Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Closets, Cupboards and Cabinets, Oh My!

I could just as easily have called this "Behind the Cupboard Doors" but I'm a child of the 80's when the Iron Curtain still existed (remember it?) and so Behind the Curtain has a certain zing to my ears.

In any case, when your home is for sale, potential buyers will visit it. And believe me, buyers will open your cupboards, pantry, linen closets and medicine cabinets. You may feel like those things are sacred, but they're not. So open 'em up yourself and straighten 'em out.

Start in the pantry. Open up wide and discard anything you didn't remember was in there. Food banks are nearly always in need of donations. Try St. Mary's Food Bank, my own church which maintains a food bank, or this list of Arizona food banks. Now that you have a little room in the pantry, straighten and organize what's left. Facing is important. This is simply lining up all the canned goods so their labels face out towards your eye when you open the door. It's a silly little simple thing but it's effective. It gives people a sense of orderliness. Buyers think that if you had time to face your pantry items, your house has probably been well cared for too.

Next, tackle your medicine cabinets. Take out your prescriptions! I can't stress this enough. Even if you only put them in a shoebox under the bed, it's better than leaving them in the medicine cabinet. Folks will open it and snoop. Rarely, scripts have been known to disappear from homes for sale. While you're at it, you should also remove any non-prescription meds that have a street value like Sudaphed (used in making meth), cough syrups (an easy high for youngsters) and aerosol canisters (huffing, another easy high for kiddies seeking a thrill).

Visit your linen closet. Fold everything neatly and stack it all by size or color.

Face and organize your fridge & freezer. I know it sounds ridiculous. But it won't seem ridiculous when your house is 1 of the 6 that sold out of out of 100 on the market in your area. (Needless to say, you must remove any fridge items that are unrecognizable and/or are ready to walk out on their own.)

Finally, tackle the kitchen cupboards. Remove anything you don't need to use in the next 6 months. Box it up and put it in the garage, storage shed, a hall closet or even a rented storage space if necessary. You're going to have to pack it anyway; you might as well get an early start. Now that you've created some room in there, go back to my 3rd paragraph about facing the items in your pantry. You want to re-arrange everything until you have a neat sense of orderliness in the cupboards. When buyers open the cupboards and see some neatly arranged things surrounded by plenty of empty space, they're going to be struck by how roomy your home is. Why, their stuff will fit in here no problem! They'll have room to spare! They can buy more stuff! Never mind that you just spent an afternoon removing your excess stuff.

Bottom line: if buyers open your cupboards, pantry and closets to find some neatly arranged stuff and lots of empty space in which they can imagine putting their stuff.... well the job of selling them on your house is at least half done.

If the thought of all this organizing makes you want to poke your own eyes out, rest assured there are staging and packing companies who will do it all for you. Call me for their contact info. And put down the sharp scissors.