How to declutter and depersonalize your home for sale

The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
Published on April 26, 2021

Congratulations on making the decision to sell your home. You couldn’t have chosen a better real estate market in which to do so.

Now, the journey begins. There’s a lot to do, and it starts with getting your home ready for the market.

Deep cleaning is critical but before you break out the Lysol and Dust Buster, you will need to declutter and depersonalize the home.

The reasons behind decluttering

Did you know that there are actually studies on the effects of clutter on our psyches? The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) spent four years studying the topic and found that clutter makes us stressed.

Since a stressed-out buyer is one who won’t spend much time in your home, getting rid of clutter is critical.

And depersonalizing?

There are several reasons behind the advice to depersonalize your home before putting it on the market.

The first is that buyers want to be able to see themselves living in your home. They can’t do that while staring at strangers peering out of photographs, awards on walls given to someone else and evidence that strangers brush their teeth in the bathrooms.

Personal items can be distracting, especially the very personal items we sometimes leave on bathroom counters.

Let’s get started

Grab some boxes. Since you’ll need them for the moving process later on, they’ll do double duty.

Depending on how cluttered your home is, you may need several boxes in some rooms (hello children!). Grab some cushioning material (newspaper, bubble wrap, etc.) for fragile items.

Choose a room in which to start. Some organizing experts recommend that you choose to start to the right or left of the front door and work your way around the home.

Pack up anything of a personal nature in the boxes you’ve gathered.

Bedroom decluttering and depersonalizing

Think about your favorite hotel room; that is how you want your bedrooms to look. The master bedroom is especially important and most homebuyers say that it’s their number one priority, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Remove family photos and replace them with something generic. Since the bed is typically the focal point, think back, again, to that hotel room and splurge on some new bedding and extra pillows.

Clear off the nightstands, leaving a lamp, a small photo in an attractive frame and a plant or floral arrangement.

Need ideas? Check out

Tips for the bathrooms

Since bathrooms are, by their very nature, personal, depersonalizing them can be a challenge.

Start by removing everything of a personal nature from the counters and storing these items out of site. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, cosmetics and other toiletries.

The rule of thumb for countertops: If it isn’t decorative, stash it.

Extra toilet paper next to the toilet? Stash that too.

Next, check out the shower/tub. Yes, homebuyers will sneak a peek behind the curtain.

Remove razors, body wash and soap, hair products, back scrubbers and whatever else you keep in there. Everything.

Living Room and Family Room

Refresh your memory on that gorgeous hotel room and get to work on the living and family rooms.

Pack up:

  • Souvenirs
  • CD and DVD collections
  • Family photos
  • Framed awards, degrees, diplomas
  • Magazines, newspapers
  • Anything of a religious or political nature
  • Toys and other kid and pet paraphernalia

Time to tackle the kitchen

Kitchens can hold a lot of clutter, both in the cupboards and drawers and on the counters.

Remember what we said about the bathroom counters? The same holds true for those in the kitchen. When countertops are cluttered, they appear smaller and buyers love lots of counter space.

Clear them off and replace only decorative items. No toaster, food processor or waffle iron.

Get ideas on how to declutter and stage kitchen counters at:

The spring real estate market is upon us and, although homes are selling quickly, they sell for more if they’re decluttered and depersonalized.

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