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If you’re thinking of moving, you’ve probably heard the advice from real estate agentsdeclutter house
and stagers to cut down on clutter to appeal to potential buyers. It’s easier for someone new to imagine living in your home if they don’t have to look past crammed corners and closets. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming to think about paring things down.

Here are five steps that can help make the process more manageable, efficient and, perhaps even fun. Plus, simplifying now will make moving that much easier.

  1. Start small & choose one area at a time. If you attempt to organize your entire home in a day, you’ll end up fatigued and frustrated. Instead, choose one area to focus on, like your linen closet. Decide whether you want to save, donate or toss your towels, sheets and blankets. You’re building up your minimalizing muscle as you move on to categories with more sentimental value.
  2. Phone a friend to help declutter. Having a hard time deciding what should stay and what should go? Invite someone who can bring some objectivity to the situation as you sort through your wardrobe. Be honest about what you wear and what you don’t. Round out the afternoon by delivering your donations to your charity of choice. That will keep you from second-guessing all your hard work.
  3. Rent a dumpster. Consider renting a dumpster to help you as you sort through clutter, room by room. They’re also handy for disposing of remodeling materials you may have accumulated over the years – old carpets, extra tile, broken items from around the house. Pitch anything that is broken or no longer usable.
  4. Deal with electronics and hazardous materials. Look for special collection days in your area for electronics, including old computers and video game systems. Make sure you wipe data off of old hard drives and phones before disposing of them. Hazardous material collections are a good place for old paint, thermometers and other chemicals.
  5. Edit each room from the buyer’s perspective. After the hard work of organizing and decluttering room by room, approach each area from the perspective of a buyer. Pack away knick knacks, photographs and other items that distract from the space itself. If you miss having them around, you can choose to bring them with you when you move. If not, you’ll know you’re ready to say goodbye.

These five steps will have you well on your way to a decluttered house that will be more attractive to prospective buyers. Now you’re ready to start thinking about staging your home.

This article originally published on Travelers.com

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