Serving Brookings, Flandreau, Volga, Arlington, Aurora, Elkton, and surrounding areas.

Declutter your home for sale.

Here’s some general “decluttering” tips in preparing your home for sale. Some of these tips may not apply, or may apply more for when the house is being shown, or might be seasonal or contingent upon the weather, but it’s a good place to start as you prepare to list your property:


  • Doors are often dusty or darkened by mildew. Wash with chlorine bleach or paint the front door.
  • Add pots of flowers on the porch if weather permits.
  • Dried wreaths can be used in winter.
  • Buy a new welcome mat if yours is worn.
  • Make sure the yard is mowed and edged, and remove any clutter from the yard.
  • Mulch is inexpensive (about $2.00 per bag), and does wonders for garden areas, especially in winter when plants are thin.
  • Trim shrubs. Never allow shrubs to cover windows. This looks overgrown and blocks light.
  • Coil hoses and place any tools inside the garage.
  • Find a place to store extra cars or boats – other than the front of your house!
  • Too many flowerpots look cluttered – use a few large clay pots with good plants.
  • Never have empty pots sitting around.

Living areas

  • Lots of personal collections and photographs are wonderful to have, but are distracting for buyers. We don’t want them to get hung up looking at your collections.
  • A few decorator items or framed photographs on tables are fine, but reduce these to just a few nice items.
  • If you have lots of hunting trophies, these should be removed. They can be overwhelming in a small room, and may bother some buyers.
  • Large potted plants often take up too much space. Only allow a few healthy plants inside the house.
  • You don’t need to keep every piece of furniture in the house during marketing. Store some in the garage. Rooms should be sparsely furnished to appear larger and lighter.
  • Generally, large pieces of equipment – drums, telescopes, exercise equipment, etc. – should be stored in the garage.
  • Make sure that furniture does not block windows or doorways.
  • As you look at each room allow one or two elements to be the focal point: wood floors, a lovely bed, a view, a table with flowers, etc.
  • Bookshelves sometimes need work. Make sure they are not overloaded.
  • Place books so that the backs are even. Lay some books horizontally, and leave open space for art objects.


  • The kitchen is the heart of the home and plays an important part in attracting the heart of a buyer. This is an active area that usually needs special attention.
  • The cabinets must look good. They may need re-painting or varnishing.
  • Benjamin Moore Paints has a product called “Howard’s Restore-a-finish” that works wonders on scratched cabinets.
  • New cabinet pulls can “update” the room.
  • Remove purely functional items – such as baking pans, small appliances, vitamins, phone books, etc.
  • Do not have notes or photos on the refrigerator.
  • Clear the counter completely and then add back some special things.
  • Choose things that contribute to a warm, elegant, organized look that makes the buyer feel good.
  • Some examples are: Flowers, cookbooks, wine, nice dishes, designer cookware, new dishtowels, etc.
  • Often the area under the sink needs organizing and emptying out.
  • Never leave trash containers out in the kitchen.


  • Bathrooms contain many personal items which should not be displayed. You will give up some privacy during the marketing period.
  • Start by removing everything from the counters.
  • Remove any toilet brushes or cleaners.
  • Place items, which you use daily – toothbrush, soap, razors – in a plastic container, and put inside in a cabinet.
  • Put out fresh soaps, flowers and designer bath things.
  • Invest in new towels and fold them carefully.
  • Never leave medicines, money, jewelry, guns, men’s magazines, photos or other personal things lying around.


  • Bedrooms should appear restful and simplified.
  • Beds should be made up with your best covers.
  • Consider investing in new bedspreads if yours are worn.
  • A few books on bedside tables are attractive.
  • Bedside lamps should be turned on for showing.
  • In most cases, old curtains do more harm than good. Taken them down and clean the windows for a fresh look.
  • Children’s bedrooms usually need to be simplified by taking down posters and removing some stuff.


  • My priority is to focus on the main rooms of the house. After these are done, take a look at your closets.
  • Organize your pantry with everything facing forward.
  • Relieve some closets if they are stuffed. Get rid of stuff or start packing items that are not needed.
  • The laundry room often functions as a spill over room with miscellaneous items on the shelves. Simplify this, and have just a few soap boxes visible.
  • The garage can be used to store boxes or furniture.

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