How to Avoid 3 of the Worst Clutter Traps When Selling Your Home

clutter selling home

If selling a home is on your to-do list, eliminating clutter may be one of the most important New Year’s resolutions you can make! Here are three of the worst clutter traps I typically see as a home stager, and some tips on how to avoid them.


Closets are a fantastic place to store all our extra stuff for day-to-day living, but clutter in the closet can hurt you when selling a home. Buyers touring your house will open closet doors. Sadly, about 90% of them will not be able to envision spacious storage potential. Closets are crammed full of “stuff “won’t hep that vision.

  • Go ahead and pack away seasonal clothing, organize hanging items by size or color, and get things off the floor. This is especially important in master bedroom closets.
  • Take the time to clean your pantry. Wipe down shelves. Straighten labels. Toss out anything that is expired or that you won’t use.

Tabletops and Counters

Tabletops and counters should not be completely stripped; you don’t want it to look too sterile. Keep decor strategic and minimal.

  • Store all kitchen appliances under the cabinets (yes, even the coffee pot!).
  • Dish soap and sponges should go in a plastic bin under the sink.
  • Remove all personal hygiene products and appliances from bathroom counters.
  • Add a simple potted plant and a few books to a nightstand, a bowl of lemons to the kitchen counter, or a dish of pretty soaps near the bath sink for a homey, but uncluttered feel.


Bookshelves are notorious clutter traps when selling a home and can be especially tricky. When they’re overflowing or crammed too tightly (as many of them are), they give the impression that there’s a lack of space.

  • Pack up most of your books, leaving some stacked vertically and some horizontally with space between groupings for a more pleasing visual effect. Read our tips for staging and styling bookshelves.
  • A few knick-knacks are okay, but don’t put an entire collection of tchotchkes on display.

Bottom Line?

Start packing now, before you put your home on the market, and don’t spend money moving the items you can trash, donate, or sell! Need help figuring out where to get started? We can help!

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Published by Vannessa Rhoades, Three Bears Home Staging

Vannessa Rhoades is the author of "Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging" and the founder of the award-winning firm, Three Bears Home Staging®. She specializes in providing positive and empowering consultations to help homeowners sell more quickly and for more money. Vannessa has staged and consulted on hundreds of properties, both in person throughout the Houston metro area and virtually across the country.

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