This is a time consuming, but essential part of the staging process, especially if you have lived in the home for many years or have a large accumulation of "stuff."If you do not adequately clear the clutter, you will be able to finish staging with ease.
Packing materials such as cardboard boxes, wardrobe boxes, plastic bins Garbage bags and additional large bags or boxes to put items that will be donated to charity. Tape, markers / label-maker to seal and mark all boxes for moving.
Removing clutter requires more than just clearing surfaces of excess nick-knacks, books and papers. Clutter is anything that contributes to a chaotic, busy feeling in a room, and that can include excess furniture, wall art, area rugs, kitchen gadgets and paper work.
In All Rooms:
Now is the time to take your favorite collections and pack them up, along with all of your personal photographs (yes, all of them). Remove all hobby related clutter. Why? When a buyer walks into your home, you want them to see themselves there - not you and your family. You don't want the possible buyer to wonder about the people who live in the house. You want them to picture themselves in the space.
In the kitchen:
Clear all counter tops of gadgets, cookbooks and appliances that aren't used daily. It is acceptable to leave out your coffee maker and toaster, but store the food processor, mixer, blender, cooking tools and books somewhere out of sight. It is best to pack as much as you can at this point. It will save you time later.
Summary of personal items to pack: personal photos, albums, jewelry, toiletries (the bare essentials can be stowed under the sink -but not out in the open for all to see), hobby related items, and anything that could be offensive to the buyer. Anything that tells too much about you! Musical instruments (unless there is an extra room dedicated to music, but few buyers will be interested in having their own music room). Do not leave out expensive collectibles to try to impress buyers.
Where to store things:
It is ideal to store things off site, at a family members home, or at a self storage facility. (See links to the right)
If that is not possible due to budget constraints, the attic is preferable to the basement. If you do choose to use the basement for storage, do so as neatly and compactly as possible. You want to leave as much open space in your home as possible.
If you need additional help with this phase, consider hiring a professional organizer to help. They are trained to know what to do with everything, and provide an objective eye towards the clutter in your home.