Decluttering Your Home & Life in One Step

“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” – Wendell Berry


Many people find that there is simply not enough time in the day to stay on top of laundry, dishes, and “de-clutter” their home these days.  It seems as though many are simply overloaded with things to get done in a single day – especially if you have children.  When it comes time to sell, many home owners are forced to face the reality of having to get their home into “show room condition” and donate or get rid of things that have been taking up space in their home.  Why do we wait until this time to get the home repairs done or the updates to our home completed that have sat half-completed for the past few years?  Interestingly enough, there may be a psychology behind our clutter…

June Saruwatari, author of “Behind the Clutter” believes that there are many factors behind our rationale to keep those college text books from 1993, the sombrero that you bought in Mexico as a child, or the box of 102 CDs containing music that you already have downloaded onto your Iphone.  Saruwatari says that we hang onto objects that we do not need based on hope.  The dress that you wore to a friend’s wedding that no longer zips up is kept because you may hope that one day lose some weight and once again fit the dress (even though it may not even be in fashion now).  We also can justify holding onto to “things” longer because we tell ourselves that we might one day use them again.  The sombrero is a good example of this theory as it was brought to a Mexican-themed party after sitting gathering dust for 25+ years this summer, only to be so uncomfortable that no one at the party would wear it.  We stash things in closets, totes, storage rooms and try to ignore that these items may no longer serve a purpose in our lives.  We literally are paralyzed by fear or indecisiveness as to what the loss of this item might represent in our life – for no good reason.

A Japanese approach called “KonMari Method” proposes that we only keep items in our life that brings something positive to it.  Dealing with each object and asking yourself this question can prioritize what stuff we keep and what stuff we let go of.  Ask yourself if you love it, need it, or if it serves a purpose.  If the answer is “NO”, then get rid of it.  Even if the ice cream maker that has sat unopened in a box in your kitchen for 10 years actually makes ice cream, it may be time to let it go.

Why can we de-clutter our home when we decide to sell?  Once again, psychology may have a lot to do with our behavior.  When we decide to put our home up for sale, we no longer feel that love it, need it or serves a purpose.  We have decided to sell for many reasons, but we have accepted that the home is no longer “ours”.  We de-personalize a home to attract the highest number of potential buyers.  We complete the updates and repairs that we had been resistant to undertaking before deciding to sell because we can no longer avoid the reality that these items have to be rectified.   Most of my clients are surprised at how much they love their home again when they have de-cluttered their house.  They are reminded of the positive feelings that they may have had when they initially considered purchasing the home.

A study published in the Journal of Advertising Research in 2002 stated that “emotions can be twice as important as knowledge in consumer buying decisions”.  Because of this, our team offers our listing clients a free consultation with a home stager who can assist with de-cluttering a home, and helping to re-arrange furniture and accent pieces to create an emotional response from a buyer. So, the next time you decide to sell your home, take comfort in knowing that getting rid of that sombrero is actually a positive psychological step…and your family room will look nicer to potential buyers with it gone!

Brian & Myles McCullough – personal real estate corporation

P.S.  Thank you to our incredible clients for their recent Facebook post sharing their experience of working with our MMS Homes Team. 

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