Even if your home is kept tidy, decluttering your home is essential to getting it ready for your open house and for showings.

When potential homebuyers are shown your home, they can easily become overwhelmed and distracted by visual clutter. Here are eight easy ways to eliminate the mess and make your home show-ready.

1) Get rid of stuff you don’t need.

Keeping your home clutter-free is an ongoing process, but during this important time you’ll need to remove things you’re not using. Go through every room in your home, one at time and sort into piles:

  1. Sell – move into storage bins during showings or have a garage sale
  2. Donate – load up the car right away and donate it
  3. Trash – take it right to the curb

If you’re having trouble deciding, sometimes it’s helpful to ask yourself, “If I was in a store right now, would I buy this?” If the answer is no – let someone else enjoy it, or toss it.

2) Consider furniture with hidden storage solutions.

Decorative storage trunks that double as guest seating and beds with built-in drawers are smart long-term investments.

3) Invest in inexpensive storage containers.

After you’ve removed items you’re no longer using, keep your belongings in storage containers so everything has its place. These can be as simple as baskets for magazines, blankets or pillows, media boxes for electronics and cords, or plastic bins for seasonal items that you can store in your attic, garage, or basement.

4) Use storage systems.

Keeping shoes in a hanging shoe rack in a foyer or bedroom closet, and hanging bags in the closet are a great way keeps your floors clear of clutter. Same goes for closets – you can find some inexpensive hanging systems to hold foldable items and keep them out of sight.

5) Keep counters clear.

In the kitchen, keep small kitchen appliances like toasters and coffee makers stowed when you’re not using them to show off your home’s abundant counter space. In the bathroom, keep personal items in baskets or cabinets and completely out of sight.

6) Handle mail right away.

Don’t let mail or magazines pile up. Go through the new mail when it arrives, sort and throw away anything you don’t need right away. Use a simple filing system for mail and papers you’ll need or take photos of items with your smartphone and toss them right away.

7) Start a basket system.

Designate a basket for each person in your family and, as you’re decluttering, drop each family member’s items into their basket and have them put items away at the end of every day. You can keep these baskets on the stairs or under an entryway bench.

8) Make decluttering an ongoing activity.

Decluttering shouldn’t only happen before an open house. Keep your home fresh and clutter-free all year long by using some simple tricks like throwing out five items every time you clean a room, tossing or donating old clothes every time you buy something new, and filling a bag to donate every week. Being mindful of new items you bring into your home will also help maximize your decluttering efforts.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ – William Morris

Looking for more homeowner tips? Check out the blog and reach out to your local realty expert for one-on-one guidance.