Tips for Eliminating the Clutter

Dated: October 8 2018

Views: 160

Even if your home is kept tidy, decluttering your home is essential to getting it ready for not only the holidays but if you are selling, an 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.


Keeping your home clutter-free is an ongoing process, but during the time your home is on the market, 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. Don’t forget when you donate things to get a receipt for the tax deduction! 


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


You don’t have to spend a fortune at the Container Store (although I love that store!) After you’ve removed items you’re no longer using, keep your belongings in storage containers so everything has its place, inexpensive items to use could 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.


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.


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 potential buyers don’t want to see what kind of deodorant you use! 


This is a great tip in general even if you aren’t moving. 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. The best piece of advice I ever received is handle it once.


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.


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.  Keep only what you use or enjoy.  Everything else is clutter.

“Have nothing in your house 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 me for one-on-one guidance.

Color can be highly personal, especially when it lines the walls of your home! Poring over paint chips when trying to choose wall colors can be one of the best parts of moving into or freshening up your home – it can also be the most frustrating. With so many choices, finishes, and combinations, where do you start? The good news is that choosing a paint color can and should be fun…and relatively painless, too! Here are seven things to consider before you start painting:


If you’re starting with a blank slate but aren’t sure where to start adding color, experiment in a small bathroom or hall area first. If you’re doing the painting yourself, try to choose an area you’ll be able to complete in a day or two so you can assess and enjoy the results sooner.

To begin, pick one of your favorite colors, or look for some inspiration from a painting or piece of furniture. Purchase a small test can for your color of choice (or even a few test cans with different colors) and apply the paint in the room you’ll be painting. Let it sit for a few days if you’re not sure how you feel about it before using the same color elsewhere in your home.


While you might love that fiery red accent wall in your living room, new homebuyers might not feel so hot about it. If you’re planning on selling your home within the next year or so, you might want to consider sticking to a fairly neutral color palette. Big, bright, and bold color statements might turn potential buyers off. If neutral walls just aren’t your style, try using that bold color in a bathroom or focusing that bold color into your room accessories that might be more easily adjusted for staging.


It’s easier to choose a paint color that goes with the furniture you already have than it is to paint your walls first. While searching for décor, it’s okay to aim for a selection of colors you already have in mind, but attempts for an exact match can get pricey. If you’re aiming for a cohesive look and simply cannot budge on your wall color of choice, find a swatch from your local home improvement store and bring it with you while you shop — you may find furniture of a similar shade that you like better!

If you’re having a tough time coordinating major furniture pieces, try using neutral tones and wield your power colors in the form of accents.


Consider your walls as planes of color, and take note of how they interact as your gaze may catch more than one room at a time. Start by walking around your home and observing the colors you see as you turn each corner. While selecting paint colors, think about how each will flow from room to room and what your home will look like in full.


Pairing with the first consideration of starting small and testing first, observe your paint at different times of day and consider where the light is coming from. You may find that you love a color on a sunny afternoon but, when the sun sets, it turns a bit gloomy. Keep in mind these lighting effects:

  • Natural daylight will show your color in its truest form.
  • Incandescent lighting brings out yellows and warm tones.
  • Fluorescent lighting will cast a bluish tone.

This means that a bold color might feel overpowering when used on all walls or next to a window, but it might actually look perfect when used as an accent wall with more indirect light.


Do you want your dining room to feel bright and stimulating, or would you rather it feel more formal and subdued? Warmer, contrasting, and somewhat brighter colors add to a stimulating ambiance, while deeper blue-greens and neutrals will create a more formal feeling.

Would you like your bedroom to feel peaceful and soothing, or vivid and warm? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a more soothing feel; stronger colors create more drama.

Regardless of your taste or style preference, be sure to make a conscious decision and remember that the purpose of the room should also match the feeling your paint evokes.


If you want to mask any structural flaws or unevenness, use a paint with as little sheen as possible. Likewise, you’ll want to consider a different sheen for ceilings and baseboards, too. Here are some guidelines for the different finish choices:

  • Flat (Matte) – No shine and works great for ceilings and low traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms
  • Flat – Has almost no shine but is a little easier to clean than flat paint. This is also a good choice for low traffic and if you have kids or pets.
  • Eggshell – Has a tiny bit of shine and is perfect for moderate traffic areas like living rooms.
  • Satin – Has a bit more shine and works in high traffic areas that are prone to mess or have moisture like kitchens and bathrooms
  • Semi-gloss – Shiny but not like a high-gloss. Use this for cabinets and trim, or in really high moisture areas.
  • Hi-Gloss – The shiniest of them all. This finish gives an almost glass-like finish and is perfect for high use surfaces (like a railing) or furniture.

These seven essential considerations will help guide you throughout the painting process, but be sure to check in with your local realty expert for extra tips, tricks, and resources (especially if you plan to sell your home soon)!

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Betsy Taylor

I am a Montgomery County, Maryland Realtor specializing in the Gaithersburg, Rockville, North Potomac and Germantown areas. Having lived in Montgomery County for over 25+ years, I understand the mark....

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