For townhouse owners looking to sell at a higher price, Marie Kondo might have the advice that seals the deal. The organizing guru sparked a global decluttering phenomenon, but the tips that make a home more livable also make it more sellable. A well-organized, well-staged townhouse not only attracts more buyers—it can also fetch a higher price. The National Association of Realtors estimates that for every $100 spent on staging, sellers can see a potential return of $400.
We always recommend professional staging, but when that’s not practical—for example, if you live in the home you’re selling—you can still reap the benefits of professional organizing.
We recently spoke with Laura Bostrom of Everyday Order, Jamie Hord of Horderly, and Faith Roberson of Organize with Faith, three home organizing pros in the New York City area, about which tidying-up tips make the biggest difference when selling a home. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Cut down to the essentials
All three experts agreed: a living-with-less mindset translates to a more aesthetic home, which will help it appeal to more buyers. “In today’s world, everything is accessible [to buy], so we easily accumulate,” says Hord. “Making sure to cut down to only the essentials is important.”
Roberson and Bostrom agree. “Keep what you can care for,” says Faith, while Bostrom emphasizes: “keep what you need, use, and love.” The fewer belongings you have to clutter your home, the easier it will be to maintain.
2. Use vertical space
Townhouses offer a perfect opportunity to utilize vertical space. In order to maximize a smaller area, put those soaring ceilings to use. “Use shelves, over the door racks, and stacking bins,” advises Bostrom and Hord. Use all the space around you to give buyers the full impression of your room sizes, ceiling heights and available space -- all of which can appear diminished with too much clutter.
3. Utilize current possessions as storage
If you still find yourself with too many possessions, save space by putting what you have to use. Faith Roberson recommends keeping objects that double as storage. “Use pitchers as vases. Mixing bowls as salad bowls. Find a way to repurpose what you already have to save you space.” Of course, it’s best to put anything that feels like clutter into storage.
4. Use color coordination and hand-written labels
Staging to sell doesn’t always mean minimizing to the max. Injecting a sense of “home” is part of what attracts buyers. “People want Pinterest-looking spaces,” says Roberson.
The latest trend in organizing evokes just that feeling: color coordination and hand-written labels. “People love the rainbow color coordinating pattern,” says Bostrom. Calligraphy labels add a sense of elegance to organization.
5. Maximize drawer space for a clean counter
One way to keep a room looking clean and organized is preventing clutter from collecting on your countertops. Appliances and utensils have a tendency to bury kitchen countertops. Bostrom recommends designating a location for your equipment in drawers and cupboards by using dividers and storage containers. Like a fresh coat of paint, clean countertops help buyers see a home worth investing in, rather than a reminder of the previous owner.
6. Consider “Zoning”
Zoning involves organizing a house around stationary objects. It’s a great way to make your space functional by keeping related objects together in a similar area. “It reflects the way people naturally move,” says Roberson. “The sink is a prep-place—so the cabinets near the sink are where your prep materials should go.” Keeping everyday objects in a single, functional place can keep your closets from cluttering and appearing smaller than they are.
7. What to organize next?
With all of this advice, be sure to organize more than just your closet or pantry. We asked each of these professional organizers which often-overlooked area they recommend organizing, and this is what they said:
“Under the bathroom sink. Be sure to maximize all your space.” -Laura Bostrom
“Bathroom, desk, and drawers. Beware: getting organized creates a domino effect on the others around you!” -Jamie Hord
“Front hall closet. This is a place that is overlooked which people don’t take seriously. Everyone fills it with something different, so the sky is the limit here!” -Faith Roberson
For more tips about how to prepare your home to sell, reach out to our agents at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team can give you neighborhood-specific advice about what buyers look for in your area.