Clutter Can Cost You

By Jennifer Lynn Walker

When selling a home many people get caught up in the stress and forget they are selling a product. The marketing of a home goes much further than social media and newspaper ads. Presentation plays a major role.

Buying a home is an emotional process

Once a buyer has established their ideal location, budget, and needs, they start visits with those criteria in mind. But once they enter a home, the biggest factor in their decision is not rational. In the end, the most critical factor for buyers is how the home makes them feel. And that’s where clutter plays a crucial role in the selling process.

Pay attention to what you are feeling next time you walk into someone’s home that is clean, bright, and clutter free. Chance are, you’ll be relaxed and calm, ready to look around. Visually, a clutter-free home is expansive with possibility. Without peoples’ personal possessions lying around, you have the space to imagine how you might live there.

On the other hand, a home that is dark and full of clutter is likely to produce anxiety, sometimes to a point where you feel like an intruder.

How to make homes sell faster is more information if you want to dive deeper.

Clutter is both visual and physical

Clutter is not only visual, it’s also physical. As a buyer, if you have to squeeze yourself around furniture or be careful not to bump into a table or brush up against the paintings on the walls, your concentrating on navigating the space rather than connecting with the house and experiencing its true value.

Buyers don’t typically come prepared with measurements of their belongings when they tour a house. But most can’t help but start thinking about where they’d put their own belongings in the space. They tend to eye-ball each and every room, deciding if it’s large enough. When a room is crammed with furniture and knick-knacks, it appears much smaller.


No more than necessary in each room

A simple guideline for staging your home is that each room should be equipped with what is necessary and no more. For example, a bedroom should have a bed, two night-tables, and a dresser. A living room should have a couch, chair, side table and coffee table. A dining room should have a table, chairs comfortably tucked in, and possibly a buffet. Each layout should have ample flow for a group to walk in and out.

Of course, a larger room can hold more, however be careful not to stuff it. Empty space is good. As long as you are showing what each area is used for, you’re doing a great job.

Showcase the home, not your possessions

Potential buyers need to feel they are entering a dream home, not a second-hand store. As much as you may love your stuff, not everyone will feel the same way about it.

You are moving anyway, so start boxing up all your stuff before you put your house up for sale. If you are downsizing, this is a good time to give away the furniture you don’t need. Pack up all your knick-knacks, photos, candles, religious symbols, and other treasures. If you can’t yet move them to your new home, boxes can be stored in an organized fashion in the garage or you can rent an extra storage container and park it in your driveway.

It’s natural to feel resistant to this whole process. And yes, it’s going to feel bare in your home until you sell. But that’s the point. The upside is worth it. Your house will probably sell faster and make you more money.


Real Estate Broker & Educator

Jennifer Lynn Walker has specialized in buying and selling both residential and multiplex properties since 2003. She’s built a strong network of specialist, to give her clients a seamless experience throughout the real estate journey. Founder of Montreal Real Estate Investor’s Group, and Jolly Green Homes.  How can I help you today?


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