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7 Tips for Decluttering as You Prepare to Sell Your Home

If you’re preparing for a PCS move and need to declutter to get ready to put your house on the market, we’ve got the tips you need to make it happen. These ideas can help you quickly tackle the task of thinning things out, so you can start spending your free time daydreaming about your next duty station, instead of sifting through your closets!


  1. Prepare some boxes or bins to help you sort and carry out the clutter. You’ll need one box or bin each for trash, recycling, and things you can donate, and you’ll possibly need another box for items you intend to sell. You may also want to have a laundry hamper or extra bin handy so you can collect anything that is out of its place as you go along and then easily tote all those things to a more appropriate location.


  1. Take a photo of each room. This step can help you look at a space objectively, and you can circle anything that pops out as clutter. Sometimes, when you’re standing in a room and turning around in circles, it’s hard to focus in on just one place to start. The photo technique allows you to step back and look at the overall “big picture” view. (Plus, you can view a space as a potential home buyer might see it during a walkthrough or in an online real estate listing.)


  1. Set a timer. If you have little time to spend on the decluttering process, keep things manageable by setting a timer for just 10-15 minutes and seeing what you can knock out while you’re in a particular room. Creating a sense of urgency can help you tackle a space and make to-stay-or-not-to-stay decisions more objectively. Knowing that you’re not devoting all day to decluttering may give you just the motivational spark that you need to get started on a 15-minute speed-decluttering mission.


  1. Make it a game. If you have school-aged kids who love to help, set them off on a scavenger hunt to collect all framed family photos and then bring them to the dining table for wrapping and packing. Or, make decluttering a game by seeing who can fill their bucket first with 10 no-longer-needed items to donate.


  1. Enlist a friend. If your spouse is deployed or you just need an honest second opinion to help you decide what needs to stay or go, now is the time to call that friend who loves to help and who isn’t afraid to tell you “the truth” (if you know what we mean).


  1. Keep your next living situation and location in mind. If you know where you’re moving to next, then you probably have a good idea of whether you need to keep all of your winter snow sports gear or if you can pare down to just one heavy coat—saving more room for your snorkel gear in that future closet! If you’re moving overseas, you may not want to bring all of your small household appliances with you if they will require a power converter to run them.


  1. Prioritize big-ticket spaces. If you’re still feeling generally overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering a whole house, start by just focusing on the rooms that are the biggest “selling points” for a typical home buyer. For example, the kitchen, master bedroom/bath, front entryway, or home office may be great places to focus your initial efforts as you get ready to put your house up for sale. If there’s something in these spaces that you don’t “love,” now’s your chance to let it go. If you haven’t used something in six months or a year (or since you moved in), it’s probably time to donate it.


You’ve totally got this! Now, go grab some bags or boxes, and set a timer—or call your helpful truth-telling friend and schedule a coffee date so you can “declutter-a-latte” (declutter a lot, eh)!