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by | Oct 24, 2016 | Housing Trends |

Have you been putting off calling your real estate agent because your house it too cluttered to list? Don’t stress the mess! It doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you want to sell your home or just declutter for your peace of mind, it can be accomplished easily if you follow a simple process and tackle small amounts at a time.

I’m sure you have heard of the “Keep, Toss, Sell or Donate” method of decluttering. This method is great for weeding through what you do and don’t need, and it is what I recommend. However, a quick little catch phrase doesn’t quite get it done without some guidance. Plus, getting ready to list requires an extra step in that equation… “Keep, but pack and store”.

Get those boxes and let’s get to work!

Sort It

  • Only do what you can FULLY complete in a session. Don’t start on the kid’s toy room if you only have 15 minutes! Start with the coat closet if that’s all the time you have.
  • Work quickly. The first pass through any area should not take more than 30 minutes. Make quick decisions and if there is a question about something put it in the “keep” pile to be dealt with later in the process.

Deal With It

  • Once the initial sort is completed, throw the “toss” pile in the garbage right away. Anything being donated should be placed in your vehicle and delivered to the charity donation spot of your choice on your next trip out of the house. Plan ahead and call to see if the charity of your choice offers free pick up of donated items. If you have something worth selling (my rule of thumb is that if it’s worth more than $25 it MAY be worth trying to sell), immediately take a picture and post it on Ebay, Facebook, and/or Craigslist. The bottom line is don’t let it sit; get it out of your way!
"Before" Picture

Find a Home For It

  • After you rid the space of the unwanted items you can set to work dealing with the “keep” pile. For each item that was questionable, ask yourself if you’ve used in the last 6 months or if you see yourself using it in the next two months. If the answer is no, then re-consider letting it go.  If the answer is yes, then find a logical and organized home for it. Put like items together, place small items in containers and label them, and anything decorative that you aren’t putting out can be set aside in a cabinet or closet for staging or decorating purposes. If you are listing, once the house is staged or decorated the way you want it, you’ll want to pack up the extras for storage.

Pack and Store It

  • The next step is keep, but also pack and store. Try to pare down as much as possible in this step if you are planning to sell. You want to have room in the closets and on shelves. Your home needs to look like there is plenty of storage space. Don’t over crowd the storage areas.
"After" Picture
  • The current state of the market, list price and location of your house, and a number of other factors play into the length of time your home could be listed on the market. Therefore, you will need to consult with your real estate agent and have realistic expectations about how long you may be storing these items. Anything you need to keep but can live without for that time needs to be placed in a box to go into storage right away. Go ahead and pack those boxes and set them aside. Get them to the storage location as soon as you can.

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About Amber Johnson.

Amber Johnson is a full-time sales associate of the Fonville Morisey Realty Stonehenge office.

Prior to her career in real estate, Amber spent over 15 years in the relocation industry as a professional home unpacking and set-up specialist. She decided to expand her passion for helping people create their ideal home spaces by becoming a real estate agent. She also holds a paralegal degree and is a trained mediator.

She enjoys to do volunteer work with Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children  and Relay for Life.

Amber is a member of the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Fonville Morisey Realty has 11 sales offices, with over 850 associates and employees throughout the Greater Triangle region.  FM offers mortgage, insurance, property management, title services, real estate education courses and relocation services through its divisions and partners. For more information about Fonville Morisey Realty, visit