Pre-Listing Home Organization Checklist

Getting Started

You may be ready to list your home, but that doesn’t mean that your home is ready to be
listed. At NEATSPACES, our professional home organizers have the experience, tools and
relationships to get your home sale-ready. The effort you invest in the period before you list is critical and will result in the best outcome for the sale and marketing of your home.

We know that clutter and disorganization make spaces look smaller than they are. Before you list your home, you will want to make sure it is decluttered, organized, cleaned and ready to show to its full potential so that it can sell for
the best price possible!

NEATSPACES knows how to create neat, tidy, and open spaces to showcase everything from your living area, cupboards and closets to the garage and basement. We offer organization servicesspecial project cleaning services and more to help you prepare your home for viewing.

Organizing, decluttering, and cleaning is no easy job, especially when paired with the pressure of an impending listing date. Use our pre-listing home organization checklist to help you maximize the value of your home and ensure the space is ready to be listed and shown to its full potential to prospective buyers.

The Entrance

First impressions are important! When showing your home to a prospective buyer, you want them to fall in love as they enter your home.

Here’s what you can do ahead of time to get your entry ready for potential buyers to walk through:

  • Make sure the walkways are in good repair and well swept.

  • Ensure hand railings are sturdy and clean.

  • Take the time to clean your outdoor light fixtures, mailbox and any glass that flanks your entranceway.

  • Clean the front door.

  • Ensure the door handle and locks are straight and functioning well.

The Windows

We all feel better in a light-filled environment. Consider how you can showcase your windows and home’s natural light effectively.

  • Ensure your windows are clean on the inside and out to maximize the amount of light inside your home.

  • Ensure curtains, blinds, shutters, and any other window coverings are clean and functioning well.

  • Take the time to make repairs if necessary

Bathroom

Before you list your home for sale, you want to make sure your bathrooms are clutter-free, and everything shines! That includes your guest bathrooms and personal bathrooms.

Unfortunately, you will have to sacrifice the convenience of having all of the items used in your daily routine on the countertop during the time of listing.

  • Find a basket or empty bin to store everyday items that don’t have a
    place in a drawer or cupboard

  • Once you finish your daily routine, put everything in the basket/bin and store it under the counter or in a closet.

  • Towels should be folded on a towel rod and not used during the listing phase.

  • Clean glass and mirrors, check lightbulbs.

  • Wet towels should be put in the dryer where they are out of sight or hung on a hook behind a door.

  • Clean the grout around tiles.

  • Have someone put a new bead of clear sealant around tubs, glass enclosures, sinks and backsplash.

  • Take the time to test taps. If they leak or drip, have them fixed now.

  • Organize, purge and stylize, drawers, shelves and cupboards.

  • Make sure the toilet sits firmly and doesn’t move.

Living & Family Room

Your living room and family room are likely the rooms in your home with the largest volume of items, both big and small. Take those initial steps to start cleaning and clearing these spaces to showcase them effectively.

Living Room

If you have a formal living room and a family room, the living room is not likely a high traffic area.

Here’s what you can do to prepare it for sale:

  • Minimize table top decor for a sleek look.

  • Ensure shelves are tidy, well-styled and free of clutter.

  • Make sure pillows and seat cushions are puffed.

  • Lampshades should be straight and equipped with functioning bulbs.

  • Remove any excess furniture. Footstools, for example, take up a lot of floor space and make a room look smaller.

  • Spot clean furniture and carpets.

     

Family Room

The family room is likely to be a high-traffic area, especially if it’s open to the kitchen and the heart of your home.

To make your family-room show-ready, here’s what you need to do:

  • Sort and declutter newspapers, magazines, books, and electronics that might regularly live on coffee tables and shelves.

  • Make sure the furniture doesn’t overpower the room.

  • Remove extra seating that you may need for your family or footstools that take up a lot of floor space.

  • In the morning, fluff cushions and tidy up before showings start (this is the room that often sells the house.)

Furniture

Furniture can be a hurdle when preparing your home for listing, but it doesn’t have to be.Consider how you can prepare and stage your furniture with minimal hassle:

  • Identify the furniture you want to keep in the house for staging and move the rest out.

  • If you don’t wish to keep pieces you are removing for staging, now is the time to consign, donate, sell or give them away.

  • Ensure any furniture with glass is appropriately cleaned and organize any items inside shelving units for an aesthetically pleasing display.

  • Clean surfaces and make any necessary repairs.

Surfaces

Clutter loves to live on surfaces, so it is essential to address all the piles and clusters of mess. Get your day-to-day things organized and out of sight to showcase the surfaces in your home effectively.

  • Keep day-to-day items in cabinets to keep surfaces as empty as possible.

  • If your stone countertops are dull or stained, consider using a professional service to bring back their lustre.

  • Be sure to clean surface areas.

Toys & Games

Toys and games can clutter your spaces, and you want to ensure these items are thoughtfully organized and edited pre-listing.

There’s no time like the present to decide what toys to bring with you and which to part with.

  • Sort, edit and purge broken toys or those with missing parts.
  • Create a pile for toys and games that your family has outgrown. Now is the perfect time to pass them along.

  • Large items can remain on the floor if they don’t overwhelm the space.

  • If there are too many toys for the space, pack the large items or toys that aren’t played with every day away

Bookshelves

Books are important keepsakes, but if aren’t well displayed can look messy and the shelves can attract clutter.

The good news is there are ways you can make sure your bookshelf and book collection speak for themselves.

  • Sort and purge books to determine what you are keeping, donating and giving away.

     

  • Ensure all book spines are facing outwards.

     

  • Stage books both upright and stacked for variety and intersperse decor items on the shelves to lighten the look.

     

  • Ensure any faulty shelves are properly secured.

     

  • Dust and clean shelves for a polished look.

Laundry Room

You want to showcase the functionality of your laundry room, which is why you want to make sure the space is at its very best before you list your home.

  • Use storage drawers or cupboards to organize cleaning and laundry supplies.

  • Clear the top of the appliances of any items.

  • Clean the exterior of the appliances.

  • Clean the lint catcher.

  • People love a great laundry room, so ensure the shelves are neat and well organized.

Closets

Closets are often a destination with clutter, which is why you must clean out and purge your wardrobe ahead of a listing. After all, you will have to go through everything in your closets anyways. Get a head start on your packing; choose what you are taking with you and what you are parting with.

The two main closets you will likely be dealing with are clothes closets and linen closets. Storage closets? Those are entirely different beasts on their own.

Clothes Closets:

  • Now is the time to edit to showcase maximum space in closets.

  • Hand everything facing the same way.

  • Organize and hang clothes by colour and category.

  • Shoes should be in pairs, side by side in rows or on a rack.

  • Fold clothing on shelves neatly with like colours.

  • Line up boxes or baskets by size and or colour system.

Linen Closets:

  • Place like items with like items.

  • Fold items neatly and stack by colour.

  • Start editing towels, bedding, and linen that you won’t be using in your new home.

Kitchen

Kitchens are often a major selling point of a home. Here are the steps to take to ensure your kitchen shows to perfection.

  • Clear countertops of almost everything.

  • If you have the space to store small appliances that are used daily in an empty cupboard, do so.

  • Display anything visible through glass or open shelving beautifully & minimally.

  • Clean and organize cupboards and drawers to demonstrate space and functionality.

  • Clean the outside of cupboard doors where grease tends to build up from cooking and fingerprints.

  • Declutter, purge or pack away things you won’t need to create space.

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces & appliances.

Dining Room

Your dining room is where some of your most valuable items will live, but the good news is this room is typically reserved for special occasions. This means that you can prepare and maintain this space without disturbing your day to day.

  • Minimize decor items especially those
    that are overly ornate.

  • Pack away any valuables you are taking with you that you don’t want harmed.

  • Clean any glass displays.

  • Organize and stage items on display behind glass.

  • Ensure the table is centred on the carpet and centred under the chandelier.

  • Take care to clean the chandelier (something that is often missed in weekly cleaning) and that all the bulbs are functioning.

Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is where you store your most personal items, but it is also one of the greatest selling points of a home.

Make sure this room is organized and staged to look as large as possible before listing.

  • Ensure the bed is made with fresh & crease-free linens and puffed pillows.

  • Tuck away any of your day-to-day items in a basket.

  • Clear your night table and tuck any miscellaneous items into your drawers.

Other Bedrooms

  • Make sure beds are well made with matching linen and accents.
  • Closets should be clutter free and tidy, demonstrating maximum storage.

  • Remove excess furniture and floor clutter to make the room look as large as possible.

  • Remove children’s art from walls or windows.

Basement

Basements are commonly areas that attract clutter. If your basement is finished, it likely has a storage area for holiday décor, tools, seasonal items, and countless bins packed with things you just can’t remember.

If your basement is unfinished, you likely have used this space as a dumping ground — and who can blame you? Out of site, out of mind…until now.

  • If you have a lot of old technology here, get rid of it or find a place to keep it more organized.

  • Old paint and other things just don’t fit anywhere else in the home can be kept here, but organize them nicely on the shelves.

  • Sort through any bins full of estate items from a loved one that you haven’t been able to let go of (if this applies to you).

  • Half-done projects stored here? Move on from the projects that seemed like a good idea at the time but are now so yesterday.

  • Sort through sports equipment that no longer fits or is no longer being used.

Office

With more people embracing working from home s home office is a very important room in the house.

Many people have had to adapt to a work at home environment, and as a result, many buyers moving up in the market will zero in on this as a key space.

  • Organize loose paper, files, wires, sticky notes & more.

  • Keep what you need ( important documents, wills, POA’s, etc.) in a filing drawer or accordion box in a closet.

  • Make use of digital filing for receipts, statements, bills etc.

  • Tidy up cords and cables.

  • Declutter, organize and stylize open shelves.

Patios, Balconies & Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor space is important to prospective buyers and should be as neat, clean and welcoming as indoor spaces.

  • Make sure all outdoor spaces are clutter free.

  • Strategically place patio furniture to maximize the feeling of spaciousness.

  • Patio furniture should be in good repair, clean, pillows puffed and surfaces clutter free.

  • Barbecues should be clean, whether it’s the cover or the barbecue itself that is visible.

  • Make sure barbecue tools are neatly stored and the propane tank is neatly stowed.

  • Fountains or water features should be clean and functioning. Who doesn’t like the soothing sound of flowing water?

  • Whether it’s toys, gardening implements or wood projects, clutter should be neatly organized and preferably out of sight.

  • Fill urns with beautiful flowers for a pop of colour.

Paint & Touch Ups

Paint touch-ups are tricky, so be strategic and test the area before you start. Small areas are usually fine, but if the area is large or in a prominent place, the whole wall or door may have to be repainted.

  • Try using a Magic Eraser. After all, a Magic Eraser can do wonders to clean marks on walls without painting. If old paint exists, check to see how old it is as it can go bad.

  • It’s sometimes useful to paint rooms a lighter colour if they are dark or have dated colours.

Garage & Sheds

Is your garage full of stuff? Is everything so out of place, is it used as a dumping ground? Your garage should be able to fit a parked car. If it can’t, it’s time to do some cleaning.

  • Consider purchasing bins to store loose things.

  • Make sure rakes and shovels are off the floor on hooks or standing neatly.

  • If bags of sand, salt or pool chemicals have spilled, tidy them up and store them in a bucket or bin to contain the overflow.

  • Make sure the floor is well swept — you might consider a coat of paint to make it shine.

Sweat the Small Stuff

When we live in our homes day to day, sometimes we don’t notice the small things that a prospective buyer might. When the small things are attended to, it shows pride in homeownership and creates confidence in people as they tour your home.

Chandeliers, Light Fixtures & Pot Lights

  • Make sure your pre-listing deep clean includes this category.

  • Light is very important when selling your home, so make sure the glass is clean, and fixtures are dust-free.

  • Make sure all lightbulbs are functioning.

  • Do an audit of bulbs in lamps, pot lights, chandeliers and light fixtures.

Door Handles

  • Over time and especially in high traffic areas, door handles often become loose or droop to one side. Make sure tightening them up is on your pre-listing to do-list.

  • Fingerprints or residual body oil often build up around door handles or the part of the door we push to open. Make sure they are all removed before showings begin.

Light Switches & Plates

  • Make sure light switch plates and receptacle covers are straight and secure. Like door handles, residue from high-touch surfaces builds up here too, so take the time to make them shine.

  • If your switches or plates have discoloured over time, consider replacing them with new ones. These are inexpensive and can make a big difference.

Art & Wall Decor

  • Remove clutter from walls, including children’s art, dried flowers and miscellaneous things.

  • Make sure all of your wall art hangs straight.

  • Remove anything that others may find offensive.
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