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How To Use Decluttering For An Easy Sale


In the process of preparing her family home for sale, Tracey McLeod, founder of Presentation Sells, stumbles upon a home preparation technique that will work for many home sellers. Pack first then sell.

PS-Pack-First-Then-Sell-Junk-Room PS-Pack-First-Then-Sell-Bedroom

Caption (above): Before- Junk Room; After – Bedroom.

While preparing the family home for sale after my Mum passed away, we agreed to re-house the remaining family member before the sale, rather than after.

This allowed my sister to move to her new home together with her choice of the existing furniture. Yet it saved her living through the sale of the family home after the trauma of my Mum’s passing.

It made everything else in the preparation and presentation of the home for sale, easier.

PS Before - Rumpus Room packing

Before – Rumpus Room packing

Obviously, moving before you sell is not possible for everyone; but as a home stager, it gave me first-hand insight into why you would pack first then sell; even if you’re not moving out right away.

PS After - Rumpus Room packing

After – Rumpus Room packing

Packing items away before you sell, saves time and can help you to achieve top dollar.

What exactly do I mean by ‘packing’?

In this instance it means, ‘to pack goods in compact form, as for transportation or storage’, i.e. to pack up ready for moving. Usually our aim when selling real estate, is to sell sooner, rather than later.  

Decluttering has been a buzz word for a while and in it’s purest form is simply ‘prioritising and organising’. Over time, it’s meaning has become somewhat murky and can mean ‘to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications‘. This sounds like your life has become somehow ‘wrong’ and you now have to put it ‘right’. 

Research suggests that once a word’s meaning becomes negative, we react to it as if to physical pain. This pain association with the word actually makes doing the action, that much harder.

This may be why decluttering, which is suggested by many agents to their clients prior to selling, could be painful for some sellers and might actually stop them from properly presenting their homes and reaching top dollar. 

So let’s leave the negative connotations behind, and simply pack up as if we are preparing to go; which, of course, is what the home selling process is all about – moving on.

Moving On

Consider, could packing before you sell help keep your home show ready while it’s on the market? Could it save your sanity?

PS Pack first then sell - packing Boxes with family

Packing before you sell can help keep your home show ready

I understand that packing early in the pre-sale process can be hard to do. You may have no storage space in your garage (or no garage), or no family close by who can help. Plus, I’d imagine you don’t want to move things twice. In fact, there are a myriad of reasons why this is inconvenient or, even, painful.

I know found it really hard, even as a professional stylist, to get in and ‘declutter’ a lifetime of my Mum’s memories. This was made easier when the family realised that we could help my sister pack and move before selling.

The Business End

Get very clear from the start. What is your goal from selling? Are you aiming for top dollar? Packing with my sister gave my family a new focus and momentum.  Suddenly we weren’t fixing what was broken. Together, we were creating a new beginning.

If you can focus on three things:

  • New beginnings, 
  • Three months, and
  • Top dollar,

then you have the basis for a successful sale.

Your aim is to create a new beginning in three months by preparing and presenting your home for top dollar, so only keep everything you’ll need for proper home presentation and the personal use of your family members for that time. Having less to clean up every time the agent calls with an inspection, will save your sanity too. 

Your home’s age or what has happened in it, doesn’t define it. Buyers want to buy a bright shiny home, even if it happens to be twenty or more years old. 

For buyers, a top dollar real estate moment is memorable, and you can create it best when you pack first then sell.

PS. I did this yesterday… I had to pack up the garage to make room for filming home presentation videos for you. Actually, we were discarding a lot of stuff still in storage from my mum’s place. The same feelings came up.  For me it’s like a loss or sadness.

The first thing I have to do is lock everyone else in so that I can’t procrastinate. Jim, my go to guy for removals and home handiwork was my first call. The guy from the local camera store, who’s going to set up the lights, camera, action, was the second… And, of course, it’ll feel great once it’s all ready.

Remember, with packing then selling, you’re not getting it (the packing) done; you’re actually getting it (your home) ready to make way for the next wave of opportunities for you and your family. 

Still not sure? Here’s another couple of great reads to help you once you do pack first then sell:

12 Habits Of People Who Always Have A Clean Home

Easy Guides To Prep For Viewing In One Hour


Family Home (After): Light Art Media
Client Home: Caco Photography


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