Clean + De-clutter = SOLD!

September has always been the start of a new year for me. Unlike January and new year resolutions, the weather is more civilized so you can set goals and create action plans to get things done. I’m ready to get back into a routine that includes cleaning and editing.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. A clean, organized home feels good and if your home is on the market, clean sells homes. Everyone has degrees of what is acceptable or even qualifies as clean. The reality is this: you may be able to tolerate your own unkempt home and let things go but no one can stand someone else’s uncleanliness. In fact, it is a big turn off.

Degrees of Cleanliness:


It is simple. It is either clean or it is not. There is either light dust or tumbleweeds. It is either odorless or stinky. A clean house does not smell.

Cynthia Warner of Keller Williams Realty in Chester says, “Unpleasant odors tell buyers that the deal stinks. Heavy floral deodorizers can be just as offensive. I remember showing a nice house where they tried to hide the existence of numerous cats with heavily scented air fresheners. It was a relief to get outside”.

Degrees of Clutter:

Clutter is another issue. There are the minimalists who keep things neat and tidy without excess. Then there are the maximalists that can run the gamete of a few stray items scattered through the house to the pack rat to the hoarder who can’t throw anything out. Over the years, we all accumulate stuff.

  • Life clutter: items that pile up from the daily mail, kid’s homework, magazines, books, etc. Any items entering the home including new purchases.
  • “I’ll deal with it later” pile: this has the potential to grow in corners or an entire room.
  • “I may need this” items can take a life of its own and consume your whole house.

Penny Mires says, “I’m on the looking side of Real Estate right now and my first thought is if the homeowner couldn’t even clean or tidy up, what is going on behind the walls. It gives me an uneasy feeling”.

Part of the staging process of preparing a home for sale is cleaning and de-cluttering. In an occupied staging, where the homeowner is still living in the house while it is on the market, staging showcases your house, not your life. This will allow a potential homebuyer to connect to your house.

When staging a house for a client, furniture and items may get moved or edited and accessories and furniture may be added to appeal to the target market. No matter how pretty it looks, the layers of dust and dirt whether on the surface, stains carpet or dirty windows is not going to help sell.


The beauty of a vacant staging, whether the homeowner moved out, new construction or investment property is that it adds the lifestyle to the house without all of the life minutiae. The potential homebuyer can easily connect to the house and mentally and emotionally move in. Once a buyer emotionally makes the connection, the house is sold.