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A lot of us live with clutter. We get so accustomed to it that we scarcely perceive it anymore. But homebuyers notice. Where to begin with clutter?
"I usually start in the closets," Dana says. "Your closets should be half-full, with nothing on the floor. Why? Because most people looking for a house have outgrown their previous house. Showing them that you've still got room to grow gives them a reason to buy."
Kitchens and bookshelves should showcase spaciousness by following the rule of 3. For kitchens, no more than 3 countertop appliances. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases and pictures, and one-third empty.
The home office should be generic so any type of professional can imagine living there, Dana says. "Otherwise, it can be a distraction: 'What does he do for a living? How much money does he make?'" she says.
Dana's tip for toddler parents is to pack away extraneous "kiddie litter" and keep a laundry basket handy.
"When you get that phone call one hour before a showing, toss everything in that basket and take it to the car with you and your kids, and you're all set," she says.
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