Packing, Organizing and Storing

Now's the time to decide what to ditch, donate and store.
packing

Remove your clutter. Organize items into piles that can be thrown away, given away or stored. Too much furniture can make a room feel crowded, so consider storing some of your furniture until moving day.

Storing Items Off-Site:

  • Rent the smallest unit that your belongings require. If you need help, the storage facility or company can help.
  • Make sure to read the lease agreement and that you understand all polices regarding access, moving in and out, and payment before signing anything.

Storing Items at Home:

  • Don't pile everything in the garage or attic. These spaces should be uncluttered and spacious since buyers are sure to look over both areas.
  • Designate a couple of different "hidden" places where you can store all your packed boxes such as under the bed and inside filing cabinets.

Sorting and Packing

Packing up your extra stuff is a great opportunity to declutter–and decluttering is one of the experts' best tips for selling your home.

Items you should pack:

  • Personal items. Family photos, collections, knickknacks, and other personal items. You want potential buyers to see themselves in your home.
  • Out-of-season clothing.
  • Items not included in the sale like window treatments or built-in appliances: pack up these items immediately.
  • Seldom used items: appliances, table leaves, gadgets and personal care items. Check the garage for similar items.

Items you should throw away:

If it doesn't fit, is broken or not used, throw it out.

What to do with the rest:

Collect items that you need to return to friends or family.

Have a moving sale. People will come and haul away what you don't want. Also, some charities will pick up unwanted items (Note: be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes).

Take Inventory

After you've decided what items you want to keep, it's time to pack. Number the boxes and have a "cheat sheet" so you know what items are in each numbered box.

Take a room-by-room inventory, including original purchase price and year of purchase. Write down all of the serial numbers and model numbers of electronics. Take photos of each item or use a video camera to create a home inventory video.

Share your home inventory with your insurance agent. Store your inventory in a fireproof box or safety deposit box.

Staging Cabinets, Cupboards and Closets

Use home organization aides like storage containers and shelving to maximize storage and minimize the mess.

Use the following tips for a clutter-free house:

  • Neatly display all packaged food in your pantry.
  • Put medications and vitamins out of sight.
  • Clean out your refrigerator.
  • Neatly stack dishes and display glassware.
  • Neatly stack towels and sheets in your linen closet.
  • Organize your laundry room and make sure it smells great.
  • Put cleaning products out of sight.
  • Hang shirts together, ordered by color, and facing the same direction.
  • Line up shoes or use a hanging shoe organizer.

Storage “Don'ts”

Whether you store your possessions at your home or in a rental unit, be sure to follow these storage tips:

  • Don't store any perishable food items.
  • Don't cover your belongings with plastic. Plastic retains moisture, which can damage items.
  • Don't store any flammable or toxic substances.

If using a storage company, also be sure to follow these tips as well:

  • Don't assume that the storage company will insure your possessions. Work with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate insurance to protect your belongings.
  • Don't give your password or entry code to anyone unless you want that person to have full access to your belongings.

Decluttering has a huge impact on how well your home shows at an open house. Putting personal items in storage is one of the best showing tips for selling a home. Remove the clutter, store some of the furniture, and neatly organize and display what's left.

Moving Tips Checklist