Combat Clutter: A Guide to Getting Your Mess Listing-Ready!

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Moving is hectic; you’ve got so many balls in the air that making your house look presentable AND be functional can be overwhelming. Fear not, the outcome of decluttering and organizing is actually a proven form of stress relief and it will mean you have less to do at your new place!

No one is looking in your grandmothers’ hutch so leave that until later and focus on the areas of your house that perspective buyers are going to be contemplating; built-in units, closets, cupboards, storage spaces/the garage, and because it can’t be hidden, open shelving. Go one room at a time and keep in mind the goal is to create viewable space so people say “Yes, my Carrie Bradshaw-like shoe collection will fit in here easily” rather than “This house has no storage space- NEXT!”.

For a simple organizing system, follow the acronym DARE: Declutter, Amalgamate, Rearrange, Enjoy!

Declutter the spaces listed above.

  • Create piles: Toss, donate, sell, keep.
  • Pull everything out of said cupboard.
  • Get rid of anything damaged or expired.
  • “Do I love it, do I want it or does it improve my life?” Yes? Great, keep it, you’re allowed to have things, we can’t all be minimalists! If you’ve never used it, or it was a gift and that’s the only reason you’re holding on to it, take a photo and let it go.
  • If it’s still looking cluttered, separate your “keep” pile into two. Decide what you can live without for now and what you need to keep on hand. Your turkey roasting pan, and the children’s picture books you’re saving for the grandchildren that haven’t been born yet, box these up, label them, and put them in storage until you move.
  • If you’re reached this step and everything you started with is still in the “keep on hand” pile, have an objective friend go through it with you, or call me.

Remember you don’t need to ditch of all of your worldly possessions; getting rid of everything but your wedding dress and a stock pot will not lead you to living your best life. One of the major reasons people move house is to gain more space, let’s showcase this the best we can.


With your remaining keep pile, group like things together: board games, T-shirts, spatulas, pasta, rain boots, etc. and bring them to the spaces where they are going to live; that doesn’t necessarily have to be where they were previously.


 Place your things back in their cupboards/shelves etc. in the groups you’ve amalgamated earlier. The following tips will help the space to be neat and keep you functional, without looking staged.

  • Arrange things by size and/or in colour order.
  • Leave empty space between groups. Rather than leaving shelves completely empty, separate larger groups into multiple sections.
  • Repurpose extra dishes and baskets to house little things like tea bags, hair elastics, and phone chargers. Repurpose gift boxes for things you want to hide from view.
  • Fold or roll soft goods in a uniform fashion.
  • In closets hang things on matching hangers. Velvet hangers have a narrow profile creating extra space and are great for most items, even pants. For heavier, more structured items like suit blazers and winter coats, go for wooden hangers. As a general rule; heavier item, heavier hanger. But please, as a former fashion designer, I beg you to fold your knits!
  • In storage areas put everything in boxes or bins and stack these neatly to one side of the room, ideally on shelves and off the floor.

You’ve listed and successfully sold your house. You’ve decluttered and now have less stuff to move with you to your next stage in your life. Good job, enjoy!

Still need help or have dreams of creating a perfectly organized pantry, closet, etc. at your new place? I’m here to help!

Shoshanah Kuper

Professional Organizer

DARE Organizing by One Whole Plate


[email protected]

Instagram @one.whole.plate

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