Having a neat, organized, visually appealing home is an important first step in the process of getting your home ready for market, or for just making it a more pleasant and stress free place to live! Having to spend countless hours picking up and cleaning up for every showing or spending your weekends digging out from a week’s worth of clutter and activity will undoubtedly increase the stress level in your home, and quickly turn your safe haven into a source of greater aggravation and a potential buyer away from seeing the true features that your home may offer.
Before you begin to organize however, it is necessary to reduce the overall amount of belongings, knick-knacks, collectibles, and just plain “junk” lurking on shelves, in drawers and hidden in closets. A systematic way to begin the process is to set up three collection points for each room; a bag labeled “trash”, one labeled “donate”, and a box labeled “sell.” Start in one room and stay focused on that room until all that remains are those items you are happy to keep. A good idea is to start in a room in the front of your home, closest to the front door in the most visible area of the house, and work your way towards the back in a room by room effort. Begin in the room by emptying drawers and cabinets into a pile on the floor or on a tabletop. Go through each item. Decide quickly if it is “keep”, “trash”, “donate” or “sell”. Immediately take the trash bag to the trash. Likewise, the donate bag to the car, and the sell box to a central area to prep for sale, either by logging the items onto a website for selling household goods, or for a general yard sale. Move to the next closest room to the front of the house and repeat the process. You may actually discover some hidden treasures or some lost items that you thought were gone forever!
Once you have trimmed the inventory down to only those items you are delighted to keep, begin the process of organization. This should be vastly more easy to accomplish since there will be far less to organize! Keep bookcases organized by size/color. The same applies to items in closets. Keep like items together and organize by type and color. If you cannot easily move the hangers on the rods, there are still too many items in the closet! Consider further purging or an alternate location.
In the kitchen, the same applies to the pantry. Organize items as you find them on the supermarket shelves. Keep like items together, and face the labels to the front. Items will also be easier for you to find when you need them! Clear off countertops as much as possible and limit items on the countertop to everyday kitchen related needs.
Overall, your home does not have to be sterile and free from decoration, but should be a place where a buyer can imagine themselves living and a place where you can live without constantly feeling the need to pick up and clean up!