Selling a Home? How to Declutter in Two Weeks

Once you've made the decision to put your home on the market, it's time to get the place ready for sale. When potential buyers are looking at your home, you want to put its best foot forward.

Selling a Home? How to Declutter in Two Weeks
Selling a Home? How to Declutter in Two Weeks

Selling a home usually means cleaning and making needed repairs. But if you've ever seen any of the reality TV shows involving selling a home, you know that it's also important to declutter. Decluttering can be an intimidating task.

Basically, it means removing from your house what you don't need (or want to move to a new house). Decluttering makes your home seem roomier and in better condition in the eyes of buyers shopping for a home. And it doesn't have to be intimidating. Here's how to complete a whole-house decluttering job in just two weeks or less.

Divide and conquer by category, not room

It can be tempting to tackle a decluttering task room-by-room, devoting a day to the kitchen, another to bedrooms, and so on. But that approach isn't always an efficient use of your time.

Decluttering a kitchen, for example, could mean removing several types of clutter. You might have papers that pile up on counters. You might have cookware or china to be sorted through, or plastic containers, not to mention food items in the pantry and fridge that have expired. 

Those items all might be headed to different fates. Papers can be shredded or recycled. Cookware can go in a garage sale pile. Food is tossed into the garbage. That's fine, but when you go to tackle your office, bedrooms and the rest of your house, you'll have to drag shredders and recycling bins out all over again.

Instead, consider dividing by categories, such as paper, cooking and cleaning, clothing and accessories, furniture, and play and entertainment. That way, you can borrow a few shredders and recycling containers and purge paper all at once. Clearing clothes from closets and drawers means they can all go to Goodwill all at once. Old CDs, movies, books, and toys can be tossed out or go in a garage sale pile, and moving unwanted furniture requires asking for help for only one day.

Chip away at it

Once you've decided on the categories that need to be purged, work out a schedule, by category, that will allow you enough time for each. But don't try to do it all at once.

Chipping away at clutter a little each day can make the task seem less formidable. It might mean not spending four straight weekends doing nothing but purging. If you pick a category that might require five hours total, consider spending one hour per weekday to get it done.

If another category will require, say, 10 hours, save that for a weekend. Five hours on Saturday and five on Sunday will be enough to finish that job. If you have four categories - two that take 10 hours and two that require five - you can declutter a whole house in two weeks and two weekends by splitting up the work accordingly.

Don't overthink it

You don't have to tap into the trend and ask yourself if each item brings you joy before deciding whether to keep it. A dress you bought 10 years and two sizes ago might bring you joy, but also might not need to be kept. Your children's toys might bring you joy, but if they've outgrown then, why keep them?

Similarly, you probably don't need every book you've ever enjoyed. You don't need cribs, high chairs, or playpens if you're not having any more babies. Your music is probably on a hard drive, so you don't need that rack full of CDs, no matter how much joy they've brought you.

If you come across something you haven't used or needed in years, or something you simply don't want to pack up and move, get rid of it. There can be satisfaction in purging before selling a home.

Decluttering a home for sale can sound like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. If you categorize, organize, and prioritize, you can get even a pretty large house decluttered in two weeks or less.