The Best Thing I Did in Anticipation of Selling My House | Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®
When my husband and I signed the contract on our little Cape Cod outside Milwaukee, we knew that it was a temporary move. We’d recently relocated from Minneapolis to be closer to family and wanted to get into the neighborhood while keeping our eyes open for our “forever home” in the same area. We knew it would be tough to improve upon our starter home, which was just one bedroom and a few hundred square feet short of perfect, but we also wanted to be prepared to list our house when the right thing popped on the market.
While we looked, we did our best to make our current house a home while also getting it ready for the next family. That involved spending money on things that we hoped would increase the space’s value while making it nicer to live in—new sod and a fence for the backyard, new doors and storm doors, and a new washer and dryer–and spending time making our space as clutter-free as possible.
How I did it
Whenever I had a free weekend, I’d pick one area of the house to declutter and organize. I’d go through everything in drawers, cabinets, and closets, toss damaged or expired items and donate things we didn’t need. Over time, and with a little help from a professional organizer, I pared down all of our storage areas.
Why it matters
Emptier drawers and uncluttered closets make it easier to function in any space, but the real payoff came when we finally found a house we loved, 18 months after we moved into our Cape Cod. We had two weeks to get our house on the market, and I didn’t spend a single minute stressing about decluttering for staging photos or open houses. With the time I’d invested in the previous months, I focused on all the other stuff that would make our space more desirable, like yard work and cleaning. It was also easier to pack, because we just had fewer belongings (and the organizer had put a lot of our basement storage stuff in labeled bins).
The home sold in a weekend, and while I think it had more to do with the hot market than anything I did to prepare the house, the planning ahead was a gift to myself and my family. The whole process was less stressful because I chose to front-load my stress, breaking it down into chunks I could tackle little by little.
If you’re not living in your forever home now, do your best to be anchored in the present while visualizing–and decluttering for–your future. It might seem silly to waste your weekends on something as nebulous as a possible move. But a little preparation goes a long way. Your future self, as mine did, will thank you.