7 Mistakes to Avoid When De-Cluttering Your Home

If you’re planning to sell your home soon, you’ve got a lot of tasks to accomplish. Besides getting yourself a real estate agent and determining what price to list at, you’ll also be faced with prepping your home for the market. Part of getting your home staged and ready to be shown is de-cluttering.

Agents and professional home stagers will always recommend that homeowners thoroughly go through their homes and get rid of any clutter that diminishes the appeal of the home. Certainly, de-cluttering is an important part of home staging, but there are a right and a wrong way to go about it.

When it’s time to tackle the de-cluttering job, be sure you avoid the following blunders:

1. Tackling the Whole House at Once

Trying to deal with the entire house at once can make the job seem overwhelming, which can increase the odds of you throwing in the towel early. Besides, trying to do too much all at once will likely result in a sloppy, haphazard job.

Instead, start by focusing on one room at a time, then break that down even further by working on one space at a time, such as the floor, then the desk, then the closet, and so forth. Not only will this allow you to ensure a better job, it will also allow you to see results much more quickly which can encourage you to keep going.

2. Getting Too Emotionally Attached

It’s highly likely that you will come across artifacts that you haven’t seen in a while, particularly those that you have some emotional tie to. For instance, you might find old photos, or artwork that your children made a few years back, or a gift that a far-off relative gave you. Whatever the item might be, try not to get too emotionally attached. Doing so will just end up allowing the clutter to remain where it was.

Don’t get too sentimental. If you’re having a particularly hard time letting go, set these items aside to be dealt with another time and keep forging ahead. Otherwise, set up a box for you to keep items like these in to be stored out of sight.

3. Putting it Off

Procrastinating is not going to get the job done. At some point, it will have to get done, so you might as well roll up your sleeves and get started right away. Pencil in a date and time to de-clutter and stick to it. This is especially important if there is quite a bit of clutter to deal with, in which case you’ll need more time to get it done. Plus, starting early can allow you to do a little at a time so you’re not rushing to beat the clock at the last minute.

4. Forgetting to Label

If you are planning to store boxes of your belongings or are simply getting your things ready for the big move, don’t forget to label these boxes accordingly.

It’s one thing to put things away and out of sight, but how will you know what is in each box when you move them to your new home? Having your boxes labeled properly will not only help you find things much easier, it will also help you identify where each box should be placed once you move into your new house.

5. Starting Without a Plan

De-cluttering might not sound like there’s much planning involved. Just trash what you don’t want and throw the rest into another pile, right? The thing is, you’ll be more likely to wind up just moving your clutter from one spot to another with no real progress being made without a plan in place.

Instead, you should go into the de-cluttering process with a strategy, which includes having more boxes available than simply those for storage or garbage. In addition to these two, you’ll also want to have boxes that are for donations, for keeps, or for “I’m not too sure yet.” This will help you stay much more organized when you’re deciding what to do with the things you come across.

6. Trying to Be Perfect

While your goal should certainly be to eliminate all clutter and attempt to get your home in showing condition, it shouldn’t be to strive for perfection. Trying to achieve perfection will only set you up for disappointment, so don’t try to outdo the impeccably organized closets you might see in home decor magazines. As long as you have a plan for de-cluttering and stick with it, the end result will be enough.

7. Doing it All By Yourself

De-cluttering an entire house will be a big job, especially if you’ve got a lot of stuff and your home is ample in size. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s just for a couple of hours here and there. Odds are it will take a lot of time and effort to de-clutter from top to bottom, so the more people you can bring in to help, the better. Just make sure to extend your appreciation by keeping drinks and snacks on hand.

The Bottom Line

De-cluttering isn’t exactly an enjoyable job, but if your home is buried in stuff, it’s a job that will definitely need to get done before your home hits the market. But if you avoid all of these mistakes and go in with a solid plan in place, you should end up with a home that buyers will be impressed with.