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  • Lisa Kroese

5 Tips on Clearing Clutter Before a Sale

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Getting a home ready to sell for top dollar can require some extra time and effort. The work can literally pay off when it results in higher transaction prices and greater demand from buyers. Every home is unique and some homes benefit from extra attention before listing. Most of us don't live in the HGTV dream home or have full time maids to pick up after our kids and spouses.


If you have a house with a lot of accumulation or if you are overwhelmed by how spotless staged investor homes are, I am here to help solve clutter and staging problems for you at every step of the way.


As someone who has worked at liquidating and valuing personal property since the late 1990s, I have seen it all. Whether you have high end collections of art and museum worthy heirlooms, a full blown hoarder house, or just too much to tackle alone, I am here to help. Here are my top five tips for decluttering your real estate:


Consider professional liquidation experts

Determine what the family will keep and schedule pick up deadlines

Donate items that cannot be sold or are unwanted

Hold a garage sale and/or sell online

Box up clutter and either put it in storage or keep it in a garage or shed


Consider Professional Liquidation Experts


While a family might want to conduct their own estate sale, or might think that they have to go through the property independently - sometimes the task is just too large. Most families have their own work and personal schedules. Setting up and organizing an estate sale can be a full time job for a team of between 2 and 5 people for either days or weeks. An estate seller can often tackle the work much more efficiently because they have staging and organizing expertise - and for them each item is not a memory that might set them back, they can work faster and save a lot of time resulting in bringing a home onto the market much faster. There is a lot of competition in the liquidation industry, professional liquidators should have insurance, experience, and dedicated followers. Make sure you speak with them and interview companies long before you need your estate sale - the best liquidation experts will book up fast, especially during peak selling seasons.


Determine what the family will keep and schedule pick up deadlines


If your family is downsizing and distributing personal property to heirs, it is important to make plans to move the items out on a schedule. Often people will say they want large items, but they might not realistically be able to move or house bulky items. It is not ideal to show your home with taste specific heirlooms that will detract from the real estate. Bulky items can also impose on the space and make rooms seem smaller than they would if they were either empty or appropriately staged.


Donate items that cannot be sold or are not needed


Charities can be booked for weeks in advance too. Either schedule donation pick ups ahead of time, or plan to box and deliver items by hand. Charities have the right to refuse taking items they don't need or have space for. They are not always the one stop solution that many people envision. If you are planning on a tax deduction, you might need an independent appraisal for your donation if the value exceeds certain IRS limits. Make sure to get your donation receipts to take advantage of any charitable giving at tax time.


Hold a garage sale or sell boxed lots online


Garage sales can be a good way to clear out without having to box and bag things for charities. Items do have to be organized and displayed but for a garage or yard sale setting this can often be done in just a week or over a weekend. If there are family and friends that can pitch in, this can be a quick solution for low value items that might be cutting a home. You can also group items and sell them in box lots on facebook and through other apps like Nextdoor, and OfferUp


Box up clutter and put it in storage


If items are valuable, storage sheds and garages are not usually climate controlled, so use care and consideration when opting for those quick solutions. Climate controlled storage is required for valuables or items that are subject to damage from temperature fluctuations or humidity extremes. Some services will come and pick up clutter and then redeliver items later. Professional movers can also help with packing and storage solutions.



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DRE 02095749

John Mark Real Estate

125 North Marengo Avenue

Pasadena, California 91101

©2019 by Lisa Kroese.