Read any Top 10 list of things to do to prepare your house for sale and “Get rid of the clutter” is sure to be on it.
But how important is cleaning up really? Does your home have to look immaculate, like it’s been torn from the page of a decorating magazine? Can’t the average buyer look past a little clutter and see the value of your home for what it really is?
The answer lies in psychology.
Clutter – a disorganized garage, an overstuffed closet, a disheveled basement – can make people feel uneasy and even edgy. In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, clutter was even linked to depression.
In addition, clutter can create a feeling of hesitancy, even inertia. “At the sight of clutter people shut down,” says organization expert Cathy Philips. “They don’t want to do anything”. But you want a home buyer to do something – make you an offer!
Clutter can also draw attention to the wrong things. Instead of a big double garage, for instance, a buyer’s attention may be focused instead on boxes, lawn equipment and bikes piled in the corner. Clutter can instantly turn a great selling point into a turnoff.
And if all that isn’t enough, clutter has the knack for making everything seem smaller. A big spacious closet can look downright claustrophobic when stuffed to the ceiling with shoes, clothes and boxes.
So don’t underestimate the psychology of clutter. According to research by HomeGain, getting rid of clutter ranks as one of the best investments you can make in preparing your home for sale, averaging a 594% return on your investment.
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