The Importance of Decluttering and Creating Space Before Selling

You’ve probably heard it from your real estate agent or came across it in home staging blogs — that creating space before showing your home to potential buyers can be beneficial.  And creating space doesn’t just include taking all your furniture out.  It can also be strategically rearranging your stuff like:

  • Creating a focal point
  • Placing more oversized furniture against the walls (leaving the smaller ones in the middle)
  • Allowing at least a 30-inch distance between furniture (for large houses)
  • Retaining taller pieces (for small rooms) and;
  • Letting mirrors face walls instead of windows

Technically, in interior design, it’s called space planning. And it usually involves considering the expected traffic flow or pattern in each room of the house. But why is creating space essential before marketing a home? 

Buyers Don’t Get Distracted

In Psychology, they have what they call a “negative bias” in positive-negative asymmetry. This involves people reacting quickly and strongly to negative stimuli. Because of this, we tend to remember and dwell more on the bad experiences than the good ones. According to experts, this kind of inert behavior exists because when we are faced with negative experiences, we immediately try to make sense of them. We deliberately think about them because we want to ensure that we don’t experience them again. 

From a home selling perspective, creating space also means letting your buyer see the good things and not letting them get distracted by the bad stuff — clutter, dirt, the inability to move freely wherever you are in the house, etc.  Without space, your buyers may feel “restricted” — a feeling that could linger for a long time. When your buyer enters your home, you’d want to make them feel “free and unconstrained”, even if your home passes Netflix’s Tiny House Nation. 

Helps Home Buyers Imagine Their Own Take In Your Home

Not considering the visual benefits of aesthetics, personalizing a space can give people a sense of comfort, control, privacy, and security.   If you’re familiar with open/shared workspaces in companies, you might notice that employees put family pictures on their desk or any item that reminds them of a personal experience. Likewise, some homeowners adorn their gates or fences with their initials to convey their territory. These are clear examples of the emotional and psychological benefits of personalization. 

Creating empty spaces in your home can also stimulate this kind of emotional response from your buyers.  It doesn’t only allow them to get excited about the designs they can add but also get to feel that the space is already “theirs”.

Reveals Hidden Problems 

One might think that home staging only directly benefits buyers. But you, as a home seller, can directly benefit from it too. When you redo your layout, you might be able to see cracks, holes, and other parts of the home that has decayed over time.  This will, in turn, allow you to:

  • Decide whether to repair them first or not
  • Decide whether to call pest control first or not
  • Do a “fuller” disclosure of the house
  • Justify your maximum price reduction in case your buyer asks to lower it more

This is probably an excellent example of what they say, “when you create space in your life, you allow for better things to happen.” So if it seems too exhausting to rearrange your furniture, clean up, and make more room, just think that greater things are about to happen.  

Allows More Air In

Typically, oversized windows (natural) or forced-air systems (e.g., airconditioning) are installed for better ventilation. Not many realize that everything inside an indoor space also affects ventilation — layout, furniture size, heating activities such as cooking, and types of materials to name a few. The more you put away your stuff, the more space there is for air.  This basically follows the principle that where there is no solid or liquid, there is gas.

Additionally, if your house was built to accommodate cross ventilation, then your furniture should not obstruct any of the ventilation pathways. 

decluttering and creating space allows for proper cross ventilation
Source: Arch Daily

Although, if you have too much stuff you can’t get rid of or at least store away temporarily, you can rearrange them in such a way that they don’t completely block off major air entrances and exits. This includes keeping large furniture away from windows and using sheer curtains instead of the really thick ones.

Let’s Your Buyers Project Themselves In Your Home

Have you ever wondered why some photographs are acclaimed even when they don’t have a subject such as people, animals, or buildings?   That’s because people are still drawn to empty images. “Negative Space” often provokes a sense of mystery. According to neuroscientist Ed Vessel, space with traces of human activity allows people to think about what went on / what is going on in that space.  It enables people to mentally project themselves into the room and become a character of that story.

This is one of the reasons why real estate agents always recommend that you take out all your personal belongings (e.g., family photos).  The lesser items you have in your home or your listing photo, the more your viewer can have “space to project themselves in”.

If you need help creating more space inside your home, HomeSold GA can assist you with that.  We’ve been helping Georgia home seller prepare their homes for their target market for a long time, and we know how to connect with buyers so you can sell your house in the soonest time possible. Call us at 770-668-4888, or take a minute off to leave us with your contact information in the form below.

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