Step 1: Decluttering your Home

Get Your Home Cleaned up

This is the hardest part for most sellers. It is time to purge and get the home ready. Remember you are selling so you will need to pack anyway so just look at it like you are Pre-packing! The goal is to get down to the minimum amount of items you need to live. A clean organized home looks more inviting to the buyer. A closet that isn’t scary to open shows that the home has lots of storage. we are creating a vision of how open and inviting the home is.

Want to see some before and after pictures? Click here to get an idea of what your home should look like when it is ready for pictures.

For the whole home

  • – Thoroughly deep clean the entire home including ceiling fans, baseboards, oven, and closets

  • -Steam clean carpets and rugs using a company such as Stanley Steemer. Consider replacing the carpet if stains are prominent.

  • – Consider refinishing hardwood floors if they are really scratched up or show damage

  • – Buy long white curtains from IKEA and change all curtains to matching white curtains (I believe they are $9.99 for two panels)

  • – Fix any nicks, cracks, or holes in the walls. Repaint if needed. Neutral paint colors only: such as beige, cream, or light grey. Pale blues and sage greens are good for bathrooms

  • – Remove all personal photos and any personalized items such as wall hangings, picture frames

  • – Remove all valuables including jewelry, prescription drugs and password protect all computers to prevent identity theft

  • – Make sure all light bulbs are working and place the highest wattage bulbs you can safely place in each lighting fixture. Add lamps to any rooms without adequate lighting

  • – Declutter, declutter, declutter. Your home should no longer look like a home. It should look like a hotel or model home. Remember, it is no longer your home! It’s now the buyer’s home.

  • – Each room should only have one purpose. If you use your dining room as an office and a dining room, remove the office items and put them in storage

  • – Closets and cabinets should NOT look full. They should look organized and have empty space

Living Room

  • – Remove excess and oversized furniture. Remember, the less furniture the better.

  • – Rearrange furniture to maximize space. Consider pulling furniture away from the walls.

  • – Furniture should be arranged in groupings with a rug anchoring the area.

  • – Make sure the fireplace is clean and have a chimney sweep clean it

Dining Room

  • – Push all chairs in and set the table

  • – Consider fresh flowers for the middle of the table or a nice candle

  • – If you have more than 4 – 6 chairs put the additional chairs in storage

  • – Remove anything from the dining room that is not food/eating-related


  • – Remove everything but one or two items from the counters

  • – Pack away most of your dishes and cookware. Get down to the minimum. This gives the appearance of more space

  • – Scrub tile, backsplash, counters, and the inside of the oven

  • – Organize the inside of your cabinets and pantry – discard or donate any food items that you are not going to use. Makes the storage look more useful

  • – Clean and organize your fridge. Don’t forget to wipe down the top of your fridge

  • – Clean the inside of the microwave

  • – Replace old caulking around sinks

  • – Remove stains from sinks

  • – Hang fresh towels

  • – Change outdated cabinet hardware and make sure it all matches

  • – If the kitchen cabinets are outdated consider painting them white or grey to modernize them


  • – Clear your office desk of all paperwork and personal items

  • – Remove anything with your name on it or any other personal information

  • – Password protect any computers

  • – Put away all bills, valuables, checkbooks, passports, etc. Consider putting these items in a safety deposit box until your home is sold


  • – Buy new white bath and hand towels which are only put out for showings

  • – Take everything off counters except a plant or apothecary jars filled with Q-tips, cotton balls, etc.

  • – Clean out and organize bathroom cabinet

  • – Buy a portable shower caddy and put anything on the counter you use in it such as your toothbrush, makeup, etc. Put it under the sink before each showing

  • – Scrub tiles and consider regrouting the shower if needed

  • – Replace old caulking around sinks and bathtubs.

  • – Remove stains from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.

  • – Keep toilet seat lids closed for showings

  • – Thoroughly scrub the shower door or consider a new shower curtain


  • – Make beds before showings

  • – Put away everything on dressers/nightstands except a few books, an alarm clock, and a lamp

  • – Organize your closet so that there is one inch of space between each hanging item and so the shelves aren’t full. Store out-of-season clothes

  • – Laundry hampers should be hidden in the closet out of sight


  • – Have a place to hide pet beds, litter boxes, toys, and food containers during showings

  • – Arrangements should be made for pets to be out of the home during showings


  • – Put away all toys

  • – Hide anything with your child’s name or date of birth on it

  • – Put away all photos of your child

Exterior and Garage (if applicable)

  • – Paint the home’s exterior if needed, including trim, doors, and shutters

  • – Check front door, doorbell, address number and put out a welcome mat

  • – Clean siding and windows – many people power wash

  • – Inspect the roof and make repairs as needed

  • – Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.

  • – Sweep the entryway and walkways.

  • – Mow, water, and fertilize the lawn

  • – Plant colorful flowers and shrubs

  • – Store any toys or equipment lying in the yard

  • – Clean up pet droppings.

  • – Clean the gutters and downspouts.

  • – Organize the garage – Make it so you can see at least 1/2 of the garage. Buyers need/want to see if their cars will fit in


  • – Hire a chimney sweep

  • – Have the outside of windows and your screens professionally cleaned

  • – Have your furnace and AC tuned up

  • – Change air filters

  • – Maintain clean drains by adding a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.

  • – Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Washington State you are required to have a CO2 detector on each level of the home and next to any bedrooms

  • – Check windows and doors for weather-tightness and install weather stripping where it’s needed.

  • – Have furnace professionally serviced. Replace air filters. I well-maintained furnace is a sign of a well-maintained home

Remember, Your Home Is No Longer Your Home

It’s Now The Future Buyer’s Home!

Give me a call if you have any questions! 253-988-8252

Quick Link to:  Step 2 – Professional Photography