• Marie Bateson

Decluttering Before a House Move

If you are thinking of putting your house on the market or already have and are not getting much interest, look around, is it cluttered? Try and see it through the eyes of a viewer.

Where do you start? First impressions are key so it is essential to have KERB APPEAL.

Clean the front door and paint it if necessary. Clear away leaves and rubbish that may have blown in. Cut hedges, repair walls and fences, paint fences and cut the grass. Weed and tidy borders.

If you haven't got a front garden maybe add a couple of pots of spring flowers or small trees. These can be bought really cheaply but most importantly keep it clean and clear.

Often bins and recycling boxes are on view, can you make them less obvious?


If you have a hall make sure it is welcoming and clear. There is nothing worse than climbing over things or getting a whiff of discarded trainers. If it's dark, turn on the light or a nice lamp before the viewers arrive. It must smell nice, not overpowering but fresh. The whole house should and if the weather permits open the windows for a while before the viewing. Don't let the house feel cold though, close them and freshen in good time.

Clear shoes, maybe invest in a few baskets. You wont want to spend a lot before you move so think about getting something that will be usable wherever you go.

Clear mail and bags. If you have coats on wall hooks or a stand, try and thin these out. keep them seasonal.

If there is an under stair cupboard tidy this out too as the viewer is bound to open it. You do not want a prospective buyer to think that there is not enough storage space. This also applies throughout the house.


Remove access furniture. Store it with a friend or family member if you are sure you will need it again or sell/donate it.

Too much clutter and large collections of photos, ornaments etc make the viewer see a smaller space. Again this applies around the whole house. They could think you are trying to cover up areas that need repair. Depersonalise a little. I don't think you need to take every photo away like some organisers recommend, it should look homely and lived in just not messy.

Plump up cushions and if you are a large family consider sending some of them out so that the visitors can see past them. Dogs can be a little off putting too so you might want to have someone take your beloved pet for a walk.

On the subject of pets, remove litter trays and pet beds if you can.


The kitchen can be a decision maker. Windowsills and worktops should be as clear as possible. Do not let the viewer think there is no where to put their appliances. For example,if you normally have the toaster out but only make toast once or twice a week put it in a cupboard. Don't go cooking cabbage the day of a viewing. The kitchen should be really clean and hygienic. Mend anything that needs a repair like a drawer front as those sort of things do get noticed.

The utility room shouldn't be piled high with washing. Put it in the washer and dryer if you are short of space.


Treat this as per the hallway. keep it clear.


Obviously make the beds. You would be surprised to learn that sellers don't always do this! I once viewed a property and the man of the house was in bed!!

If you're wardrobes are built in they will possibly get opened so don't let that prospective buyer get an avalanche fall out on them, have a clear out as it will also benefit you when you pack. Don't leave washing on the floor, put it in the laundry basket or utility room.

In the kids rooms sort and then tidy away toys and once again if necessary get a couple of inexpensive boxes or baskets if storage is an issue, it looks better than a pile on the floor. Make the bedrooms smell fresh.


If you have an office do your best to go through and file the paperwork. There is often quite a lot about when you plan to move, mortgage documents, banking, estate agents leaflets etc.

Maybe invest in some extra box or lever arch files. It needs to look like there is room to work in there.


The bathroom is very important. Anything that can go up should go up. The floor space must be as clear as possible. Discard the empty toilet roll inserts and shampoo bottles. Put out a nice towel and pick up and remove the extras.. The fittings must be clean and mirrors and taps shinning. If you don't have enough storage, put up a couple of shelves and add some small plastic boxes for the items then the shelves don't look immediately cluttered. Don't leave kids toys in the bottom of the bath, get a net or plastic box for them. It must smell nice of course.

If you have time, do a little work in the garage or shed. No one expects these to be perfectly organised but as long as the buyer can see the size then that should suffice. I think tackling the inside is far more pressing.

I hope this gives you a few pointers if you are on the move. If you want any help from me and are in the North West please get in touch.





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