11 Declutter Tips for an Open House

11 Declutter Tips for an Open House

  • Betsy Phillips
  • 07/21/22

There's no doubt about it: it's critical to declutter, clean and organize every room in your house before potential buyers do a walk-through. They won't be shy about opening every drawer and closet in your home, so it's time to clear those spaces out. 

While cleaning and organizing every room in your home may feel overwhelming, professionals have come up with helpful tips and tricks to make the process less stressful and go more smoothly.

How to declutter your home

See below to learn the 11 decluttering ideas that professional organizers recommend:


1. Set a timeline and weekly goal 

Before getting started, figure out how much you need to do each day and week to be ready to go to market and have your first open house. Experts recommend planning everything out on a whiteboard or bulletin board in a common area to make it visible for you and your family. Crossing out to-do items from the board is a great way to stay organized and feel a sense of accomplishment throughout the process. 

2. Starting small can ease you into the process

Where to start? You may be completely overwhelmed by how much clutter you have, but you're not alone. In fact, 54% of Americans are overwhelmed with clutter, and 78% don't know what to do with it. Breathe in, breathe out, and start with small areas! Experts recommend starting with a single drawer, closet or kitchen cabinet to get the process started. It's a less daunting first task and will make you feel encouraged and ready to tackle more.

3. Allocate a little time each day 

You can wear yourself out quickly by tackling this large project in a short period. Spreading it out and doing a little each day for a few months can make the process much smoother and less stressful.

4. Label everything "Keep, toss, donate or sell" 

It’s time to purge your unnecessary items so your home can look clean, fresh and spacious. You should have three or four categorized piles when you're going through the process – keep, toss, donate or sell. 

Ask yourself what items are necessary to take to your new home, and get rid of the rest. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or hosting a garage sale are great ways to sell furniture and household items.

5. Go room by room 

Tackling multiple areas at once is not feasible. Give yourself ample time (at least a few months) to go through every room in your house and clear it out. 

Give your family or friends a room to work on to lessen the burden. For example, if you have grown-up kids, have them come over to declutter their childhood bedrooms.

6. Take before and after photos 

Decluttering can be a long, taxing process, so it's satisfying to track your results with before and after photos. You can give yourself a sense of achievement and motivation to keep going by comparing the progress you’ve made.

7. Invest in storage organizers 

Once you've figured out what you're keeping, it's time to organize it. The key to organizing is having storage solutions. Think sturdy storage bins for under beds, closets, cabinets and the pantry.

Invest in more decorative baskets and cabinets for flat surfaces and more visible areas. For example, find an attractive basket to put all your living room blankets in, and a coffee table organizer to place coffee table books, candles, and whatever else is on that surface.

8. Have one decluttering room

Sorting through all these items can quickly create piles of clutter in your house, which can cause even more anxiety. Having one room with your "keep, toss, sell or donate” piles can condense the clutter to one area, so it's not widespread throughout your home.

9. Prioritize the entryway 

While you're going room to room, don't forget what will appeal to potential buyers  when they enter your home: a nice entryway! Make sure to declutter this area, get fresh storage entryway tables or baskets to make the home feel spacious (or have your home stager handle this), and spruce up the space with plants or flowers.

10. Un-decorate

When potential home buyers walk through your home, they want to envision themselves and their family living there, and it can be difficult to do that if your photos and memories are everywhere they look. It's time to de-personalize your home and make it neutral, so pack up the family photos and other personal memories hanging on walls and surfaces.

11. Make it fun! 

While decluttering can seem tedious, it doesn't have to be. Like any other chore, you can make it fun by putting on your favorite music or podcast, or coming up with fun games with people helping you. For example, if you have family to help declutter, make a game to see who can clear out their assigned room the fastest. Whoever wins gets a reward.


While it can feel overwhelming to begin decluttering and prepping to sell your home, there are ways to streamline and organize the process so it's not so scary. You might even have fun, and you'll feel like a weight is off your shoulders once your home is clutter-free. 

To learn more on what to keep in mind when selling your home, or to contact a reputable real estate agent who can sell your home, visit betsyphillipsrealtor.com.

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