A Checklist for De-cluttering Room-by-Room

My prior post emphasized the importance of implementing the 50% Rule when de-cluttering.  While keeping that Rule in mind, here is a brief list for de-cluttering room-by-room:


  • Store family photos, sports and religious memorabilia, personal items, and collections.
  • Keep the number of furnishings within each room to a minimum.  Consider the purpose of each room and include only the furnishings necessary for that purpose.
  • Move exercise equipment to a designated exercise space or room within the home. 

High Traffic Areas

  • Front halls set the first impression. Yours should offer an obvious spot for setting down purses, umbrellas, totes and coats.
  • Remove out of season gear from the hall closet.
  • Make sure the doorbell and entrance systems (locks and security systems) work smoothly and consistently.
  • What is the view from the front door? Remove extraneous furniture so the sight line is as long as possible. The more of your house that visitors can see from the front door, the more intrigued they will be—and that will draw them into the house.
  • Remove hooks and hanging things from halls, especially if the halls are used as storage for coats. The hall will seem narrow and even dangerous to visitors who are dodging hooks as they walk through.

Living, Dining and Family Rooms

  • Edit your book piles and shelves. Clear away all but a few nice-looking books with sound binding.
  • Clear out stacks of magazines and hobby materials. Stacks, even if neat and straight, add weight and visual clutter to rooms.
  • Rearrange lighting to ensure that the rooms are well lit at any time of day or night.
  • Clean the window treatments and the windows. If your window treatments involve numerous layers, consider leaving only the decorative layer.
  • If your walls are covered with attention-grabbing artwork, shrink your arrangement to a tasteful few.
  • Limit the number of toys kept in any room, and create a place where the remaining toys can quickly be collected, such as a large basket.


  • Clear counters of small appliances.
  • Store potholders in drawers and sponges and cleansers under the sink.
  • Pack away rarely used appliances, tools, and pans.
  • Collect teacups, plates, pitchers, molds or anything else. Pack away all but a few. Leave strategically placed accessories to call buyers’ attention to decorative shelving.
  • Remove pot racks, utensils hanging on walls and other open kitchen storage for more visual space.
  • Pack away rarely used staples and seasonal items, extra aprons, and unusual spices to air out pantries, drawers and cabinets.


  • Find a concealed home for jewelry, perfume, and rarely used toiletries.
  • Pack or toss all but three changes of linens to create an airy look in your closets.
  • Clear vanity tops of everything but nice looking soap and a decorative floral or candle.
  • Store, toss, or donate out-of-season or unused products.
  • Place trash cans, scales, and toilet tools within a cabinet or closet.


  • Pack out-of-season clothes and linens and store off-site.  Keep in mind the 50% Rule when de-cluttering closets.
  • Choose a pretty, light set of linens for each bed, with crisp decorative pillows.
When in doubt, err on the side of minimalism when de-cluttering.  Remember that buyers need to be able to picture their own belongings in your home, so less stuff grabbing their attention is always better.

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