Getting Ready to Sell? Depersonalize and Get Rid of Clutter First

Bobby and Lindsey
Bobby and Lindsey
Published on May 21, 2018

Think back to a time when you, or someone you know, sold or traded in a car. First of all, you might as well consider getting it ready to sell before you could start advertising, right? It’s a rare car seller who’ll leave all the fast-food wrappers, empty plastic water bottles and crumbs left behind by the kids.


Because a clean car gives off an impression of being well-maintained. It also indicates that the owner is ready to sell.

It’s the same thing with houses. Sadly, cleaning and de-cluttering a car that’s about to go on the market is a routine task. Doing the same for homes isn’t.

Yet a home is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than a car. So, getting ready to sell your home requires doing several tasks to keep it in tip-top shape.

First, get rid of the clutter

Studies show that clutter causes anxiety. It’s not a good state for a homebuyer to be in, so it should be enough reason to get rid of excess “stuff” in the home.

If you have a difficult clutter problem, the process can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. Remember the old advice about eat an elephant?  Take one bite at a time and apply it to how you de-clutter the house.

In this case, take it one room at a time. Try to do the entire home in one day and you’ll most likely get frustrated and lose the mojo needed to complete the job, according to professional organizer Nicole Anzia.

“It’s much better to spend a few hours — 2 or 3 — on one project or space. This way you’ll feel motivated to do more, not be burned out by the process,” she tells’s Catrin Morris.

For those who burn out quickly, Anzia suggests doing one room at a time, “in 30-minute bursts … work for 30 minutes, take a half-hour break, then work for another 30.”

Also, when tackling clutter, pay close attention to any collections you may have. Too many items in a room makes it appear cluttered and distracting to buyers. You may want to put these aside to make your home presentable.

Depersonalizing comes next

In getting ready to sell you house, you may end up doing a lot of the “depersonalization”.

In a nutshell, depersonalizing a home involves removing anything of an overly-personal nature.

Think about model homes in new-home communities. These homes are carefully staged to appeal to the broadest number of buyers and they are decidedly depersonalized.

You want buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in the home, with their furniture and their belongings. Sellers should be ready to sell once they get into the shoes of their clients.

Some of what you should remove and store away includes:

  • Excess family photos
  • Framed diplomas, degrees and awards
  • Extra toys
  • Magazines and professional journals
  • Craft items
  • Anything on the refrigerator doors
  • Anything that sits on the kitchen and bathroom counters that isn’t decorative
  • Mail
  • Paperwork
  • Anything of a religious or political nature
  • Sports memorabilia

Depersonalization doesn’t just include removing overly-personal items from the home. Consider repainting walls that have a bright or odd color and getting rid of odors from cooking, pets, babies and smokers.

Don’t go overboard in depersonalizing the home, however. Leave some traces of your personal statement so that buyers get an idea of the lifestyle the home offers. When all’s said and done, you can now be ready to sell you home.

But before that, you might want to consider how much your house is worth. Contact us now and let’s talk about it.

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