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Selling a house is a pretty stressful job in the first place, even before you remember all the stuff you have to deal with.

If you’re selling a home, chances are good you either still live there waiting to get some interest from the market, or at the very least still have some stuff in the house. While most homes on the market aren’t totally barren, you also don’t want to have a ton of excess clutter lying around making your home look messier and smaller than it actually is.

Thinking about doing this on top of actually selling your house probably feels a little overwhelming, doesn’t it? Don’t stress too hard yet – we’ve got five tips to help you stay focused and get decluttered before you hand the keys over to the new owners!


Set your own schedule: The first thing to do is not stress about doing it all at once. Setting a routine and picking a date to be finished by will help you look at the big picture, and will better let you understand all that needs to be done. Especially if you just listed your home, don’t feel like this is a project that needs to be done in an afternoon, or even over a single weekend – this will help you avoid burnout and stay focused on the task at hand.


Categorize all your clutter: As you go, you’ll have a much easier time if you categorize all your clutter into their own categories. Get a couple of boxes or plastic storage bins and, while you go, sort everything as you come across it. Photos in one bin, home decor in another…and maybe a box or two for everything you come across that you don’t feel like keeping.


Go room by room: Part of making a schedule and categorizing everything will include the need to pace yourself and handle each room at a time – otherwise you could find yourself trying to do too much at once and not accomplishing your goals. Start by clearing off the wall shelves in your living room, and then work your way around to emptying out your bedroom dresser to sift through everything that doesn’t fit or that you don’t feel like wearing anymore, and continue around in whatever order you see fit – just don’t leave each room until they’re done.


Pack it all in: Part of decluttering is to at least keep everything out of sight for the time being, especially while you’re showing your home for sale. Set up some garage shelves or some wire shelving down in the basement to hold onto everything you’re planning on taking with you to your new house, but shouldn’t be displayed for the time being. You can deal with putting it all on display again after you move, and who knows – maybe after not seeing it for so long, you won’t even want to keep it.


Don’t be afraid to donate: In that line of thinking, you should take this as an opportunity to pare down the amount of stuff you have around you. Clothes that don’t fit, junk from the flea market, souvenirs from trips – if the thought of taking it with you to your new home fills you with dread, it’s probably time to let it go. Pack it up separately and drive it to the nearest thrift store.

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