Cutting out the clutter

When it comes to selling homes there is plenty of advice, plus tips and tricks available to make sure you are ahead of the game.
Having a mortgage in principle, a solicitor assigned, and the removal company on standby ready to leap into action once you have a date to move, are all great to have in place.
But one of the best things you can do, even before listing your home, is to de-clutter it.
Clutter – the word that brings many of us out in a cold sweat just thinking about.
But it’s something we are all guilty of at some point in our lives – whether you’ve still got your books from school, college or uni, have kept all your kids’ baby clothes, or pictures they did at nursery and school, or whether it’s an out-of-control mug collection, the list is sometimes endless.
Before too long you realise your house is bursting at the seams and the space you live in, isn’t as big as you thought and there is a distinct lack of storage.
For those who can’t bear to throw anything away there is always the option of a storage facility, but that costs money and so for most of us, the question we need to ask is: “If we had to leave the house in a hurry, what would we not want to leave behind”.
In one recent episode of the TV show Love It Or List It, Kirstie Allsopp put a family, with years of accumulated stuff, to the test by putting a series of boxes in the garden – labelled keep, charity, recycle, bin, sell – with strict instructions to find a box for everything in the house.
This is a tactic that is well worth adopting as for the family concerned, the results were astonishing and really forced them to think about what they actually needed.
To do it properly, it is best to go through each room in turn and be ruthless. If you’ve not used it in six months, do you need it?
If the answer is no, which it probably is, get rid. You will be surprised at the amount of stuff you can lose and not only will the house feel less full, it will make it easier to move around and you will feel better for it. The old adage tidy house, tidy mind is very true.
Obviously, there will be some things for sentimental reasons that you can’t bear to part with but by adopting a strict, taking no prisoners attitude, you can strip your home of all that is unnecessary and keep the things that mean the most or are the most useful and used.
Remember also, people who come to see your home once it’s listed, will want to see a lifestyle – something they can aspire to or, at the very least, see themselves living in that space. They won’t be able to if they can’t see past your possessions.
Even if it’s for no other reason than to save a few quid on removal costs – don’t forget companies charge on the amount of belongings they move – it really does pay to free yourself from things you don’t need. So, what are you waiting for?!