Looking to move on from your current home? Now is a great time to jump into the market and list your home for sale, but a good declutter is necessary before an open home situation.
We all know that homes open for inspection need to be clean, but there is a trick to knowing what you should keep and what needs to go into storage.
We spoke to home staging expert, Sam Clayton from Housefrau Interiors, about her top tips on how to declutter and prepare for an open home.
By now you’ve surely heard of the KonMari method which encourages homemakers to keep items that ‘spark joy’, but according to Sam, when styling for sale the reverse rules apply:
“When decluttering your home for sale you should do the opposite of Marie Kondo’s advice of keeping anything that sparks joy.”
That’s not to say you shouldn’t declutter at all – rather, it’s about removing items that are too specific to your family.
While personal items like trinkets and photos spark joy for your family, potential buyers may struggle to imagine themselves in the space after seeing them.
“Decluttering in this case generally means removing a lot of these items that are nostalgic and hold meaning for you,” Sam explains.
By removing any shrines to your children and pets, you’re allowing potential buyers to imagine their own lives in the house. So the family photographs, kids’ artworks, pet beds and toys all have to go come open day.
Decluttering for sale doesn’t need to be a chore; use it as an opportunity to rid yourself of the unnecessary stuff that tends to follow you around from house to house, says Sam.
“Tidying for an open house inspection is a great opportunity to reconsider the items you want to take to your new home.
“Consider your experiences at rental holiday homes and use them as a reference to how the insides of kitchen cupboards could look,” says Sam.
It’s time to get your digs in order! Here are Sam’s top areas of the home to focus on:
A clear pathway and uncluttered porch will make a great first impression for buyers coming to your open home.
Make sure the kids’ shoes are out of sight at the front door. The last thing you want is for potential buyers to associate your home with the smell of old loafers.
Purchase a fresh new doormat for your potential buyers. It’ll be a classy and well-considered touch and buyers won’t have to deal with a dusty old mat when they first enter the space.
Like in this stylish Yarralumla home, keep the front entrance clean and clear of shoes and clutter. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The living room is a crucial space where buyers will potentially decide whether they love the house or not, so it’s vital you show this space off to its maximum potential.
Realistically assess the number of cushions in the space and only allow a few of the most beautiful to stay. Limit table accessories to cut down on the visual clutter and keep out only your cleanest and most neutral furniture.
Sam suggests you also sort through your magazine and book stacks, making sure only the most beautiful ones are on display. Store sentimental or practical books out of sight, then consider recycling or donating the rest.
Get yourself used to the idea that people will look in your cupboards – so keep them organised, says Sam. Above all, storage needs to look spacious and orderly.
If there are items in there that you’d prefer weren’t on display, then consider investing in a small set of drawers that can live inside another cupboard.
Whether you’re a budding chef or not, now is the time to curate what’s in the kitchen, says Sam.
Stick to one potato peeler, can-opener and egg whisk – these things tend to multiply over the years and that’s clutter you don’t need.
Keep counter tops clear and to a minimum, Sam says. You don’t need the coffee machine and the Kitchen Aid out on display.
Curate the pantry and take everything off from the front of your fridge. We know you rate your kids’ creativity but let buyers imagine their own child’s artwork there.
Keep the benches clear and clean – don’t feel like this is your chance to show off the appliances. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
When it comes to the bathroom, our third point still applies. People will be looking inside those cupboards – so keep it G-rated and orderly.
“Stow items like toothbrushes and the toilet paper out of sight”, says Sam, “no one needs to see these”.
Keep the counters clear and make sure the room smells clean but avoid heavy room fresheners – buyers may think you’re trying to hide something.
Make sure your bathroom cabinet isn’t a full medical history of the whole family’s past ailments. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
While furniture is important, it’s the size – not style – that’s key. Furniture should be an illustration of the potential of the room and help create the suggestion of a great place to live.
Remember that big furniture in a small space makes it feel even smaller. So if your dining table is big enough to seat 10 but the house isn’t huge, then it could be time to borrow or hire a smaller set.
Sam also suggests looking at the configuration of the room and removing any smaller furniture items for better traffic flow.
If you’re a budding green thumb and have a collection of indoor and outdoor plants, that’s great! Plants can add style and personality without being overbearing.
But stick to a minimum of pot plants, only displaying the healthiest ones with the nicest pots.
Sam suggests opting for a large healthy plant in an attractive pot on the porch to greet buyers as they enter the home.