One of the fastest ways to raise the value of your home is to clean it. We all like to think that our home is clean and pristine, but if you can look with a critical eye, you may be surprised what you see. At first the job might appear daunting but it’s like eating a two-pound Porterhouse steak, one bite at a time. A cluttered room tells the buyer that this is a small space likely not large enough for their belongings.


Let’s start with the basics:

One room at a time

One room, one day at a time. This breaks the job down into manageable pieces. Many professional organizers mark out three categories: KEEP, DONATE and JUNK. The key to this is commitment. You must be dedicated to getting rid of stuff. If you put it in the JUNK category, it is going in the garbage.

Create storage space in furniture

Things like ottomans can create storage space for books and toys and be functional and look great at the same time.

Too many rugs spoil the flow

Rugs are great on chilly mornings but too many can cause confusion when the buyer views the property. The eye follows the direction given and having too many directions, i.e. rugs pointing different ways, is confusing. The buyer can walk away with that “I-don’t-know-what-it-was,-but-I-didn’t-like-that-house-for-some-reason” feeling. As a rule of thumb, only one rug per room and only if needed. You can not legally use a rug to cover up a problem.

Cables and zip ties and cords, oh my!

Get them organized. There are many low cost solutions out there. Go to your local computer store and get organized.

It’s a multiple remote world

Find a way to organize your remote controls so that they are not spread all over your coffee table. Get a nice decorative bowl or a stylish box you picked up at the craft market.

How many purses do you need?

The answer is a few. You also need keys and dog leashes and all kinds of other things that get in the way. Hooks are a great way to keep items off the floors or countertops and behind closed doors.

It’s a closet, not a turkey

A fully stuffed turkey is great, a fully stuffed closet, not so much. Depending on the season, probably half your closet contents could be in storage. Keep closet contents to a minimum. Fold things and put them in drawers or plastic tubs then neatly stack those out of the way. An over-full closet tells a buyer that closet, and storage space is at a minimum here.

But it’s my favourite book

Okay, you can keep that one, but the rest need to go. Take them to storage, take them to the used bookstore, take them to the local lending library. Wherever, just get rid of them. Same goes for magazines. Are you really going to read that Elle magazine from November 2010 again?

Use clean up as an excuse to throw stuff away

Every time you clean the house, challenge yourself to find five items that you don’t need and can either throw away or donate.

Find storage space

For example, underneath a desk there is a lot of unused space. A few neatly stacked boxes will fit there and not take up space in an open area.

Make the bed

That is kind of obvious. Buyers love neat and organized.

Selling your home can be difficult whether you’re using professional help or doing it yourself. Fewer items mean less work and create the illusion of increased size. Don’t be afraid to hire professionals. Cleaners and organizers may cost you a few hundred dollars each but they are worth double or triple their weight in gold.

Good luck with your de-cluttering.