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Should I declutter before viewings?

Clutter: It’s everyone’s guilty secret. Piles of the stuff we just can’t bear to throw away or be bothered to tidy up. Or worse, stuff that’s there because you’ve got nowhere left to store it.

The problem with clutter is that it’s very distracting – especially when you are trying to sell your house. Potential buyers won’t be able to imagine themselves living in your house if there are clothes over the sofa, books stacked up in front of windows or boxes in the hallway. If your wardrobes are overstuffed or cupboards packed so tightly you can’t open the door, it gives the impression there isn’t adequate storage space and potential buyers will start thinking what other problems might be lurking.

A survey of more than 250 UK estate agents found that freeing up floor space and clearing work surfaces, can push the sale price up by as much as 11 per cent. While a fifth of us wouldn’t even buy a house because it was too cluttered, according to research by Big Yellow Self Storage.

Decluttering before selling
Decluttering before selling

Property expert Kate Faulkner says: “Every seller wants to maximise the price of their property. Buyers are very canny these days – fuelled in part by the popularity of property and DIY TV shows – so they will look for reasons to make a lower offer. A cluttered property which is bursting at the seams will not get the full asking price.”

De-cluttering your house before a viewing will enable you to create a more spacious appearance and show buyers you are serious about selling. So how do you declutter your home?

  • First, start by decluttering the most public rooms: the hall, the living room and the kitchen. Remove any items that are absolutely not essential to your day-to-day living and think ‘minimalist’. The secret here is that less really does mean more. By clearing away displays of your china collection on the mantelpiece, or removing personal photo frames from a window sill, it lets the potential buyer think about what they might put in that space, rather than be distracted by photos of you in your wedding dress.
  • If you have an office – file away papers, shred old receipts that you no longer need, make sure there’s a chair that fits the desk and create a workspace that’s enticing and orderly.
  • For bathrooms, bag up and clear away the excessive toiletries, sponges and medication that always seem to accumulate around the sinks and baths. Remove any children’s bath toys and put out just one clean, dry folded towel rather than the mountains of towels that usually get slumped on top of a radiator or door.

De-cluttering your home is one of the most effective and simplest jobs you can do to have a successful house viewing. Taking the time to tidy up and create clear defined spaces will make sure your home is dressed to impressed.