How to Declutter Your Home Before A Showing

One of the first items on a pre-showing checklist is to declutter the home. Ask your local real estate agents which items you should remove and which things are okay to leave in place. A REALTOR® can help you think about the purpose of each room and the vibe or tone it should convey and give guidance on how to stage accordingly. One of the best tips is to view your home as if you were a potential buyer. Here are some pointers to help you get started on the decluttering journey.

Is It Needed?

Homes collect things, especially if you have lived in them for a long time. If you are selling your home in the summer, an easy first task is to get rid of all winter items. Even if things sit in organized bins and containers, remove them from the home altogether. Decluttering storage spaces is as essential as high-traffic areas. Consider renting a storage space while showing the house so items not used don’t take up space. You will be able to retrieve items should something come up and they are needed.

Too Personal

Walls can look cluttered if too many pictures or photos are hanging. We recommend removing most, if not all, of the personal images from walls, shelves, and refrigerator doors. The goal of a showing is to allow potential buyers to envision themselves and their belongings in the home. Too much evidence of the seller can be distracting, making it harder to do so. Instead, replace those portraits and photos with a piece of art.

What To Do with Pets

Remove all evidence of pets from the house before a showing. That may mean taking the dog for a long walk or to the local doggy daycare. Ask friends who have pets if you can come for a visit with your cat during a showing. Potential buyers shouldn’t have any indication a pet has lived in the home. Air out spaces with which pets have spent significant time – especially the room or area that holds the cat’s litter box. Don’t forget about any evidence that could be outside as well. Replace dug-up flower beds, and clean up the yard.

Undeveloped Basements

An undeveloped basement is a great location for storage, and many are well-used for just this. Potential buyers need to see the basement’s potential as well, whether it will continue its role as storage or if the buyer has an idea for renovations. Relocate bulky items like sleds or unfinished DIY projects – another reason why getting a storage unit is a good choice.

Fridge and Freezers

Now is the time to decide whether the leftovers from Christmas dinner need to be kept in the freezer or if it’s time to say goodbye. Plan your meals accordingly to use items in your freezer to create space. Declutter and organize fridges and freezers to give the impression that the appliance has more room than needed. Dishwashers should be empty, the washer free of stale odours, and the dryer clear of lint.


Let’s not forget outside the home. If showing in the fall, try to keep an eye on the number of leaves covering the lawn. If it is winter, ensure driveways, sidewalks, and walkways are clear of snow and ice. Keep the gardens tidy and if the home has a gravel driveway, take the time to remove errant stones and pebbles from the lawn. Arrange any lawn furniture to be welcoming, or if they’ve seen better seasons, pack them away or take the time to clean them.

It can be daunting to look at the whole house and realize the amount of time it will take to get it decluttered. Taking it one room at a time and breaking the project into chunks will help make this process easier and as a bonus, give you a jump start on packing for your move.

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