Packing Tips To Use While Trying To Sell Your Home


Selling your house for sale by owner (FSBO) can be overwhelming at times: You have to market it effectively, book appointments and negotiate the price and terms. But one factor can make the whole process a little smoother, and that’s starting your packing early. Not only will it make your home seem more organized and spacious to potential buyers, but it’ll remove an extra task from your list as you prepare to move after a successful sale. Here are common questions FSBO homeowners have about packing to move while they’re selling their home.

When Should I Start Packing?

David Giampietro, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Flatrate Moving, says thatit’s never too soon.“Packing is the most essential part of moving, so it’s important to get started early,” he adds, recommending that you start about a month ahead for a long-distance move and 2 weeks for a shorter move.

However, most people underestimate the amount of time it takes to pack a home according to Cate Griffing, a home decor blogger and the co-owner of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. “The moment you know you want to sell, you should start going through your belongings,” Griffing advises.

The extra time may be helpful, as you can more calmly assess what should be donated rather than packed, says Griffing. “The main idea behind packing early is to allow you to take your time with the process. It’s inevitable that rushing will lead to nothing but disorganization and unnecessary stress,” she adds.

But that doesn’t mean that you want your house to be totally empty. Giampietro says, “It’s fine to move out all personal items first, but leave key furniture items like a couch, dining table and bed, which will allow potential buyers to better visualize living in the space and develop a stronger idea of how their own furniture could work in each room.”

What Should I Pack Away First?

Kate Windleton, Relocations Manager for Strong Move, says that there’s so much you won’t need even if the home-selling process lingers longer than you’d expect. She recommends starting in the kitchen and emptying all your drawers and cupboards, then packing up tableware and kitchen appliances you don’t use on a regular basis. As an added bonus, a decluttered kitchen counter and cupboards can help make a good impression on the people who come to see your home. You also should take stock of your freezer and pantry, and then start consuming those items.

If you have two of the same item (such as two tables in the kitchen or living room), remove one and leave one, she suggests.

Pack books and photographs from shelves and bookcases, perhaps leaving just a few select items so the shelves don’t look barren.

In the bathroom, pack almost everything lurking in your drawers and the medicine cabinet. Put the appliances and cosmetics you use regularly in a caddy that you can stick under the sink to hide during showings. You also might want to make a basket of fluffy towels so they’re always clean and available.

In the bedroom, empty dresser drawers and your closet as much as possible. Start with out-of-season or special-occasion clothes and only keep what you wear regularly, purging along the way for maximum benefit.

But don’t forget to clearly label the boxes, Griffing says, adding that one time she had a problem when she was unable to read the scribbles she’d put on the boxes. “This made organizing the boxes by rooms a huge hassle because I was constantly having to check inside the boxes to see their contents.”

Where Should I Put The Boxes?

Try to move packed items out of the living areas so they’re not an eyesore in the middle of the home. If you have a new home already, it’s ideal to transport your packed boxes there and start putting dishes and clothes away. But that’s often not an option. The garage or basement can be decent locations for storing boxes, but prospective buyers are liable to be looking at those spaces during open houses and showings. Consequently, moving them completely offsite to a self-storage unit is an even better option.

Russell Volk, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Elite in Bucks County, Penn., says that you want to be cautious about looking too eager to go. “When buyers see that sellers are in the process of moving, they are far more likely to submit a lower-priced offer because they’ll assume that sellers are ready to go and therefore more open to negotiations.”

The goal through this process should be to pack what you can. Focus on how much your future self will thank you for the big head start on what can be an onerous task.