How to Declutter Your House to Sell During COVID-19
Due to social distancing mandates as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you might have a lot of time on your hands these days. If you’re quarantined, why not spend some of that time decluttering your house? Whether you’re in the midst of selling or just getting started, decluttering is one of the wisest actions you can take. Not only can it help you prepare to move, but it can enable potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house more easily — which is a win for you. But how should you approach the decluttering process? Let’s explore five tips to help you declutter your house to sell during COVID-19.
1. Categorize your belongings
Now is the time to determine what should stay and what should go. The ideal way to approach this is to focus on what you actually use. If you have three sets of dishes, but you only use one set on a daily basis, put the others away if they have sentimental value. Be honest about the degree to which you use certain items. What can be kept in the house, kept but packed, tossed, recycled, donated, and sold? As you move through the house, room by room, and categorize your belongings, consider using your garage as an organizing space.
2. Make a plan for bulky items and electronics
Whether you have an old TV, computer, or video game console, and other electronics you may have accumulated over the years, determine a) whether it’s in working condition, b) whether it’s sentimental, and c) whether it can be recycled or given away. Categorize them as before, wipe any remaining data from the hard drives, and set them aside. You can then research special electronics recycling days in your area. However, keep in mind that depending on where you live, this service may be suspended until further notice due to COVID-19. If that’s the case, you can still categorize your electronics while you’re at home and schedule a pickup when the suspension is lifted.
3. Tackle one small area at a time
When you stand in your house and look around, the task of decluttering may feel like a herculean effort. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by taking it one step, one room, and one section at a time. Try starting with items that have less sentimental value and can easily be replaced. If you think you might have a hard time letting go, this is a good way to slowly work up to minimizing your belongings — or at the very least, making a plan for them.
4. Use clear bins
If you’re not quite ready to pack your belongings in boxes, organize the ones you want to keep (but are not using everyday) with clear bins. From sentimental clothing and important papers to extra books and special knick knacks, consider separating these items in clear bins and stowing them in your garage or another large storage area. This way, you know exactly what each bin contains should you need to add or retrieve anything as you prepare to sell your house.
5. Walk in the buyer’s shoes
As you categorize and organize your belongings, it’s wise to picture each room from the buyer’s perspective. For example, after sifting through items in your master bedroom, take a step back and walk in as if you were a buyer seeing the room for the first time. Does any item, like a framed photograph, detract from your experience? If so, consider removing it completely. At the end of the day, you want buyers to feel like they can picture themselves living in the house. So be sure to declutter to create an open, transferrable environment that still retains its charm and appeal.
Sellers and agents have become more reliant on digital selling techniques, like virtual tours and live-streaming, from the impact of COVID-19. As a result, the task of decluttering your house is even more critical. By using these tips to declutter your rooms and categorize your items, you’re also setting the stage to sell your home during the coronavirus — and beyond.
For more on COVID-19 and real estate, check out HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights report.