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Clean now, profit later: Decluttering tips for Austin homeowners

Marquette Reddam

After spending 17 years proudly representing the public school districts of Texas, Marquette retired from the practice of law in 2016 to give her left...

After spending 17 years proudly representing the public school districts of Texas, Marquette retired from the practice of law in 2016 to give her left...

May 2 6 minutes read

Time on your hands? Finally, get to the crowded garage you've been trying to clear out. Free up some space in your packed closet that's needing some love. Decluttering can not only free up space in your home, but doing so can make it easier to sell your home in the future.

If you need a little boost of inspiration to get yourself in the tidying mood check out the queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, on Netflix or head over to Marie Kondo's website for more tips and tricks.  She will have you laughing, crying, and ready to change your home and life.  Warning:  don't let her KonMari techniques overwhelm you.  You can do this!

Here are 4 things you can spend a few minutes on each day that will get you closer to the tidy space you seek.  Take it one room at a time!    

Tackle the laundry

Raise your hand if you have a chair where all of your laundry goes... Yup, me too.

Letting your laundry pile up is a buzz kill for those who aspire to have a tidy home.  First it's just one shirt, and the next thing you know pieces of clothing accumulate during the week, and before you know it you're leaving an entire laundry basket untouched. Or maybe it's just me?

If a tidy home is your goal, break your habit of not putting away your clothes right as they come out of the dryer. You'll feel better instantly!  If you really aspire for perfection, try the the Konmari Method of folding clothes.  

Tidy Up Your Home: The KonMari Method : Storing clothes 2: Demonstration

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Organize your storage areas & closets 

“One out of every four Americans are unable to fit a car into their overflowing garages.” -- Cison & Martha Stewart

Your storage rooms, garages, pantries, and and closets need love. It’s easy to neglect these "out of sight" areas of the home.  This is the time to go through those old boxes and piles of clothes.  Purge anything you haven't used or worn recently.  Organize and straighten the spaces so that things are easy to find.  

When sorting and purging your household items, our advice is to create three piles: keep, donate, toss. This will help you sort through your belongings and have a dedicated space for each item. When you're done, you'll know exactly what to do with everything.

If you expect to put your home up for sale soon, potential buyers want to see that the home has storage, even abundant storage.  In that case you need to go one step further and move things out of the garage so that a car can easily park there with room to spare.  

This neatly organized pantry actually exists and was seen on the Tribeza 2020 home tour.

We also recommend that your closets be mostly empty -- and definitely not overstuffed -- so that potential buyers can get a real sense of the available space.  That doesn't mean you have to get rid of everything.  Start by getting rid of clothing items that don't fit, pieces that are stained or ripped, or that you just don't wear anymore.  Then go ahead and pack up clothes that are out of season.  Think of it as "pre-packing" your belongings and storing them out of the house before your big move.  

Need convincing?  In a Braun research survey “97% of surveyed Realtors believe homeowners covet closet space more than basement and attic storage space.”

Don't over-decorate

Over-decorating is the most common way to make your home feel untidy. If each inch of surface space is covered with decor your interior can feel crowded and chaotic.   Here is your chance to embrace some minimalism and tidy up at the same time.

Take a page out of Marie Kondo's book and ask yourself "does this bring me joy?" when assessing what to keep and what to remove from your space.  If it doesn't bring you joy, then donate the item.  

If you aren't sure where to start, reach out to a professional organizer or home stager.  They can walk you through the process, do a virtual consultation, and some will even come to your house and do it for you.  

Leave sentimental items for last

Start small when it comes to purging your accumulated belongings.  Tackle easy things first like books and papers.  Then you can move on to the meaningful stuff.

What seems like a simple trip down memory lane can easily turn into a 2 hour trip back in time.  Save sentimental items like photographs and memory boxes for last.  We find that digitizing some of these items can help us part with items we normally keep.  

If you have children these sentimental items can pile up quickly!  In our family we take snapshots of large and bulky art projects (dioramas, paper mache penguins, and such), as well as the plethora of colored pages and drawings.  The digital images are included in our family photo book to show the progression of our children's learning over the year.  The kids are part of the process which minimizes melt downs when they see their beloved project in the trash.   

Want more guidance?  We're here for you.

We totally get that decluttering is hard.  If you want more guidance on how to get started or what steps to take to prepare your home for sale, we're here for you.  Reach out for a no obligation consult at any time.


We love the Holderness family for their candid take on popular culture.  Enjoy!

Marquette Reddam, Director of Operations

[email protected]


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