by Carol C. Wheelock
There is a lot of talk these days about "staging" a house before putting it on the market. This simply means that you prepare your house for perspective buyers by making the house look its irresistible best. The idea is to create a space that someone else can't wait to make his or her own. Although there are many layers to staging, the most important is decluttering.
Clearing out the clutter is essential for several reasons. It is important for a seller because it helps make his own move out of the house as simple as possible -- it's a complete waste of time to move things you don't use or love. Decluttering also creates energetic space for what is next.
It is important for the buyer to see a clutter-free house so that he or she can imagine being in the space. The truth is that the average person has a difficult time visualizing the space any differently than it is at that moment. So if it is cluttered, it feels as though there is no room for a potential buyer to move in. Therefore there is no interest in purchasing the property.
The feng shui adage What you first see most affects your chi says it all. When a potential buyer first approaches your property, what is seen? Is the yard neat or are there piles of debris scattered around? Is the entrance clear and inviting? This means that nearby vegetation is trimmed back so that the house and the front door can be easily seen. Porches need to be for sitting, not storage.
When more than 50% of a surface is filled it looks and feels cluttered. This applies to both vertical and horizontal surfaces so it includes table tops, floor space, and walls. Having trouble getting rid of the clutter? Get rid of 27 things at a time with the intention that you are making room for and attracting a buyer for your house.
There is a difference between a space that is clutter-free and one that is sterile. Many people make the mistake of putting away everything that is personal, including all family photos. The result is a house that looks like a suite in a major hotel chain and doesn't feel like a home. In order to sell the idea of a home, the house has to feel like a home. A few personal items and photos of smiling children or a happy family will give that feeling.
There are several key areas where personal items need to be kept to a bare minimum. One is the refrigerator, which in many homes serves as a bulletin board and photo album. Put the photos in a real album and eliminate the majority, if not all, of the papers. Another key area is the bathroom. Put away cosmetics, prescriptions, and grooming items. Nobody else needs to know that much about you!
Storage is an important consideration. If closets are disorganized and overflowing, it looks as though there is not enough storage space. Perspective buyers want to feel that there is room for all their stuff. Organized closets with some extra space give the impression that there is more than enough room.
Space for specific activities is another key consideration. This means that each room has to have a clear purpose and that purpose needs to be obvious when someone walks in the room. Although many rooms are multi-purpose, there still needs to be clarity about main functions. Rooms that lack clarity of purpose feel like general clutter and evoke a feeling of confusion.
Any house that is dirty, unfinished, or in a state of disrepair also feels as though it is cluttered. All of those conditions create an energy block and an energy block prevents a potential buyer from seeing him or herself in the space. Now is the time to thoroughly clean, finish projects, and repaint where needed.
Although there are many more layers to both feng shui and real estate staging, decluttering to create both physical and energetic space go a long way toward making a house appealing to a perspective buyer. As you declutter, do so with the intention that you are attracting a buyer who not only desires your house, but is also willing to pay the asking price for it.
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.