living in this house.

You also want to de-personalize with your pets. So a lot of buyers are put-off actually by any hint of having a pet in the house. So even though you love your pet, other people may not. You want to put away any dog bowls, dog toys, cat toys, anything that’s even evidence of the pet, as much as possible, and then certainly when the house is being shown, have a pet plan that you put into place so that the actual pet doesn’t distract from the looking and the showing experience.

And then finally, we want to talk about de-cluttering, which is my favorite subject. So my friend Ashley Whittenberger, (Update August, 2016: Link in video is no longer active. Please contact us at for updated information.) that I mentioned, she says that anything smaller than a baseball should be put away and taken down and stored so that only large decorative pieces are on the shelves. You can see that we have only one large item per shelf in this picture. And that’s great advice, because then it looks like a model home, and again, you’re removing distractions, you’re removing clutter.

If you want to have a 13-page checklist with all of this information and way more on how to prepare your home for sale, in our Member Area at in our knowledge base, we actually give our members this 13-page checklist. And it is a teaser for the book that I wrote, which is the Improve Your Move Workbook. It’s a 97-page workbook that has that checklist plus all of the six-week timelines for moving, guidelines and instructions for packing and organizing, and for setting up in your new house, guidelines on house hunting, all kinds of information gained from my 11 moves personally, plus all the moves I’ve made with my clients over the years and all of the real estate professionals I’ve worked with over the years. So from a professional organizer’s point of view, I think this is one of the best resources you could ever have getting ready to sell and buy and move. Check it out at

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

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