Real Estate

There are several tried and true methods to improving your home’s appeal on the market, like removing clutter.

Courtesy Photo

Many people collect, store up and reorganize things they have received or purchased during their travels on this great place we call Earth.

Too often, however, we tend to let things sit, collecting dust, and not really have a true and meaningful purpose, except to bring back a memory of something or someone.   We sometimes habitually purchase things we believe will have a use for down the road. This all too often causes clutter. 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines clutter as “to fill or cover with many things, to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness, a crowded or disordered collection of things.”

If you are getting ready to sell your home, or not happy with the current look or feel, consider looking at your clutter.  Clutter can mean something different for every person.  For example, I look at the desk in my office and see several piles of files. I made the mistake of purchasing a desk I outgrew after two days, which resulted in a look of clutter. Even though I know what is in those piles, I know that for me to feel better when I enter my home office it should be clutter free—so I can work freely and with ease and enjoyment.  Same holds true for a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and dining room. Does your eating area have clutter?  If you have magazines and bills sitting at the table, consider organizing them in a neat area someplace in the house that you can have easy access to and not in the kitchen, dining or social area. Have respectful places for everything.  

Living in the desert can pose problems, with few basements.  We swapped the basement storage for garage storage in the desert. Look at your garage and see what you are holding onto that could easily be given to someone that will use it. The flow of how you live daily will make a huge impact on your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. If you have a feeling that you may have too much stuff, I urge you to seek a trusted friend or professional who can guide you through the process of removing items from the home. The freedom will be such a joy for you and loved ones. You may fall in love with your house all over again and decide not to move.

However, if you are serious about moving, you will need to take some good advice from a realtor and his/her support team, such as stagers.

In meeting with Jennifer Kmet, interior designer, stager, and owner of Stage Tucson, we discussed the areas of change needed. When selling a home, Kmet and I agreed that the first and foremost action is to depersonalize. This means removing personal photographs and memorabilia throughout the house. When a home is listed, you do not want the potential buyer to only remember the photos or lifestyle the person shared through these objects.   

Visual clutter is another area that needs to be looked at, according to Kmet. Visual clutter can be as problematic as personal things. You may have a beautiful, well decorated and furnished home, filled with art collections. It will be very difficult for people to move their eyes past the beautiful furnishings and focus on the floor plan and finishes of the house. When a potential buyer leaves, they may only remember the house for the artwork collection and not the style of the house. Remember, you are selling a product and not a showcase of personal belongings. If you are not ready emotionally to sell, hold off until you know you can move forward.

If your home is stylized to a certain period of time or look, this will require some toning down. For example, if your theme is southwest, you will want to balance that with other period pieces that would allow the home to be more balanced. Stylization does not receive the best showings or online presence through photography. By making some minor changes, your property will draw to a bigger audience, according to Kmet.

When you have seriously decided to put your home on the market, prioritize what is and is not important to you. Make a checklist of items that you must have for the future. This includes clothing.   Remember, your home will show much better with clean, organized closets.  

When your house is on the market and you have a showing,  five rules of thumb are good lighting, keeping the toilet seats down, depersonalizing, decluttering, make the beds daily and staying away from strong cooking scents that permeate the home. Position your home to look its best!

Next month, we look at third quarter statistics, trends and what is selling.

Deborah Van De Putte is a Licensed Realtor with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.  She can be reached at 282.1111 or

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