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De-clutter to sell your home

Recent statistics on the housing market have not exactly been encouraging. According to Land Registry figures, between 2006/7 and 2008/9 house sales fell by approximately fifty percent in England and Wales and figures and comments for Scotland indicate a similar picture. This is a fall from which the housing market is still struggling to recover. There have been fluctuations during 2010 and early 2011 but it is fair to say that the housing market is still relatively flat. A report in May 2011 from the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) indicated a little more optimism as first quarter enquiries had increased but price expectations remained weak across the UK.

So, amid all this doom and gloom what can you do to improve your chances of selling your home for the price you want within a reasonable time scale? Staging your home for sale is not a new concept but it is something which many people find difficult to do. After all, this is your home not a marketing suite. Why should you have to strip it of everything which makes it a home?

Why home stage your property?

  • It helps you think like a buyer
  • De-cluttering and organising in advance of moving can save on removal costs
  • You can set your home above similar houses
  • Your home appears more attractive, light and spacious, and
  • You can maximise the price achieved from the sale.

Don't forget

Make your plans and implement them before the estate agents come to value the property. Estate agents are human beings too and can also be negatively influenced by a cluttered and disorganised space. Your agents will find it so much easier to sell your property if they are enthusiastic about it from the outset.

Getting started

I cannot recommend highly enough the use of a clipboard and pen in this initial stage. It puts you firmly in control and gives you a more business like edge, the business being, to profitably sell your property. Start outside at the front of the house and then work your way around and through it room by room, noting the following:

Anything which needs repairing, for example:

  • Exteriors - broken fences, damaged paving/decking, windows, woodwork or render, garden weeds, untrimmed hedges
  • Interiors - plaster, peeling wallpaper, dripping taps, broken locks, wobbly shelves
  • Areas which look cramped or unsightly. Really scrutinise the property and try to view it objectively, if something has been annoying you for days, weeks or months, then be assured that your potential buyers will notice it too. Don't ignore the piles of children's toys.
  • Nasty niffs and not so spotless areas. We all clean regularly but it is even more important when selling your property, everything must be fresh and spotless. If cleaning isn't your forte consider getting a cleaner to do a deep clean for you, you'll probably make the money back when you sell your property for that great price.

Next steps


Using the list, decide whether they are things you or your partner can tackle or whether you need to bring in a professional. If you are going to tackle it yourself, agree who will do what and by when. If you need a professional ask friends and neighbours for recommendations or try the free listing sites, many now have a referrals facility built into them. Which? has a service called Which?Local to search for reputable local trades or services. Make the call and get any trades in immediately for quotes or repairs, start the process now.

2. De-clutter and organise

You should have identified areas which need attention in the first exercise but here are a few tips on things to look out for.

  • Ensure doors open freely and fully, clear any clutter or move items of furniture
  • Store out of season coats/shoes in empty suitcases, it will save having to pack them later
  • Remove excess furniture completely, to another room (if space allows) to a friend's house or garage or to storage
  • Tackle the toys. Start by collecting all the toys into one room, work with your child/children and explain what is happening and why, sort out the broken and irreparable toys, agree those which are outgrown (offer to have a garage sale/car boot and raise money for new ones in the new home), encourage your child to select their favourites and store the remainder in clearly labelled boxes
  • Remove clutter from surfaces both general clutter (keys/coins/papers) and some ornaments. Pick your favourite vase and centre it rather than having lots of smaller pieces. Pack the rest away in boxes ready for the move.
  • Ensure cupboards in kitchens, bathrooms, under stairs and hall are reasonably tidy, these are areas your potential buyers will want to look into
  • Draw all curtains and blinds fully, let in as much light as possible. This may mean a daily foray into your teenagers room but some things just have to be done! Remove net curtains where possible, unless they are masking an unsightly view
  • Don't be afraid to re-arrange furniture to give an open view and show as much floor space as possible, this is just for a limited period
  • In the kitchen put away, or pack away, infrequently used appliances.
3. Clean, clean, clean

Everything needs to be fresh.

  • Have the windows cleaned, inside and out
  • Give each room and area a good old-fashioned spring clean, including paintwork, ceilings and lampshades
  • Clear away animal bedding or at least give it a good wash and air. Ensure any feeding stations are clean and tidy
  • Clean carpets if necessary, get them cleaned professionally if particularly stained
  • Open windows and let the fresh air in
  • Make up beds with ironed bedding and keep them made, nothing makes a bedroom look untidy faster than an unmade bed.

There, that's it. If you struggle with getting started try to view these preparations for the move as an opportunity to start living as you want to live; unencumbered by bits of your life which are no longer relevant. Looked at like that, prepping your home for a sale becomes an opportunity not a chore.

So, pick up a clip board and pen and get started on selling your home by de-cluttering and organising, it really isn't difficult once you know where to start.

(Editor's comment. I would like to personally thank Tricia Petri-Clark of Your Home Organiser for allowing me to use content from her own article on How to prepare your property for a successful sale.)


20% discount for APDO members on 'Creating Space' workshop

Your APDO team has been in discussions with Life Clubs about possible joint ventures so watch this space for future news. In the meantime they have a workshop planned w/c 27th June on 'Creating Space'. Click on the link above to check out their website. (Life Clubs help to build social and emotional intelligence and communication and body language skills by developing personal insight, awareness and perspectives. Using concepts from Coaching, Positive Psychology, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, NLP, Relationship Training and Changing Limiting Beliefs; Life Clubs is a self-empowering programme to create optimal personal change.)

To claim your 20% discount, type in the code WOCS2011 when purchasing a week's pass for the week of 27th June.

NB: You can use the discount on any of the Clubs; click here to find the nearest one to you

Orvention 2011

This years Orvention conference is taking place on the 7th October at De Reehorst Conference Centre in Ede, Netherlands. The 2011 topic centres on the future and all its new possibilities with guest speaker Susan Lannis. See the Orvention website for further details (click on the union jack top right corner to get the English translation).

Regional News

This month we take a more detailed look at the offering of some of our colleagues from the Midlands.


My name is Helen Rowlinson, owner of interiOrganise, based in Shropshire - 07710 499272. Having worked in television styling and design, lived in large and small houses with three daughters, I know how to help with every stage of cleaning up your life! I specialise in decluttering your home, finding storage solutions and re-styling your wardrobe. Additionally I provide a home staging service when you are on the move. I have recently helped a client develop a new wardrobe purchasing strategy, spending just four hours sorting clothing into seasons, categories and colours and removing items from past lifestyles. A truly energising experience!

Well Organised

I am Isi Dixon, based in Nottingham, and most of my clients are local health practitioners in the widest sense. I've worked with osteopaths, physiotherapists, psychologists, and many more. I specialise in organising home offices, but have done projects "at work" as well. Most clients want me to re-organise their desks and filing systems, helping them to increase their productivity. This often also includes help with time management. I have also just released my first e-Book "Get Twice As Much Done In Half The Time" which is available via my website or on Amazon (Kindle edition).

Home Stylers Limited

As a senior consultant and trainer on Ann Maurice's House Doctor Network, I have de-cluttered and styled many homes with TV's House Doctor. I also trained in de-cluttering with Dawna Walter, from "Life Laundry", and Davina Mackail, the 'healthier home expert'.

I offer numerous services relating to home organisation, including de-cluttering, home staging and makeovers, whether you simply need advice or prefer hands-on, practical help.

I am professional, friendly, considerate and offer good value for money - please visit my website or call for a chat - I promise to change your life forever!

Diggory Lifestyles

Do you want more free time? Would you prefer to find things in minutes rather than days? How about creating storage space you never knew you had? Or have systems and processes to help you run the home or office more efficiently? If you answered yes to any of these questions then call me, Dee, to enjoy the refreshing experience of a life Dee-cluttered! For something a bit special, a treat or a gift, we have teamed up Image Consultants and interior designers to offer you premier packages exclusive to Diggory clients.

Finished and Fantastic

A friendly, dynamic and reliable East Midlands based service providing de-cluttering and home styling services. Whether selling, renting or staying where you are we can help. Preparing properties for sale or rent - verbal walk through assessments and written assessments available as well as practical support. 'Moving in' and 'Shopping' services available. Working with people who have been bereaved/divorced or separated who want to sort out spaces or possessions. Working with those who may be downsizing or moving to a care home or just sorting and organising paperwork

Happy De-cluttering and Organising!

The APDO team

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