Part 1- The Three D’s

Disassociate, Depersonalize, Declutter


You’ve connected with a Realtor, did your Homework, decided on a price, now what? 

As home owners we get comfortable in our spaces, which we call home.  Some of us have been in our home for 10 plus years while others maybe a few years. No matter how long you’ve resided in your home, the personal items brought in can seem like its taking over, like a dog sleeping in the bed with its owner.  Allowed in but finds its way to take over the whole bed.  Now is the time to reclaim the space, declutter and show it really is bigger than what the eye can see.  This is the most important step to getting your house ready to sell.  A buyer wants to see the house not so much our personal items, so we have to disassociate from what we love and think about what they want.  So are you ready to roll up your sleeves and disassociate from your house while it gets depersonalized and decluttered?  You can do this, baby steps.

First of all before you take any steps, grab a pen and paper to make a list of items you notice needs to be cleaned or fixed. It's best to tackle one room at a time. 


Kitchens are one of the major rooms that buyers will see themselves in.  It is the heart of the home right?  Everyone has to eat and no one wants to feel like they are having to prepare or forage for food like a caveman.

Countertops- Clean them off. No bills, homework, food, appliances, dishes any item that says you are currently using the kitchen. This is where you really have to disassociate from your home by decluttering. It has to be cleaned like if you were walking into a hotel room.  Also look at the overall condition, fix any cracks or loose tiles.

Cabinets- Go ahead and grab a box for donations and other for packing up your items.  I found this to be a good time to donate, you really wouldn’t want to move these and store again when it’s just taking up space.   Your cabinets should be organized to show off the space so that it’s visually appealing for the buyer’s items.  Having a buyer open up a cabinet while having items falling out would be disastrous. Remember, objective is to declutter. This is a great time to pack up all those pampered chef and wedding items that you don’t use on a daily basis. Take those extra dishes, pots, pans, Tupperware, any object you can part with while the house is on the market.   Do you have a junk drawer that is out of control? Yep even that one should be cleaned out.

Pantry- Throw out old items that are expired or that you just don’t want to pack up and move with you. Baskets are great to use in this space.  Make it look neat and tidy. Go ahead and wipe down the shelves. If you have a small pantry then it’s really necessary to remove items to create a bigger space.

Appliances- This includes; refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and oven. Take some time to do spring cleaning to these. You never want a buyer opening them up only to see food particles left behind or a stench that causes them to run. If your refrigerator is decorated with personal items, removing those items will allow the buyer to see the appliance as a potential item to buy.  Plus it just brings a clean look to the space.

This is the time to inspect it from top to bottom.  Light fixtures broken, wallpaper peeling off, food stains on the wall, spiders living in the corners.  Don’t overlook the floors.  Tiles need a good cleaning? The more this room shines, buyers will fall in love with it. Last, remove unnecessary rugs from the kitchen.

Expected time to complete: 2-5 days

Example from pinterest no credit mentioned

Example from pinterest no credit mentioned


Dining Room/living room/kids space- Pack up those DVDs, books, toys, family photos, exercise equipment in the corner. Unused items that you didn’t know where to store or seasonal décor still out that’s out of season.  Piles of items in corners or out on shelves go ahead and remove.  Do you have kid’s toys hanging out in the rooms? There should be a manageable amount left out that can be thrown into a basket for out of sight.  Nothing like trying to get kids to clean up before a showing, so if you can keep to a small amount it will bring peace as you are trying to head out the door.  

Let’s talk furniture in a space. Sometimes a room can seem small just because of the amount of furniture or the size for the space. Do you have couches lined up against the walls, rows of chairs placed all throughout the room? Aim to provide a conversational area or a focal point within these rooms. Take out those chairs that are blocking the walkway. If your room is small limit only one couch and a coffee table. You might need to put extra furniture in the garage or get a storage unit while your house is on the market.  Less is more.  Remember you want to show off the space not your items within the room. Your goal is to make it inviting and appealing to look at.

While decluttering these rooms make note of the walls and floorings.  Are there stains on the carpets?  Is your wall’s color pallet custom to your style?  Buyers want to see a turnkey house not a fixer upper.  Most of us aren’t Chip and Joanna Gains who can see past your style and bring in their own. Neutral wall colors, clean floors, and furniture that doesn’t look worn out.

Estimate time to complete: 1-2 days per room

living room declutter


This room isn't as important as the kitchen or living room, now I don't say that just to give you a pass.  You'll still want to create a nice clean room in there.  Before we had our house on the market our cat's litter box resided in this room. So during the time we had the house listed we relocated it to the garage. Having litter on the floor or smelling it really isn't appealing to a buyer. Again you are disassociating yourself, this house is not yours any more it's a temporary residence. While your creating a clean smelling room go ahead and organize your laundry items. Everything off the washing machine and dryer is a must. Make it look like a place someone wants to do laundry in.  I had our room originally painted a light yellow, but to be on the safe side changed it to a grey. Again thinking like a buyer. 

Estimated time to complete: 1 day for deep cleaning, if painting add 2 more days

laundry room

Good job! Your on your way to being in tip top shape for an open house! Next up the conclussion of the 2 part breakdown to disassociating, depersonalizing, and decluttering your bedrooms, bathrooms and home office.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or reach out on facebook, instagram @welcominghome. email-

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Do your homework <       > Part 2: 3D's