By Caroline Bujold
When it comes to selling your property, a good decluttering session is usually in order. When you decide to sell, you have to understand that interested buyers will not look at your property as friends or family do. They won’t look at your decorating style as your quirky, fun side or know that your clutter is due to a crazy year at work. All they will see, or I should say feel, is if this space works for them or not.
Unfortunately, a lot of unrelated details make people feel like they could live in your space or not: paint colours, full to the rim or streamlined closets and cupboards or décore that they like or deem out-dated or tacky. All of which, of course, are not permanent and could be changed in a flash, but it can make or break your sale.
When you decide to sell, you must think like a buyer. You must become your own objective critic about your space and showcase your home, not your life.
It always amazes me how many possessions we accumulate, myself included. After a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I came back home and was a bit stunned by all the things I find necessary. Living with only the contents of my 40 litre backpack put things into perspective, since I had just been with people that lived with way less and seemed so very happy. We need far less than we think. And with that in mind, let’s talk about decluttering.
What clutter does to you
Wanting to move closer to downtown, my friend Denis had been trying to sell his condo for a while. His last realtor told him that his condo was too cluttered and didn’t attract offers from potential buyers. He was getting lots of visits, but very few offers. Denis took this advice to heart and started getting rid of furniture mostly, and digitizing movies so he could let go of his ample collection of DVDs. When I came onto the scene, the space didn’t feel jammed packed anymore, but Denis felt like he needed some help completing the process.
We had a look around and quickly realized that the closets and cupboards needed a makeover. The main space had been cleared out, but behind closed doors lurked clutter.
You see, when your closets and cupboards are overflowing:
- People will not think you have too much stuff; they will conclude that THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SPACE;
- You don’t see all your possessions. As a result you can end up spending money on items that you already own and can’t find, or you’ll spend money on bigger houses and storage spaces;
- It creates a lot of frustration and stress when you are looking for a particular item and can’t find it easily, repeatedly;
- And finally, you have no free space to attract the things / people / experiences that you want in our life.
I’m a firm believer that in order to attract what and who we want to be around, we have to have some “white space“ for it to materialize. If your life and space are stuffed with clutter, you constantly spend your time as if you’re hacking your way through the jungle.
‘’White space or negative space is the space between two objects, the space that is free from any object.’’
So on our first meeting, I simply went around Denis’ condo and gave him some homework in preparation for our big decluttering day:
- Decide which linens to keep, including sheets, towels, extra blankets, etc.;
- Separate winter clothes from summer clothes;
- Shred receipts and other papers you don’t need to keep.
Find out how we did in Denis’ condo in my next post.