How tidy does your home need to be to sell it?

by Lea Emery on 8th April 2019

When you’re listing your home for sale, it’s a totally normal urge to just throw everything into the cupboard and under the bed and hope for the best. As long as it looks good in the photos, right? Well, the reality is actually a little more complicated. A recent survey of Housesimple's customers found that not only was cleanliness very important when looking at potential new homes — the vast majority of respondents said it was very important that it was neat and tidy — but that nearly 73 per cent of potential buyers would open up your cupboards and built-in storage when looking at your home.

That’s right, people are going through that dirty laundry. So how clean does your home have to be to sell it? Cleaner than you might think. Nine per cent of buyers even said that even if a property was perfect they still wouldn’t purchase it if it wasn’t neat and tidy. Here’s how to get your home clean enough to sell — because it’s time to clean out those cupboards.

  1. Don’t Overlook Dust

Sure, it’s tempting to just clean things out and put them back inside in a slightly more organised fashion, but if you’re going to have strangers looking in your cupboards, it’s time to deal with the dust. Use a duster — or even just a cloth with some soapy warm water — and get into those nooks and crannies. While you're at it, make sure to grab that dust that’s been gathering behind the sink, around the railings on your stairs, or anywhere else you haven't looked in a while. First impressions count — and you’d be surprised what weird things buyers won’t be able to overlook.

  1. Clear Out What You Don’t Need

It may be painful, but it’s true. Cupboards and built-in storage are where we normally stuff anything and everything — things we think we might need someday, things we definitely will get to soon, and everything we just can't deal with. Chances are that you don’t need everything in there — in fact, you probably don’t need most of it. So if you want your cupboards to look buyer-ready, clear out what you don’t need. Be swift, be brutal, be realistic that you don’t really need that tangle of electrical cords or manuals from 10 years ago.

  1. Use A Colour Or Item Theme

One of the best ways to get your cupboards and cabinets Insta-worthy (or at least buyer-ready) is to use a theme to organise. If you have a lot of different linens and clothes, try organising by colour, type, and finally by size. In the kitchen, you can be a little more creative — keep spices together, pasta together, and like with like, but you may also want to organise by different meals or cuisines. Having a coherent theme or colour scheme will add a comforting aesthetic and make space seem thought out.

  1. Divide And Conquer

If you feel like your cupboards are getting the best of you, try dividing up space. Using a cupboard organiser will help separate everything so you can actually see it and reach it — which is the whole point of staying organised, to begin with. If you want to make a little more of an investment, try adding shelves or drawers to cupboards that feel too large, then you’ll be able to really maximise the space (and maybe even save your sanity in the process).

  1. Keep The Most Common Items Handy

There’s no point in cleaning out your cupboards just to put your salt shaker at all the way at the back or your favourite sweater in the bottom of a drawer — you’ll just end up ruining all your good work when you empty things out to find the things you actually use. So be realistic. What do you use daily? A few times a week? Keep these basics accessible. Special occasion wear or spices you don’t use very often can take up space at the back — just make sure to reorganise again after you get them out.

It would be nice if we could brush all of our mess under the carpet (or into the back of the cupboard), but homebuyers have a more penetrating eye than you might think. Make sure to keep your cupboards clean and organised and remember that they’ll leave no stone left unturned. Even if you’re not naturally the most organised, this is the time to fake being the clean and tidy guru of your dreams — at least while the viewings take place. Then, you can breathe out.

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