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decluttering foyerWhat is clutter?

When a real estate agent or a home stager says, you need to do some decluttering. What does that mean exactly? Well it can mean a lot of different things to different people. Clutter is “a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.” As a homeowner, you need to get rid of this untidy mess. So where do you have clutter? Clutter can be a stack of papers sitting on a table. It could be multiple bottles of makeup or hair care products on the bathroom counter. It can be a stack of toys sitting in the corner. To some people that is how they are organized, but to others it is clutter. Decluttering is to “remove unnecessary items from an overcrowded place”.

Collection of things

A collection of plates, trains, or toys is also considered clutter. The plates may be hung on the wall but it makes the room feel “cluttered”. A collection of dolls also falls into the same category. If you have more than 3-5 things in a cluster, it is clutter. It makes a room feel busy when in reality you need to make it feel calm and soothing. Too much furniture in a room or too many plants is also clutter. Well then you ask yourself, what do I do with the clutter?

Get rid of it

Donate it, sell it or throw it out. Each item in your home should have a place, whether it is part of a dish set or bookshelf. It is ok to have some open spaces or corners in your room. Don’t feel tempted that you have to fill in every nook and cranny. Certain donation places will pick up your stuff, all you have to do is call. Plus this will also reduce the amount you have to pack up anyway when you move out. If you still want to keep some items, then store it off the property, not in the garage. Clutter only makes the buyer think there isn’t enough storage in the house which may or may not be true.

Decluttering isn’t home staging

Now that you have donated, sold or thrown out your things, now what? Decluttering is only the first phase of home staging. Much like when a woman puts on makeup, foundation is put on first before eyeshadow, mascara, blush and lipstick that help finish the look. Decluttering is like the makeup foundation you need to do first before tackling the rest of the home. Once the clutter is gone, you can see what is left. You may need to rearrange the furniture, update the color in the room, and make it feel like a home. Home staging is the second phase where you add the “rest of the makeup” to the room with color, furniture layout and accessories.
Home staging is the second phase where you add the "rest of the makeup" to the room with color, furniture layout and accessories.

Case in point

If someone told you to declutter the room pictured below left, you would probably get rid of the extra shoes, coats and take everything off the table. Once you have done that, the bench and desk would stay in the same spot but all you did was clean it up. Not very inspiring and the room now looks blah. Now you have to finish the look and make it look like a room which is supposed to be a foyer. decluttering beforedecluttering after             As a home stager, some furniture would stay while other pieces would be brought in. Colors and texture as well as function have to be considered to create a space that buyers will fall in love with. In the second picture (above right), I removed the desk and put it in another room, brought in a cabinet to hide the shoes, added color with a rug, art and pillow and rearranged the room. This is finishing the look and making the room look more inviting and is the second staging part of the process. So while some real estate agents will say, all you have to do is declutter, there is more to it than that. Once you have a solid foundation, you have to complete the look. A home stager is someone who can transform your home and make it more marketable. If you have any questions or need help putting on the “rest of the makeup”, please give me a call.