A young woman sits on the armrest of a gray sofa, looking distressed while talking on her smartphone. The living room is messy, with clothes strewn across the couch, a cluttered coffee table full of dishes and a plant, and items scattered on the floor, including a teddy bear and a patterned pouf.

Must-Do Tasks on Your Declutter Checklist Before Selling Your Home

Must-Do Tasks on Your Declutter Checklist Before Selling Your Home

written on May 2, 2024Home Staging

Thinking about the decluttering process before moving or selling your home can feel overwhelming. When all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years needs to be packed into boxes — it’s time to say goodbye to clutter and unnecessary items you no longer need.

Sometimes, the most daunting part of decluttering is deciding where to start. That’s where we can help! Below, we’ve created a room-by-room declutter checklist that will turn a cluttered home into a clean one that is ready to sell quickly.

Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Are you wondering which items to add to your decluttering checklist? Though this checklist isn’t all-inclusive, here are some items to consider selling, donating, or tossing as you deep clean your house before listing it on the market.


  • Expired food — Read through the expiration dates on your refrigerator and pantry items and throw away any expired food (or food nearing expiration if you’re about to move).
  • Kitchen tools — When looking through your kitchen drawers, you might be surprised to find you have four bottle openers or nine spatulas. Keep one (or a few) of each kitchen item, and donate or toss the other items. Consider organizing kitchen utensils with drawer organizers.
  • Cookware — You probably don’t need a half-dozen cookie sheets or muffin tins. Again, keep a few of the items you use, and donate or toss the rest.
  • Plastic containers — Go through the Tupperware cabinet and match every container with a lid. Straggler lids and containers should be tossed.
  • Junk drawer — Everyone has a junk drawer in the kitchen (and if you don’t — you’re lying!). To start decluttering this drawer, discard everything you haven’t used in the past six months. Then, see if the other items can find a better home elsewhere — like pens and markers in the office or medicine or bandages in the bathroom.
  • Takeout items — Somehow, the unused sauce packets from Chick-fil-A and random plasticware packets from ordering takeout always find their way home and are never used. Toss these items or put the stray plasticware and napkins in the car console if you need them on the go.
  • Small appliances — Look at the small appliances and gadgets on your kitchen counters, in your cabinets, and in your pantry. Consider donating or tossing anything that is broken, is no longer used, or has a duplicate (for example, you probably don’t need a toaster and a toaster oven).

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Family Rooms and Living Rooms

Two white shelves mounted on a light-textured wall hold neatly stacked and arranged books.
  • Bookshelves — You don’t need to get rid of all your books! However, if you have a bookshelf in the living room, consider looking through it, keeping only the books you would read again, and donating the books you’ve read, didn’t like, or bought and will never read.
  • DVDs and CDs — Let’s be honest. No one uses DVDs and CDs anymore (hello, Spotify and Netflix!). Consider selling or donating any DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes unless you want to keep a few for nostalgia. You can also get rid of unused stereos, DVD players, and VHS players.
  • Games and toys — Have kids look through the games and toys in the living room and encourage them to donate things they no longer want or need for other kids to enjoy. Apparent choices are board games that are missing pieces, toys they’ve outgrown or no longer play with, or old video games and consoles that have been replaced with smartphones.
  • Outdated decor — You’ve probably changed your home’s look a few times over the years. While decluttering, remove any decor pieces or knickknacks that no longer match your current style. You might even be able to sell some items on Facebook Marketplace.
  • Old magazines — Any magazines or newspapers you’ve read should go in the trash can or recycle bin. However, before you get rid of newspapers, keep them around when packing boxes to wrap fragile items like vases, wine glasses, and candles.


A large, colorful pile of assorted clothes sits on a surface against a peach-colored wall with a subtle texture. The clothing items include jeans, shirts, and sweaters in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Clothes — Next, on the declutter checklist, go through closets and drawers and clean out all the pajamas, socks, shoes, bathing suits, t-shirts, and other items you no longer wear. Make three piles (one to keep, one to donate, and one to toss), and pack the clothes to keep in boxes to move to the new house or keep in a storage unit. Try to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit, or you haven’t worn in the last year (unless it’s a dressier outfit you’re saving for a special occasion!).
  • Linens and pillows — Any extra bed linens (or mismatched bed linens) should be tossed or donated, as well as worn-out pillows or throw pillows that no longer match your current style.
  • Accessories — Accessories like purses, handbags, jewelry, and hats should be sorted through like clothes (keep, donate, toss). Some nicer jewelry and name-brand purses might even be able to be sold at a consignment store or on Facebook Marketplace. Try to keep things you’ll use often or timeless or sentimental pieces, and get rid of the rest.


  • Medicine — Go through the medicine cabinet and responsibly dispose of prescription medication that is no longer needed and remove expired pain medication, allergy medicine, or other over-the-counter drugs while decluttering.
  • Makeup and beauty products — Go through the makeup drawer and get rid of any half-empty makeup, shampoo, and toothpaste containers, crusty makeup brushes, rouge hair ties, and any brands of toiletries, makeup, or perfume you no longer use.
  • Cleaning products Whether you keep your cleaning products in the laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom, go through them and properly dispose of any almost-empty cleaning supplies.
  • Linens — Worn-out towels and washcloths should be replaced with new ones. Bathroom rugs that are old or dirty can be tossed.


  • Paper clutter — If you have files and files of paperwork in your office, it’s time to invest in a scanner and put them on an external hard drive. Digital files will take up less space than file cabinets, making room for modern office items like computer monitors and other technology.
  • Random craft supplies — Having a few practical “craft” items in the office, like scissors and markers, is wise. However, unless crafting is your hobby, consider removing unnecessary craft supplies, like a sewing kit or scrapbooking supplies, when decluttering. Chances are, you’ll never use them, so there is no need to bring them to the new house.
  • Extra cables — You know that random box of cords hiding in the office you have no clue what they belong to? Now is a great time to toss or donate them.
  • Instruction manuals — Instruction manuals are great to keep if you’ll use them, but with YouTube tutorials for almost anything you can imagine, there is a good chance you’ll no longer need them. Keep instruction manuals for important and expensive appliances, and toss the rest.

End the Decluttering Journey with Professional Home Staging from THE STAGING COMPANY

After going through this declutter checklist, your home probably looks much cleaner and is one step closer to being listed on the housing market. However, before working with a photographer to come out and capture photos, consider hiring our team at THE STAGING COMPANY for professional home staging to achieve a broader market appeal, higher asking price, and quicker sale!

Learn more about our industry-leading home staging services, and contact us to get started on home staging in cities across Texas and Florida, like Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Petersburg, and Kissimmee.

Explore Home Staging Services

Worried about selling in this market? We’re not..... Sell your house over a month faster with THE STAGING COMPANY.