Have you ever watched the "Sell My House" type of shows on TV where an "expert" is brought in to get a house sold that just won't sell without their expertise and assistance? While every home on those shows is different, one common theme runs through every episode - get everything out of the house that you can. A house that is free of clutter gives potential buyers an opportunity to envision the house as their home. We have shown homes to prospective buyers that were 20-25% smaller than a home that was "full" and the buyers came away with the feeling that the smaller house was larger.
Prospective home buyers will look at every room and mentally decorate it with their own furniture and artwork so the less you have in your home that could potentially distract them from that important step. The buyer's first step in mentally placing their furniture in the room they are looking at is to make an immediate judgment as to whether or not their stuff will fit. If they don't think there is enough room, an immediate obstacle is created that could eliminate your home from the running in their purchase decision.
People don't like to get rid of their stuff, which is why your house may be cluttered right now! When buyers look at a room in your house and determine whether or not it will work for them their thought process will not be "well the room isn't big enough for my stuff but it will be if I get rid of some stuff". Their thought process is more likely to be "well, the room isn't big enough for my stuff so the room probably doesn't work for me" and if the rooms don't work, the house won't work.
When selling your home it is important to "stage" it as well as you can. Put everything you do not need on a regular basis into a self storage unit. Take that extra chair in the living room, the desk you don't need in your bedroom, the extra coffee, side and end tables, the leaf in your dining room table and extra chairs in your dining room and anything else you can spare to a storage unit. Make sure your closets aren't completely full. If it is summer time, pack up all of your winter clothes (or vice versa) and put them and as many pairs of shoes as you can in storage as well. Anything that you have in a box in your home can probably be moved to your storage unit as well. Put any artwork you can into storage, as well as extra rugs, runners and floor mats. If you are a pet owner you will want to try to hide the evidence that a pet is in the home as much as possible by putting extra kennels, pet supplies and other related items into storage as well. You don't want to make your home appear empty. The goal is to make it appear day-to-day livable and comfortable but not to have your possessions negatively influence their decision to purchase due to lack of space or general design aesthetic - as beautiful as your home may be, no purchaser will keep it exactly the same.
Self storage units are an easy way to clear your house of clutter. Almost every storage facility offers their storage units on a short-term basis (normally month-to-month leases) so you won't have to be separated from your belongings any longer than necessary and won't pay for storage longer than you need it. Many storage facilities offer move-in specials, use of a moving truck and other offers to help reduce the cost of removing the clutter from your home. The cost of the storage could be looked at as an investment as what you pay for the storage can be recouped several times over in increased purchase offers on your home. If you don't have the time to make trips to the self storage facility you can also consider having a storage container delivered to your home by a mobile storage operator. The storage containers are delivered to your home for you to fill at your convenience then picked up and taken to the portable storage operators secure facility and then it can be delivered to your new home after your move.