Selling your home in 2021? 3 must-do decluttering steps

There’s nothing like the idea of moving to make it oh-so-much easier to let go of all that clutter!

One of the first things a realtor will tell you is to clean and declutter before moving.

Home buyers want large spacious rooms and decluttering is the fastest and easiest way to achieve that impression – no renovations needed!


Here are 3 steps to take if you want to declutter and stage your home for sale.

STEP 1: Remove all personal items.

This includes:

  • family photos
  • large collections on display (think knick-knacks, )
  • unusual decor

When you take our personality out of your home, you leave room for the buyer to imagine herself living there. And that’s what you want!

It’s the difference between being a guest in someone’s home and being at a well-appointed vacation home.  If you’re someone’s guest, you may feel welcome and at ease but you’re still not quite “at home.” When you’re in a decluttered vacation home, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy it like it’s your own.

STEP 2: Remove excess and worn furniture

You want to remove any furniture that’s crowding your rooms and anything that’s not in excellent shape. Think banged up corners, worn or torn fabric, old and tired throw pillows and blankets, etc.

This may feel like an extreme measure but it’s completely worth it.

For one thing, taking out extra furniture instantly makes your home look larger. Big win! Buyers aren’t going to miss those extra side tables or coffee table.

They won’t want seating for 10 in the family room.

Plus, if your furniture is on the older side, it’s not putting your home in the best light. And as unfair as it sounds, a buyer may look at the banged up coffee table and assume that your home itself hasn’t been well taken care of.

You definitely don’t want to set off any red flags like that!

When you take out as much furniture as possible, you might think the room looks empty. But your buyer will look at the same room and think it has tons of possibility! All their stuff will fit! So don’t stress if you feel a room is a bit empty.

STEP 3: Declutter all your other stuff!

The way I see it, you can either declutter the unnecessary stuff NOW or you can spend time, energy and MONEY to move it and continue NOT to use it. You may have held on to the old worn furniture or that old sport equipment for years. But when you think of packing, loading and unpacking ALL THAT STUFF, there’s a switch in your head that gets flipped that makes it suddenly seem very attractive to let it go.

And the price of that clutter starts to become a whole lot more obvious.

When you declutter your home, it’ll look fresh and clean to your buyer.

Be ruthless! It’s just as easy to declutter something as it is to pack it up (easier, in fact).

Switch your thinking from, “I might need this” to “I probably won’t need this.

You want to have clear or almost clear surfaces (tables, counters, etc.) Now’s the time to tackle that mountain of paperwork! (For a great start, see our free lesson the first step to managing your paperwork here.)

Clear everything off the fridge!

Tidy up the toys and straighten your garage.

Don’t forget to declutter inside of cupboards, closets and drawers! Buyers look behind doors, too. And if they see cupboards and closets overflowing with stuff, they’ll conclude that your home doesn’t have enough storage. Not a good impression!

I am getting ready to list our home for sale.

I thought we were pretty well decluttered. But now that I’m looking at our home with a buyer’s eye, I’ve found so many different things that I’m willing to declutter!

In the past month, I’ve decluttered:

  • a loveseat
  • a recliner
  • a coffee table
  • more clothes
  • boxes and boxes of books
  • an upright piano (that was a doozy!)
  • a patio table and umbrella
  • … and I’m just getting started!

Decluttered Home Tour!

I recently did a home tour of our first floor sharing the things we did to declutter there. Take a look and get some ideas about how to declutter your home to sell.

Are you decluttering so you can sell your home in 2021? What are your favorite tips?

Related articles: 

100+ Things to declutter before you move

Decluttered Kitchen Counters Before and After

Decluttering sentimental items

Want to take the next step toward decluttering your home for sale?

The Step-by-Step Decluttering Workshop will give you all the info you need to get your home ready and have buyers in a bidding war.

Learn more about the Step-by-Step Decluttering Workshop




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3 thoughts on “Selling your home in 2021? 3 must-do decluttering steps”

    • I don’t know yet – we need to put this one on the market and then we’ll figure out our next move. Probably about 2200 sq ft, maybe smaller.

  1. We are planning on putting our house on the market in April and have started de-cluttering and it’s amazing how much more spacious your home looks without a bunch of “stuff”! Great tips!


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Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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