ORGANIZING AHEAD OF SELLING MAKES SENSE
Published Date 3/29/2018
What’s one of the best times to get organized? Believe it or not, the answer is right before you move. What? You think you should wait until you accept an offer to go to so much trouble? Homeowners often have the mistaken idea that there’s plenty of time after an offer is accepted. In reality, however, they are thrust into high gear at that point, making this process an afterthought.
Somehow the idea of doing all that work before selling your home can seem like a low priority, but when you really think about it, the more you do ahead of listing your house, the better. Simply put, organizing your home in order to simplify your move is one of the best favors you can do for yourself. Your eventual Realtor will appreciate it as well since he or she knows you just upped your chances of selling your home faster and for more money. Why? The less visual clutter a potential buyer sees, especially when opening closet doors and kitchen cabinets, the better.
So the first point of order is to clear that clutter. It’s one of the first things agents and experts who stage homes for sale will tell you to do anyway, so do it now. If you are in doubt how much is too much, picture what a pristine-neat linen closet, bathroom cabinet, or bookshelf might look like in a Fixer Upper episode and act accordingly.
Decluttering includes sorting piles of belongings into groups: those you must keep, giveaways, maybes, and trash. The “maybe” pile is made up of things you know you may never touch again, but your heart won’t let you let these items go, in which case you box them and seal them up for six to 12 months, remaining untouched long after your move. At the end of that time, you may reassess the need for these things.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Patience is a virtue when it comes to sorting through personal papers and memorabilia, taking you much longer than going through sets of old dishes or linens that should have been donated long ago. Reminiscing will occur.
Clear plastic bins make the most sense. Making an investment in clear boxes enables you to have a quick view of what’s inside while the labels you may scribble on the outsides of cardboard boxes may escape their meanings.
Get rid of magazines, newspapers, documents, advertisements, old bills and receipts not pertinent to tax time. Shred documents you don’t need. Once those piles are down to small ones, it’s amazing how good you’ll feel and how much easier it will be to organize them in your next home.
If you choose to use your garage instead of renting a storage unit to store your newly boxed items, be sure to make it look neat and organized as well, since buyers WILL open that interior garage door and take a peek. And if that means having to park one or more cars outside, mentally prepare yourself to park them on the street (not your driveway and not in front of your house, since both make showings appear cluttered from the outside, robbing potential buyers of a visual of the entire house).
The most important aspect of this is planning ahead. If you are in doubt of how to do all this, including packing up decor pieces that distract potential buyers (such as your mother’s collection of figurines, your gun collection, or the framed sports jerseys your spouse had to hang all over the family room), it’s worth it to pay a fee to a professional stager to recommend what should disappear from sight. Not only will your home look better during its first open house; once this exercise is complete, you’ll feel like a new person, ready for whatever comes next.