One of the biggest problems I face as a realtor when both listing house and showing homes to potential buyers is clutter.  Clutter makes it hard to see a home’s true charm and assets.
Getting rid of stuff seems to be the chore we all dread. But when closets are crowded, drawers are jumbled, and shelves overflow, it can really slow down the sale of your home. Every day I try to focus on just one or two areas (like kitchen counters) that drive me crazy. These clutter-busting hints will help you dejunk your space — which will save you time and stress, and get that house sold!
All It Takes Is 5 Minutes

  • Throw out moldy sponges and outdated cleaning products lingering in your kitchen; clear old leftovers out of the fridge and pitch any expired foods found in the pantry.
  • Do a TV-room clean sweep.  During TV commercials, quickly tidy up the room you’re in. Gather all the magazines, newspapers, and bits of trash and put them in the garbage. Straighten pillows and refold throws. Organize your worktable. On the next program break, you can even give the den a quick vacuum.
  • Throw away old cosmetics and expired medicines in the vanity drawer or the cabinet over the sink. Sort bath towels and washcloths for laundering or the rag bag.
    ·  Weed out toys and games that haven’t been used recently. If they are in good condition, you can donate them to a shelter, a hospital or a school.
  • Gather misplaced belongings in a holding basket; later, ask family members to claim their possessions and put them away.
Have An Hour To Spare?
When serious decluttering is in store, try this 3 step method. Select a cabinet or closet that’s been bugging you. Take everything out and arrange items into three categories:
1. always used
2. used during the holidays and special occasions, or seasonally
3. not seen or used in a year or so;
Then do a final sort:
Step 1: Toss or give away #3 items unless they are valuable or have sentimental worth.
Step 2: Return #2 items to the back of the storage area.
Step 3: Place the #1 team in the front of the space so those items will be handy for immediate use.

Now that you’ve got a handle on things, develop an organizing system that works for you and your family and stick with it! Try some of these easy tips:
Everything In Its Place 
put things back in the same place: Children’s papers belong in a basket in a central location. Bicycles and sports gear go in the designated rack or spot in the garage. Coats belong on a coat tree or in the front-hall closet. Toys should be placed in a chest or bin every night; teach kids this bedtime ritual.  This really helps when you get a call for a last minute showing!
Keep It Handy
Place the tools you use often (say, a screwdriver or a hammer) at arm’s reach on a pegboard; other tools belong higher up.
Hang the clothes you wear to work front and center. To save more time: Pick your outfits for the week on Sunday and place each one on a single hanger. And my personal rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away!  And yes, those potential buyers are opening up your closet doors, so it pays to keep it organized!
Label It
Use masking tape, a label maker, or permanent-ink pens. I like to tape an index card to the outside of a container. If you’re feeling especially industrious, take snapshots of what’s inside.  This really pays off when your house sells and it’s time to move!
My favorite expensive storage helpers are see-through plastic bins, wire baskets, wicker baskets, utility shelving, and pegboard and metal racks. Here’s what to use in your…

  • Attach narrow racks inside cabinet doors for lightweight items — pot lids, paper rolls, plastic bags, etc.

Living Room

  • Use large baskets to corral magazines, books, or TV and stereo remotes. Put skirts on side tables so you can store things underneath and out of sight.
  • Place a big, attractive trunk in front of the couch or along the wall. It can serve as both a table and a storage bin.


  • Keep linens or off-season clothes inside plastic containers with wheels, rolled under the bed.·  Assign one bowl to hold everything that comes out of a purse or pocket. Use an over-the-door shoe rack for organizing small purses and accessories. Put a pretty box or covered basket on your bedside table as a home for your nail file, scissors, hand lotion, ear plugs, etc.

  • Lined wicker or woven baskets under-the-sink cabinet is a very attractive way to organize bathroom items like nail polish or small bottles, etc. This small touch really makes a big impact when potential buyers are peaking in your cabinets.
  • If space is tight, hang sturdy shelves or above toilet, or place a pre-fab one piece shelving unit above the toilet, to hold towels or bath accessories.
Laundry Room
Keep at least two hampers — one for whites, the other for darks. Station clothing trees, a basket for clean laundry, and garment racks near the ironing board.
  • Store supplies in a large plastic shelf basket to contain spills.
    ·  Set up a counter for sorting and folding clothes.

Here’s a recap of how to get organized and stay organized to get that house sold!
1. If you can’t find what you need within minutes, it’s time for a reality check.
2. Get everyone in your family on the decluttering/organizing bandwagon.
3. If the countertop or table surface isn’t visible, take action ASAP.
4. Establish a specific place for the things you use every day — hooks for keys, a basket for catalogs, etc.
5. Always give the living room a quick pick up before bedtime.
6. Be relentless in tossing out papers — newspapers, magazines, junk mail.
7. Make lists of household staples, with their expiration dates, so you’ll know what you really need.
8. Every time you bring something new into the house, try to make sure something old goes out.
9. On a regular basis, deal with your garbage gremlins, such as grocery bags, takeout containers, chipped drinking glasses, soap shards, dead batteries, rubber bands, and dried-up pens.
10. If you aren’t using it, get rid of it!
For more information about buying, selling or leasing property in the USVI, please contact Jennie Rosenberg at or 340.690.4903.