A clean neat house can add an additional $5,000 to $10,000 to your asking price. As soon as you find out that you are moving, start getting rid of things you don't need or use any more. It is ridiculous to move things that are never used to another house. They will merely clutter your space as they did before. Get rid of all of it!
To begin de-cluttering, start with one room or one cabinet at a time. Packing while carrying out your usual routine may make it easier. For example, pack the bathroom cabinet while the kids are in the tub or de-clutter a kitchen drawer while you are waiting for something to boil. You will be amazed how fast this method goes.
Get rid of anything that is broken, old or that you just don't like. Hold a garage sale. It not only eliminates things but can also provide a little cash. The goal is to eliminate clutter so don't price your items to high! A good rule of thumb is 10% to 25% of retail.
As you go from room to room de-cluttering, organize using three boxes: one for garage sale items, one for things to give away and one for trash. When you take a break from organizing, keep the three boxes set up in the utility room or garage so that when you find something laying around you can toss it in the appropriate box.
Keep an extra large trash can set up in the house. You won t have to empty the trash as often.
When you are trying to sell your house and you will be showing it to potential buyers, pack up things that you only use occasionally. Stack all your packed boxes in the garage or the corner of a room. This is NOT the time to make your house comfortable for you, but attractive to sell.
After you have de-cluttered, it is time to deep clean.
Kitchen - Clean the sink, stove and refrigerator. Don't forget to clean the fronts of your cabinets. Wipe fingerprints off of everything, including walls and light switch plates. Remove as much as you can from the counter tops. Make sure that the space under your kitchen sink is clean because everyone always checks the plumbing under the sink. Sweep, mop the floor and empty the trash.
Bedrooms - Make beds, pick up clothes, clear off dressers, end tables and other furniture. Dust, vacuum and make sure closets are uncluttered, neat and clean.
Bathroom - Put away (meaning in a box or drawer out of site) all bathroom items including makeup, shampoos, baby toys and toiletries. Clean the sink, tub and toilet. One trick I learned while cleaning houses professionally was to take a soft cloth and dry everything well, to prevent water spots. It is especially important to shine the metal fixtures. Clean under the sink, empty the trash and wipe off light switch plates. Mop the floor. As in the kitchen, the less clutter you have, the better. Keep one nice set of towels handy that you can put out when you are showing the house.
Living Room - Remove all unnecessary items that are laying around on the furniture including toys, magazines and newspapers. Remove all pictures and accessories that are not adding to the decor of the room, either pack them or garage sale them. Dust (don't forget to dust the pictures on the walls) and vacuum.
Garage - Don't overlook the garage! Make sure things are neatly placed and sweep the floor. Place all items in boxes if you can. Neatly stacked boxes give a better impression than piles of stuff.
Continue going through each room using the same basic ideas.
If your carpets are dirty, be sure to either rent a carpet cleaner or have them professionally cleaned. Seeing all kinds of carpet stains from kids is a big turn off to potential buyers.
Showing Your House
Keep a basket in each room so that you can quickly throw things in it when you have to show your home. This is particularly useful if you have children and you usually have toys on the floor. Hide the basket with a nice blanket.
Don't leave open trash cans sitting around.
Turn lights on in every room including the garage. This will make the house show better.
In a potpourri pot or pan, simmer some cinnamon with either or all of the following: ginger, nutmeg, or cloves. It is best to stay away from strong scented candles with berry, apple, peach or other similar smells because some people find these scents overpowering and unpleasant. Most people do however like the smell of cinnamon.
If Your House is Vacant
Take a few small terra cotta pots and fill with 2 or 3 stems of silk geraniums. (Geraniums aren't necessarily my favorite flowers, but the bright red color works great for this purpose). Place them in several different corners of the house. Keep a couple on the kitchen counter, one on the back of the toilet, or counter in the bathroom, a corner of the living room or on the mantle of the fireplace.
Place a bouquet of real looking silk flowers and small bowl of potpourri in your entryway for people to see when they first walk in. First impressions are very important.
Tawra Kellam is the author of Moving On A Dime: Save Time, Save Your Sanity. In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year. For more free tips, visit her web site at www.LivingOnADime.com.
Take the Next Step
Sign up for our free weekly eNewsletter Surviving Tough Times.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.