The New Year is right around the corner, and many of us are vowing to start the year off right by exercising more, eating better and being more organized. The first two won’t help you sell your home, but the last one will.
Getting organized and decluttering your home is also a great way to showcase your home’s best features. Try these tips for making home organization a priority this January:
- Focus on one room at a time. The idea of tackling the whole house can be overwhelming. Set realistic goals by focusing on one room at a time, and for larger rooms, break them into segments. For example, if you have a large kitchen, maybe one day you clean out your pantry and another day you rearrange the seating area.
- Set time limits and small, achievable goals. Even if you are only organizing one room at a time, the process can be overwhelming. To make the process more palatable, set time limits. “Today I’m going to spend 30 minutes organizing the linen closet.” This is particularly important for perfectionists who aren’t likely to even start a project they know they can’t finish in one sitting.
- Keep, toss or donate. As you go through each room, you’ll run across items that aren’t where they belong or that you no longer use. Evaluate each item to see if it is something you will use again and want to keep, something you don’t want but someone else might, and things that have outlived their usefulness.
- Have everyone in the household participate to make the process less time consuming. Even teens and toddlers can evaluate their favorite items to see what they want to keep, toss or donate. Put them to work with age-appropriate organizational tasks.
- Evaluate each cabinet and closet to see if it is functional as is. If you’re lucky, it just needs tidying. If you’ve neglected it for a while though, you may need to better utilize the space. Consider using adjustable shelves, closet organizers, glass jars, bins with labels, etc. to keep similar items together. For storage ideas, check out sites like Martha Stewart, Real Simple and HGTV.
- Store things close to where you’ll use them. For example, store pots, pans and cooking utensils near the stove, or store bathroom cleaning supplies in a portable tote or bucket under one of the bathroom sinks.
- Organize the entryway, inside and out. Since this is the first area a prospective homebuyer will see, you want to be sure that your front porch and foyer are appealing. Use door mats inside and out for guests to wipe their feet on and a shoe rack or mat for wet or dirty shoes. Hang up coats and umbrellas, use a bowl or hooks for keys, and identify a designated spot for mail and newspapers.
- Declutter and depersonalize. Yes, we mention this a lot, but it bears repeating. Prospective buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your home. That’s hard to do with family photos, personal collections and other knick-knacks around your home. Pare down to the essentials, and perhaps choose one area to showcase. Maybe putting a seasonal centerpiece on your dining room table or a festive wreath on your front door.
- Create a centralized home office. Whether you have an actual home office, or everyone gravitates to the breakfast nook to do homework, it is important to have a central location for office supplies, mail, bills and other important paperwork.
- Utilize hidden storage. Store items between shelves, on the insides of cabinet doors, under your bed – anywhere there is the potential for a better use of your space. Just remember where you put things…or keep a list of items you’ve moved on your computer (e.g., summer clothes in underbed bin).
Organizing your home can be strangely cathartic, freeing up your mind, and helping you to emotionally transition away from your current home into your next one. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it. Good luck!