How to Sell House Fast!: Declutter & Staging

This is the second part of the series called ‘How to Sell House Fast!’  In Step 1 we discussed Finishing Projects and Repairs.  Now that we have completed all of those old projects and repaired broken items, it is time to move on to Declutter and Staging your house.  As motivation, remember that properly preparing your home for sale can get you an additional 10-15% per offer!

How to Sell HouseFast! Part 2 by The Sweet Spot Blog


It is important to declutter your house so it appears to have lots of storage space.  Potential buyers want to feel like they can easily fit all their belongings and be well-organized.  All built-in cabinets and closets are fair game for potential buyers to inspect.  These areas must be clean, neat, and orderly.   There are several key areas in your house where you will want to focus your time.

1. Kitchen:
Counter tops: Remove clutter from kitchen counter tops to show an expanse of counter space.  Rule of thumb suggests that you should not have more than 3 items on your counter.
Under the sink: Remove as many items as possible from under the sink.  Place any remaining items in bins or baskets to keep them orderly.
Cabinets:  Pack away anything that you have not used in the past year.  Remember all those items you purchased at that Pampered Chef party?  Don’t forget the fondue set and bread maker you received as a wedding gift.  They can all go into storage while your house is on the market.
Pantry:  Throw away all spices that are over a year old.  Box up any dry goods that can go to the Food Bank.
Refrigerator/freezer:  You may not plan to include your appliances in the sale of your house, but they can be used as a negotiating tactic…if they are in good shape.  Use this opportunity to give the refrigerator and freezer a full clean.  Dispose of all those old condiments and orderly replace remaining items.

2. Bathrooms:
Counter tops:  Limit yourself to only hand soap plus one additional item on the counter.  No one wants to see your toothbrush when touring your house!
Under the sink:  Dispose of any unnecessary items and place those remaining in bins.
Medicine cabinet:  Potential buyers will look in your medicine cabinet.  Hide anything you do not want public and place as many items as possible in the bins under the sink.  You will want to lock prescription medicine away.
Linen closet: Remove any unnecessary items and store away.  Neatly fold all linens and stack by color.  You can find our post on organizing a linen closet here.

3. Laundry Room: Make sure all products are neat and orderly.  You want to give the impression that it is easy (and fun) to do laundry in this space.  You can see an example of a organized laundry room here.

4. Clothes Closets: Pack and store off-season clothes and shoes.  Separate clothes types (eg. shirts, pants, long) and hang together by color.  Remove any extra hangers.

5. Office:  File away all paper and corral computer cords.  Desks should be clear of all clutter with only a few items showcased on top.

6. Kid’s Stuff:  While your house is on the market, kid’s toys should be put away in cabinets or bins.  What will not fit should be boxed up and placed in storage.  (The same goes for pet toys and products.)
Note: This is not the time to stock up on toilet paper and beef-a-rino from Costco.  Replace food and toiletries only as needed.

How to Stage a Patio: Before by The Sweet Spot Blog


It is important to stage your house so it looks open, airy, and inviting.   Potential buyers should walk into your living room and want to relax on the couch.  They should go into your bathroom and want to take a bubble bath.  Take the example of my small upper deck above.  It is dull and brown.  Now look at the ‘after’ photo below.

How to Stage a Patio: After by The Sweet Spot Blog

Do you see what a difference a few plants and pillows can make?  Now potential buyers will want to sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and read the paper!  Here are a few key staging suggestions to consider:

1. Spacious: Rooms should appear spacious.  Store any unnecessary pieces of furniture to allow for easy movement around the room and throughout the house.

2. Personal Items: Remove all personal items, such as photos.  Potential buyers want to see themselves living in the house, not you.

3. Plants: Replace all dead or dying plants.  Use real plants, not fake ones.

How to Sell House Fast!: Staging Secrets by The Sweet Spot Blog

4. Bath: Use ‘fancy’ hand soap and shower products to stage for showings.  Potential buyers do not want to see your old razor and facial wash in your shower.  Look at the before photo (with my old razor) and after photo below with staged shower accessories.

How to Sell House Fast!: Staging Secrets by The Sweet Spot Blog

Decluttering and staging can be fun!  You will find that you are more organized and comfortable in your own home.  Potential buyers will be envious of a home that is so harmonious and will want to live there themselves.

Don’t forget to ‘Pin’ this post so you can access it when you are ready to put your house on the market!

Part 3 next week will go through Deep Cleaning the Outside of your house.


43 Responses to How to Sell House Fast!: Declutter & Staging

  1. Taylor de Sa February 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    This is excellent and very detailed. Between following these tips and incorporating some LIGHT scents, a home would show beautifully!

  2. Andrea January 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    I just found your article via Pinterest. We’ve already sold our house last summer. But I’m here to say- your tips are spot on.. it works, it really works. Luckily we had an AWESOME agent that once we decluttered, she spent the time with us to help us stage the house and took amazing photos. It would have sold in one day had the first buyer’s finances not fallen through when the interest rates spiked. However, we had another offer in under a week. It was AMAZING! If more people seriously decluttered, they would be amazed at how quickly their house sold. Our agent also told us that it was okay to have packed boxes in rooms rather than clutter. People expect the moving boxes.It shows you are serious. Obviously not enough to make a fort. But we had one catch-all room with miscellaneous stuff. We boxed it all up. Made a HUGE difference! It not only helps you sell your house faster but it helps get a head start on packing! (even though closing can take forever) lol

    • Corinna January 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Andrea, I love your comments about the boxes! I did a lot of hiding stuff in our cars before showings…but just boxing it up would have been so much easier. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Nancy April 9, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

    Will be selling my parents house in the near future and these tips will help so much! Thank you for this post and will be reading more of your postings (and will share with my husband so we will know just what to do as a team). :)

    • DJ April 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      Just a note when my daughter sold her house we used THe Victorian House FInish Rejuevenator on all the wood to clean off the buildup and to eliminate all the scratches on the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms and all the woodwork. It stays for years too so if your house doesn’t sell quickly you won’t have to go back and touch up all the time. The Rejuvenator is an old product made for antiques but its wonderful for any product. We used it on her lwood floors that her dogs had made a mess of and they were all dulled out. Anyway look at the website. If the wood looks good it will sell your parents home quickly.

  4. James Walls July 8, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    Lowering your price a bit can catch the attention of a buyer to purchase your home, but the buyer also checks other criteria when he purchases a home. This blog is very informative in many ways, fantastic blogs and looking forward to your future updates. 

  5. Jimmy@Apartmentforsale April 7, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs to create an inviting conversation area.

  6. Lacey April 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Thanks for this! How long should I give myself for staging before I list (I have 2 toddlers and work full time)? I feel in limbo land because we’re not ready to list just yet but I want to get going. I’m afraid to pack away too much and need it before we list. Thoughts?

  7. Dido May 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    The fastest services to sell your house in Capitol Heights, Maryland are

  8. Fort Myers Real Estate May 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

    Great idea! How many showings have you had on the property?

  9. Michael Allion June 19, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    Thanks for these ultimate ways how to stage a home while thinking of how to sell my house fast then these suggestions are really helpful for homeowners.

  10. Buffy Werle July 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

    Love it! I’m a professional organizer that helps people declutter and prepack. We walk through step two together.

    Prepacking for a move is such a great idea. Because once you move into your new home everything is already organized. You’ll know right away which boxes can sit for awhile and which have the items you use often. It’s a win-win!

  11. Meg Lund July 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    I really liked your suggestion to remove anything in your medicine cabinet that you don’t want the public to see. I would have never thought of this because it’s such a little thing, but I think that when you remove the things that you don’t want people to see, it will give your home more of an appeal. This also goes for your next suggestion for keeping the linen closet free of unnecessary items as well as keeping it organized. I definitely agree that dong the little things will go along way to help your home sell! Thanks for your great post!

  12. Travis July 20, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    It will be the great information about the how to sell my home fast. You describe the various departments of the house which is an important part of buyers. I really agree with your opinion. Do small things in the nicest way. It really helps me.

  13. Dorothy Nelson July 30, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    Very nice decisions! I am moving in another apartment soon and I started with the decluttering process. You can’t imagine how many useless stuff I have and I actually keep. I throw a lot of clothes and old notebooks. I think that we all should declutter our homes at least once a year!

  14. Rachel Gray August 27, 2015 at 1:02 am #

    This is an excellent list! It is very important to be serious and well organized if you want to sell your house fast. The rules in the house market sphere are like in the jungle – the biggest and the strongest usually lives! Like this the best looking house, that has a good location and is well presented will be sold good and expensive. Many of our clients are going through this process of preparing their house for sale as before this they have to be living in another place already and here is how we are helping them, by moving their belongings to the place where they will stay while searching for a new home! Moving also requires to have your stuff very well packed and organized so your tips are very helpful also for people who are moving to another house! Thanks for sharing your experience with preparing your house for sale!

  15. Ron September 16, 2015 at 12:17 am #

    Great tips specially the de-cluttering part. The less distraction the house have, the more appealing it can be to potential buyers. As always, the bathroom and the kitchen should become the center of de-cluttering process.

  16. Jenn November 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    These are some awesome tips for staging your home. The little details really do make the difference in how clean and neat your home looks. You’re spot on about people not wanting to see your dirty razor!

  17. Laurie January 19, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    I wouldn’t have thought about locking up my medicine, but that is a smart idea. I love the pictures of the work you have done staging as well, they are fantastic!

  18. Margarita Figueroa February 17, 2016 at 1:36 am #

    Really detailed guide on decluttering and organizing your home! I love it because we are preparing to move house and first of all I need to declutter, then pack. When we move to the new house I want everything to be really well organized! Thanks for sharing!

  19. DJ April 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    I know too that if the wood looks good your house will sell faster. I mentioned above The Victorian House Rejuvenator and its a must for the wood. Just read about it. I cant really explain how it works just that it does.

  20. May 9, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    bonjour ! extraordinaire paragraphe sur l’immobilier…

    Je rencontre peu des passages de ce type

  21. LC May 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    I think the best tip is: Remove as many items as possible from under the sink. Place any remaining items in bins or baskets to keep them orderly. Because paying attention to detail when selling a house is really important.

  22. Brandon Connell June 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    I deal with a lot of flippers, and I always make sure to mention staging. It is an easy thing to do, and the money is made up in the sale. Or if the buyer doesn’t want it furnished, the furniture goes with you to your next property staging. Simple.

  23. Lindsey @Maryland Roofing Contractor July 23, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    Your first part was very informative and useful for me. This part is also interesting and informative. Home staging is one of the most important method to attract buyers. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  24. Abélia August 3, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    My husband and I are in a bit of a predicament with selling our house quickly so that my husband can start his new job. I very much appreciate your advice about decluttering and staging your home. It’s true that you want to give the impression that there is lots of storage space. Your pictures show some really good before and after staging shots. It makes a big difference!

  25. Kaitlyn October 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Your tips are spot-on! De-cluttering is so important to make everything more appealing. All of the staging photos look great!

  26. Rich October 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    With the housing market slowing down particularly in Houston Tx. This topic will become more and more relevant. Those that stage their home will sell it faster, it’s just that simple. Buyers can identify with a staged home. So if you can’t stage your house or don’t have the time. let me know

  27. Rich October 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    With the housing market slowing down particularly in Houston Tx . This topic will become more and more relevant. Those that stage their home will sell it faster, it’s just that simple. Buyers can identify with a staged home.

  28. Derek Mcdoogle November 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    In your article, you stated that potential buyers want to feel like they can easily fit all their belongings and be well-organized. When I went to go and talk with my sister last night her house was a total mess and she has been having problems trying to sell it. Do most real estate agents do a walk-through and help their client organize their home? Hiring an experienced real estate agent might be a good idea.

  29. Foster Smith - Carolina One Real Estate November 15, 2016 at 4:49 am #

    Great article and great tips for those trying to sell quickly! After selling real estate in Summerville, SC for over 20 years, I’ve seen houses that apply these principles come out ahead time after time. I wrote an article, Top Six Things that Impact the Value Of Your Home, , which addresses similar things as well.

  30. Allan Foglio November 26, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    There is an excellent article that you published. It has been something new tips and new ideas. This is an informative post that you made. Thanks for sharing this article.
    You are invited.

  31. Chrisitna December 12, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    You have a logical sequence of steps. Starting with home projects, then moving on to decluttering, and then to staging is a sensible way to start preparing the home for a showing.

  32. Kaitlyn January 10, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    These are great tips! My parents got rid of so much clutter and their house sold in under a week!

  33. Kathreen Miller April 7, 2017 at 12:27 am #

    Very informative post. It is very important to declutter your house so it appears to have lots of storage space really helped a lot. Thanks for sharing such an interesting and amazing information.

  34. Tomas Killington May 16, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    My brother is moving soon. He wants to sell his home for top value, so he’s looking for professional advice. I didn’t realize decluttering your bathroom by removing unneeded items from under the sink can help potential buyers see the potential of the area. I’ll be sure to share this info with my brother.

  35. Jade Brunet May 25, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    I did not understand how important staging was when it came to selling a home. It is good to know that one should make a home feel open, airy, and inviting. I have heard that taking personal pictures off the walls can be a good way to achieve a customer’s expectation.

  36. Ron Pickle October 10, 2017 at 12:00 am #

    This makes perfect sense! Every body talks about getting the house repaired and keep in top shape, removing clutters from your house before showings is a brilliant idea, this is getting the psychology of a buyer so correctly, while inspecting, they all visualize about organizing and keeping stuff in the different rooms of the house and if it is uncluttered then it helps them get a clear vision and thus enhances the chances of a house being sold quickly.

  37. Steele Honda November 13, 2017 at 2:06 am #

    I appreciate you pointing out the importance of having a neat laundry room as I have almost forgotten about it! I need to sell my house as soon as possible as I need to move abroad for work. I could not even think that buyers would want to see this place, so I want to give the impression that it is easy to do laundry in this space!


  1. How to sell a home fast! - Lauren Davis Real Estate - January 17, 2016

    […] Clutter is different from unorganized personal possessions This is an over abundance of items stuffed in corners, closets and under furniture. I like to advise my clients to make sure only the large items are on the floor. Everything else (like toys, clothing, and office supplies) needs to have a spot inside the related furniture. Again if they do not fit and are not a necessity pack ’em up! If you’re needing ideas on how to de-clutter a specific room, here’s a great article from TheSweetSpotBlog. […]

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    […] Clutter is different form of unorganized personal possessions. This is an over abundance of items stuffed in corners, closets and under furniture. I like to advise my clients to make sure only the large items are on the floor. Everything else (like toys, clothing, and office supplies) needs to have a spot inside the related furniture. Again, if they do not fit and are not a necessity, pack ’em up! If you’re needing ideas on how to de-clutter a specific room, here’s a great article from TheSweetSpotBlog. […]

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