Prepped to Sell: Cleaning & Decluttering the Kitchen



Getting a home ready to put on the market can be a lot of work…especially if you hope to sell quickly and for a good price.  There’s no escaping the fact that it takes time and effort to make sure the entire house is cleaned, decluttered, organized and staged to look as appealing and attractive as possible to prospective buyers. To keep from becoming overwhelmed with the scope of the task, it’s best to break the project down into smaller steps. Let’s begin with the kitchen


Declutter & Clean…One Small Space at a Time…but Clean! Clean! Clean!

Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen must appear (and be) the most pristinely clean and sanitary possible.  Unfortunately, that kind of cleaning is hard to do with a bunch of clutter in the way.  Instead of making cleaning and decluttering separate events, combine the two tasks, but do them one small step at a time. 

  1. Start at one end of your kitchen and work your way systematically around the room, from the left to the right and from the top to the bottom.
  2. Empty out one shelf, drawer, or cabinet at a time, putting the contents on the counter or table to get them out of the way. Be sure to do this for the stove and fridge as well.
  3. Clean, Clean, Clean each area thoroughly and do a good job!
  4. Line the Shelves or Drawers
    • If needed, install shelf or drawer liners, but avoid contact paper. A washable, white, slightly-padded product such as Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner[i] is a good choice and will give that clean, pleasant appearance most buyers like.
  5. Be a Minimalist and Make Space
    • Only put back what you must have in your kitchen for the next few weeks while your house is on the market. Remember, less is more.  You don’t want buyers feeling as if the home is too crowded. Become a minimalist…at least temporarily.
  6. Merchandize
    • Make your pantry shelves look like the shelves in a store, with all the same canned goods together and lined up straight, with the labels faced out. Treat everything else in the cupboards and drawers in a similar fashion.
  7. Clear the Counters
    • Leave only the bare essentials on the counters. If the counters are full of small appliances, etc., buyers will think the kitchen is too small, so clear off the clutter, scrub thoroughly and add only a few items back for a beautifying touch.
  8. Under the Sink
    • Buyers will check under the sink. Apply steps 2-6 above on that under-the-sink space and you should be fine.
  9. Make the Fridge and Stove Shine.
    • Make sure both appliances are as clean and shiny as possible…all the way to the edges.
    • Install new burner pans on the stove, if needed, and replace any burned-out bulbs.
    • Be sure to use only non-toxic soap and/or baking soda and water on the inside of the fridge.
  10. Baseboards and Floors
    • Sweep the floors thoroughly and then get down on your hands and knees and scrub all of the baseboards. Use a scrub brush or a toothbrush, if necessary.  This is called “detailing” and Detailing Makes a Difference!
    • Clean the floor and then, depending on the type of flooring you’re dealing with, use a product such as “Mop & Glo” to leave a nice shine.[ii]

Selling a home as quickly as possible and for the best price takes planning and effort.  It’s a large job but applying a systematic approach (such as the kitchen strategy mentioned above) will help you accomplish your goal with less stress and greater success.

 by Beverly Pogue