Clean Them Up And Sell Your House Faster
You’re getting ready to put your house on the market and the rooms look good. Keep in mind though, when strangers are touring through your house, they’ll peek into all the nooks and crannies of your personal life. Most of us can keep our house neat and tidy enough to be comfortable when unannounced guests drop by. But sometimes the inner makings of our personal items can get a bit out of control.
Potential home buyers will be looking into all your cabinets and closets. They’re analyzing if the home has enough storage space for all their stuff too! The good news is you’re moving, so purging before packing makes life a bit easier. And you might as well pack away some of your stuff before you put your house on the market. Here’s why…
Home buyers are looking for homes that represent the lifestyle they wish to have. Over crowded, cluttered and disorganized closets, shout undesirable messages at them. They’re screaming NOT ENOUGH STORAGE SPACE! DIRTY! CHAOS!
Set yourself up for a more favorable outcome by purging and packing your house before putting it on the market.
Let’s start with the most important closet – your clothes closet. You’ve likely heard all the tips for purging a closet. If you haven’t worn something in the past two years, donate it. The donation is a tax deduction. Keep all receipts for your taxes. Then if your closet is still overflowing, pack up the out of season clothes. Put them in a storage locker or a friend’s house while your house is on the market.
Once your closet is free of clutter, clean it well. Vacuum it. Wipe down walls and baseboards with magic eraser. Decide if it needs painting. If it does, use ceiling white to get the job done. Get matching hangers, preferably the slimming felt hangers in a neutral color such as white, beige or brown. My favorite ones are at Home Goods. Expect to pay about $10 for a 10-pack.
Organize your clothes by category and color, from light to dark. Hang all blazers, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, skirts, pants, jeans and dresses in a colored order. It’s best if you store items on shelves in storage boxes. Keep the color of storage boxes neutral, perhaps to coordinate with your hangers. Keep the floor as uncluttered as possible. If you need shoe storage, perhaps mount a hanging shoe rack on the wall or place shoes in a shoe organizer. Find shoe organizers at stores such as Target, Walmart or Home Goods. I love Amazon because it has everything and I don’t need to spend time going to the store.
Now that your clothes closet is clean and organized, move on to your kitchen cabinets. With the kitchen cabinets, we follow the same recipe as with your clothes closet. Donate any items you no longer use. We all have more Tupperware than we need. Many of us have one or two large cooking gadgets that we never use too. Pare down everything in your kitchen cabinets. Pack stuff away and put it into storage until you’re ready to move into your new home.
Again, once you’ve cleared out a good number of items, take time to clean. Take it one cabinet at a time. Kitchen cabinets take a beating, especially the lower ones. Do a good cleaning on the inside and the outside as well as the kick plate, (the strip of wood that runs along the bottom). Put the remaining items back in a well organized manner. You’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment and wonder why you didn’t do this months or years ago!
Next, address your food closet or pantry. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll bolt right through this one! Purge any food you won’t be eating or taking to your new home. Store any items you can store. Clean the interior and organize the remaining contents, putting similar items together. Place all the canned goods and bottles with the labels facing out.
Repeat this same technique with any other closets in your house. And remember to include your coat closet.
Tackling all the projects at once may be a bit overwhelming. I suggest working on your bedroom closets one day. Focus on your hall closets another day and go through your kitchen another day. In only a few days, voila! You’re done and your house appears to have plenty of storage space.
Sure, closet, cabinet and pantry purging may seem like a minor activity. But it makes a huge impact on how quickly and profitably your home sells. BONUS – you can take these tips to your next home and live more comfortably!
Tracy Kay Griffin is a member of Express Homebuyers Design Team. She was the Series Designer for HGTV’s ‘Get It Sold,’ a Guest Designer for HGTV’s ‘ My First Place’ and the Lead Stager for Washington DC’s premier staging company, Red House Staging & Interiors.
Not willing or able to do all the cleaning necessary to prepare your house for a retail sale?