One of the hardest aspects of selling a house for homeowners is parting with the belongings. People become sentimentally attached to things after owning them for a while. As well, today’s culture has taught us to take in more and more and never discard anything. Consequently, our homes become filled with unused stuff we don’t need but won’t give away. Some people try to organize their belongings with organization tools but this just offers a temporary solution. What they seem to forget is that organizing is a process that must be done repeatedly. So, how can you help sellers with many belongings declutter their homes? Give them these tips:
Some sellers may be living with clutter but not be aware of it. It may be stashed in the attic, garage, or places they rarely go. It is therefore important for each seller to inspect every part of his home to ensure there is no clutter. Tell homeowners to ask themselves these questions when inspecting their homes:
If they answer yes to any of the above questions, they need to declutter their homes. Some sellers may feel anxious about the decluttering process so you should remind them that clearing clutter is a short-term process with long-lasting benefits.
Ask sellers what they find frustrating about their clutter. Is it a mess of papers, a room that looks like a storage locker, or jumbled closets? After they identify their major source of frustration, they should tackle it. Too much stuff can cause stress and sellers will begin to feel better as soon as they declutter the areas that frustrate them the most. Another approach is to tackle cluttered areas which have a meaning to them. For example, sellers who find it hard to work at home can declutter their home offices first as this will have an instant impact on their lives.
This is the hardest part for many sellers. To help them determine what to keep, ask them how the items will serve them in their next home. Do they really need 500 books they have already read or old furniture that’s no longer used? Advise them to reduce their collections and keep only a few items. They can organize garage sales or give the items to charities. People with many belongings tend to be more sentimental so you can tell them to donate their items to a cause that means something to them like the YMCA or the local women’s shelter.
Sellers should remind themselves why they are taking on this project in order to keep their eyes on the prize. Tell them to always remember that buyers hate clutter and decluttering is a great way to attract more buyers. Furthermore, clearing clutter can make their spaces look bigger visually and also bring out the architectural features of their properties. Remind homeowners of the drawbacks of clutter to help them stay focused. It is not only a turnoff for buyers; it makes a home look like a storage locker. Clutter can hide many problems in a home which may be discovered by the home inspector. It may end up costing them money they don’t have.
Sellers with many belongings might find it hard to part with them but it is for their own good. They will not only make their homes magnets for buyers, they will be ready to move when the time comes. Share these tips with your clients to help them have the upper hand.
Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.