Best Ways to Clean & Declutter Before Putting Your House up for Sale

Getting your home ready to sale

Alternative Titles:

  • Tips & Tricks for Cleaning & Decluttering Before Selling Your Home
  • Cleaning & Decluttering Before Selling Your House
Cleaning your home includes getting your yard ready for showings.


Selling your house without cleaning and decluttering isn’t an option, unfortunately. As daunting of a task as it may seem, it still has to be done. And, in order to sell your home in a timely fashion while maximizing its value, cleaning and decluttering has to be done just right.

The overall goal of getting your home to sell is to allow the buyer to envision their own family in your space. While a complete blank canvas of space can allow buyers minds’ to roam, a clean and purposeful space can help them focus their thoughts on exactly how they can turn your home into theirs’.

If you’re ready to put your house on the market, but you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to the cleaning and decluttering part, keep reading. I’ve got the tips and tricks to help you get this part out of the way, so you can sell your home.

Clean it All

Leave no surface left untouched. This is the scary part that can take a long time, but a deep clean is necessary. Start small, one room at a time, saving the biggest spaces to tackle on the weekends. Don’t forget to clean these areas during a deep clean:

  • Baseboards
  • Behind furniture
  • Hard to reach locations
  • Light fixtures
  • Handles and switches

Unfinished Surfaces

These guys are often forgotten about, since they don’t exactly stand out. But they still need to be tended to. Make sure to clear garage floors, patios, and basements floors of any unnecessary objects and give them a good sweeping.

Not only will this give these areas a little attention, but it will also give the buyer the idea that you’ve really taken care of your home over the years.

Pressure Wash

If you’ve never used a pressure washer, now’s your chance. The exterior of a home is another space that realtors note is often overlooked by sellers, but makes a huge difference in the overall curb appeal.

This is especially necessary for higher humidity climates, or areas that get a lot of rain since mold and moss can grow over time.

Pressure washing is not only a great cleaning method, but it’s also really satisfying.

Fabric & Upholstery

If you’re like me, you might catch a glimpse of your window treatments every now and again, and think “geez, I really need to wash those.” Don’t let potential home buyers realize this before you do. Wash all curtains and dust blinds.

Steam cleaning upholstered furniture, or at removing stains and vacuuming, is also an important step. Just make sure to do this far enough in advance to give your surfaces time to dry.

Organize Hidden and Forgotten Spaces

There are all kinds of spots in our homes, or at least mine, where I might temporarily home something until I find a better spot, only to have it become a permanent residence. Don’t forget about these little nooks and crannies in prepping for sale.

Closets and Drawers

Uncluttered closets help make the space look larger.


While it’s a little weird to think that someone will be looking through your drawers and closets, just know that it’s going to happen. You’ll want these areas to be organized and looking their best.

This is also an area where you can help your future self save some time when packing.

Heavy Traffic Spaces

The entryway and mudroom are two of the most used spaces in many homes. Since they’re always being used, they’re guilty of harboring messes that we often overlook. Put away piles of shoes and other things that might be unknowingly left in these areas.

Help Buyers Think… Without Thinking

Giving buyers an idea of how they can utilize different spaces is a great way to help them envision what life could be like in your space. It’s almost like giving buyers a little nudge in the right direction.

Remove Personal Items

Yes, these are what turns a house into a home. But remember, you’re wanting someone else to see this as their possible home. Family photos, monogrammed keepsakes, and other collectibles can prevent a buyer from being able to picture themselves as the future homeowners. And, down the road, this is one less thing you’ll have to pack.

And Unnecessary Items

This goes right along with putting away the personal touches that can inhibit a buyer’s perception of living in the home. Anything that’s not necessary to the overall purpose of the room (more on that in a minute), can be packed away. But, don’t seal the box quite yet.

Give Each Room a Purpose

Leaving a room completely empty can overwhelm a buyer with the possibilities of what could be. Making sure each of your rooms has a specific purpose will cut back on making them think too much.

Repurpose Some Decor

One way of providing an overall vision of each spaces’ purpose is to use some of that decor to create a little “vignette” in certain rooms or areas of the house. This is another way that buyers can be gently pushed to think of what they could be doing in your space. Use some of the decor you’ve packed up to help stage these areas.

Finishing Touches

Plants make the home more inviting and lived in.


Now that your home is clean and free of clutter, it’s almost ready for action. There are still just a few minor things to consider, before it’s completely ready.


There’s the whole issue of going “nose blind” to smells in our own home, but these can be a huge turn-off for potential buyers. Odors can come from anywhere in your home, although the oven, dishwasher, and microwaves are some of the usual suspects. Make sure to clean the air to remove smells, not just light candles or use diffusers to mask them.

Let the Sun Shine

Now open all those clean windows and pull back the freshly washed curtains. Homes with more natural light are considered more appealing to buyers, so let there be light. A little sunshine can brighten any space.

And just like that, you’ve completely cleaned and decluttered your home. With the right real estate agent, your home will be on the market and ready to be seen by all the potential buyers.

About the Author

Amy Anthony is a stay-at-home-mom of two who thrives on having a clean and organized home. You can find Amy teaching others how they can do the same with minimal effort on her blog Oh So Spotless.

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