October 20, 2019:

Life Hack: Here Are 15 Minute Decluttering Projects

Decluttering. It’s one of the most tedious jobs out there for anyone, especially homeowners who are about to put their homes on the market. While decluttering is a good practice for anyone, for homeowners looking to sell their homes, it’s a necessity because, unlike your average guests, home buyers will be opening drawers and passing judgement. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your home will probably not be decluttered in one either, but if you’ve got 15 minutes, here are a number of mini-staging-projects you can tackle right now that will make an impact one cupboard at a time.

Here are some easy 15-minute mini-staging projects that will pay off for homeowners about to list their homes for sale.

Rubbish Removal

If you’re about to put your home on the market and are wondering where to begin, this is it. Do a walk around in each section of your home with a garbage bag in hand and throw away or recycle any garbage, broken or random items, and paper. Grab a large box and do a second walk-through and store items that have no use being in the room you found them in so you can put them back where they belong.

Before you declutter and throw things out, keep in mind that people around us are in need of typical house items, and what may be useless junk to us can often be someone else’s necessities.

Messy Drawer Makeover

We’ve all been there. Slowly opening that cupboard in the strong hope that 30 unmatched container pieces don’t come flying out and hit you in the face. And if you think that’s bad, it would be much worse if that happened to a potential home buyer. A way to completely avoid this is by opening up that messy drawer (the worst offender being a storage container drawer) and pulling everything out and get matching. (We suggest checking the dishwasher or lunch bags to ensure there aren’t any stragglers – throwing off your entire match-up ceremony.) Recycle the single pieces or see below for some ideas on how to re-use old food containers.

  1. Keep a stash of “take-aways” for sending off friends and family with food upon departure.

  2. The space under a sink can often be an awkward area to create storage in, but it may be the perfect fit for some smaller lidless containers to store toiletries and cosmetic basics.

  3. Marie Kondo would praise your ingenuity for recycling old containers to organize your junk kitchen utensil drawers.


Staging the Inside of Your Fridge

Will buyers actually be looking in your fridge? You bet they will, especially if your appliances are included in the sale of the home, so believe or not, the inside of your fridge could use some staging. After you’ve gotten rid of any forgotten science projects, unload all of your condiments onto the counter and toss the expired ones as well as any you aren’t a huge fan of – this maximizes space. A cluttered, overstuffed fridge sends the message that your fridge is too small, which will send the signal that they will have to buy a new fridge, or worse, will get them wondering whether your kitchen is too small to accommodate a larger one. Wipe the bottom of containers and take a damp sponge with soap to the area they are going to be set on. Every aspect of your home should look and smell clean, and feel organized and spacious.  The object of the game is to help potential buyers feel that if they choose your home, it will be big enough to meet their needs and well-kept so they don’t have to worry.

Staging Your Counters

You should also stage the top of your counters, starting with the kitchen counter. The goal of decluttering, which is an essential part of staging, is to help create the illusion of space and an aesthetically pleasing look that will allow people to envision themselves in your home. Most of us have enough kitchen utensils sitting on the counter in containers to start our own soup kitchen. If you are going to showcase your utensils, pick the ones that are new, stylish, and preferably matching. Put them in a visually appealing container – something that is a statement piece as well as a functional one.

This next tip may be painful for some of you. Take a look at the appliances that are sitting on your counter and ask yourself: when’s the last time I ground coffee beans or used my bread maker? If you can’t remember the last time you used it, put it away, give it away, or sell it. Pick one or two impressive-looking appliances to leave out for aesthetic purposes, and store or hide everything else. It will be a bit of a pain having to pull things out as you use them and then tuck them away again, but this is a temporary arrangement.

For the utensils that have been collecting dust and really have no use – find a local shelter, soup kitchen, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc., and donate to those in need. (See the list below for some local places in need.) Tuck away the main utensils that aren’t Instagram-or-countertop-worthy.

Ratty Towels? No thanks

While your mother may not care what your hand and dish towels look like, potential buyers will. After a while, bathroom and kitchen towels can get ratty and before we know it, they are hanging by a literal thread. This is the perfect time to separate your guest towels from your daily use ones. Pull out all of your towels and investigate them carefully, then determine which ones will make the cut – and be ruthless. Don’t be afraid to throw old towels away, saving those that are decent for your own personal use. Have a basket of fresh “guest” towels folded and ready to go for when you have a showing. Be sure to pick towels that complement and accentuate your paint tones and décor and that are display-worthy. When your home is on the market and you get the heads up that potential buyers are coming to see your home, you’re ready to quickly do the swap.

Polish the Pantry

Grab the garbage and recycling bins, put them beside you and get tossing. Take out any unwanted snacks, stale crackers, and treats that have been sitting for a while. You can even use some of your unmatched storage containers or empty jars to organize and free up some space. Bulk similar items together and place them in bins or baskets for easier access. Don’t neglect your cleaning products and bathroom supplies. Make sure you have only what you absolutely need and tuck those away neatly. Take your staging to the next level by purchasing matching soap and spray dispenser bottles to up your interior cupboard display look.


Seasonal Change-Up

If you’re selling your home between seasons, you may have to consider dealing with a seasonal change-up while your home is on the market. There is no need to have your coat closet corralling all of your family’s winter jackets, boots, and seasonal accessories, bursting at the seams. Getting in the habit of storing and stowing seasonal items will open up space and provide you with easy access to the things you need. However, a good idea before you stow-and-store is to make an effort to wash them or have them dry-cleaned before they go adios for the season. (Stains will darken with time so what you don’t wash now will only get worse.) Store your out-of-season wardroom in a dark, cool, and dry spot.

Entryway Drop Spot

The entryway is the drop zones of drop zones. Backpacks, keys, junk mail, loose change, shoes, the list is endless. It is also the area where potential buyers first set foot – and first impressions are everything. Put any items that don’t belong there away. Hang up coats, bags, and purses, or store them in a closet if not in use. Remove or replace your floor mat and get rid of shoe racks sitting out …again, the illusion of space is critical in this space. Find a place to tuck footwear away behind closed doors instead of leaving shoes in the foyer (sorry…training your family to follow suit will likely take more than 15 minutes). Set up a change coaster where loose coffee change can lay and be used on the way out. Take items that are laid at the front door to the car; that way, you avoid clutter and are obligated to return them where they need to go. Doing this will give you a fresh feeling when entering or leaving your home, rest assured there is no mess.

Give to Others in Need

This is a perfect opportunity to help those in need with items that are essentially either surplus or garbage to most of us. Here is a list of some local shelters, soup kitchens, charities, etc., that you may consider donating to help someone who is in need.


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