Weichert, Realtors reminds sellers that a home free of clutter presents a more marketable listing.
"Clutter causes confusion and does not show off your home's best features to potential buyers," said Glenn Mills, branch manager of Weichert's Forked River office.
Mills suggests going through each room and sorting through the contents.
"If you have items in the room that belong in another room or in a closet, put them where they belong," he said. "Also, if you and other family members don't need certain items, either give them away or throw them away. Remember, you are going to have to pack all that stuff and move it to your new home. Do you really want all of it?"
Busy schedules may challenge sellers but there are methods and tools that help save time and get the organizing and cleanup done.
"If you don't have a whole day or several hours of time, take advantage of a few minutes to tackle the problem of clutter," said Mills. "Spend the few minutes you do have in one room at a time. Choose a room that has the most clutter and needs attention first. A few minutes a day will add up to an organized room and then you can move on to another area of the home."
Mills suggests getting family members involved in spending a few minutes to pare down. Make it fun. No one wants to spend time cleaning up. Play music everyone likes and give an unexpected treat for the effort. If family members spend time sorting and cleaning up, they will be less likely to track things back in to the space just cleaned.
"If the room needs a lot of attention and you feel overwhelmed, just start with one corner," said Mills. "If your desk is spilling over, you may have to start there. Once the desk is organized, you can tackle another part of the room. You will make progress and start to see the fruits of your labor."
When getting a home ready to be placed on the market, start packing memorabilia and other items that are not necessary for daily living. Packing ahead saves time and shows off the home's space. Buyers will envision their own cherished possessions more clearly in a home that is not packed with someone else's stuff.
Avoid the temptation to stash everything in the closets. Buyers look for closet space. If closets are filled to the brim, it's difficult to see how large they may be and if the closet is small, it will appear smaller if crammed full to capacity.
Keep in mind that home improvement stores have departments filled with organizing tools and items to make life easier. An investment in organizers, boxes and file cabinets will benefit sellers while they are still in the home and also give the home a well-cared-for look.