Let’s face it, life is busy. Even with the best intentions, keeping our homes organized is a challenge for most of us. Time passes quickly, making it easy for clutter to accumulate. Before you know it we can find ourselves with “stuff” in all of our home’s nooks and crannies.

Professional organizers tell us that to reduce clutter we should take the extra 2-3 seconds needed to put items where they belong. They also advise to take a few minutes every day (just 15 minutes for most of us) and do quick, daily organizing to avoid clutter.

But if you are like me, you may be hanging on to fancy serving dishes that you may never use again, (and clothes that were once “in style” that may come back around), overflowing your closets and attic.

The good news is that moving is the best time to go through all of the clutter you have accumulated (and maybe make some money doing it!)


The majority of staging for most homeowners involves “decluttering.” Simply put, this means organizing your belongings and minimizing their focus in your home. Since we want your rooms to look as large as possible and bring attention to your homes architectural details, minimizing décor and furnishings (and “stuff”) is necessary. The good news is that this is work that you can do yourself, and it’s work that you can begin doing at the very first inkling that you may want to sell your home.

Here are some tips for organizing your home to make it “Market Ready.”

  1. Create a plan with goals. Who is going to work on this project? What time are you going to set aside to do this? Where can you “re-home” items that hold sentimental value (family members, museums, charities?) How can you integrate this with your moving plans (pre-packing, storage?)
  2. Break up with your stuff. Ask yourself questions such as: When was the last time I used this? Do I need this where I am going? Could someone else benefit from this more than me? What is this costing me to keep it? Is it being damaged or destroyed by not being used? These are difficult but necessary questions to ask yourself; when you are on the other side, there is a freeing feeling in letting go.
  3. Take small bites. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Try not to get overwhelmed. Dissect your project into smaller, achievable mini-projects. While it may be true that you need to organize your whole house, the project of organizing your pantry is more attainable (and rewarding.)
  4. Have a plan for what you’re getting rid of: When you are going through items you will need to have sort piles. Some items may be suitable for resale at consignment shops, yard sales or even ebay. You may have a pile for donatable items that can go to your local thrift store (these are tax deductible if you itemize.) You may even have a pile for specialty and hobby items (such as old towels and blankets for your SPCA.) And then there is the throw away pile. Recycle when you can, and just get this over with! Having a plan will help make the job easier.
  5. Have a plan for what you’re keeping. Items that you are keeping should be properly stored in a way that supports your staging plan. A typical staging plan incorporates having a minimal amount of décor and contents in your closets. If you are still “overflowing” you may need to begin pre-packing. This is actually ideal for many sellers, as they can begin the arduous work of preparing to move.We know that fewer contents in a room, closet, pantry, etc., fool the eye to make the space look larger. Excess items can be stored out-of-sight. Large pictures can store under a bed. Packed boxes and extra furniture can be stacked in the garage or a pod. It is better to store excess items (organized of course) in a garage than overflowing a room.

So don’t be afraid of the “stuff monster!” You can do this, you really can! It can be hard to believe, but too much clutter can send the wrong signals to potential buyers and keep you from getting the best price for your home.

Of course if your need help we can bring in our team of experienced stagers and help you get your house “Market Ready” in no time!

For more information: www.marketreadyvirginia.com