I have heard this from many people. Whenever a person is putting his/her house for sale on the market, he/she will consult a Realtor (mostly, even though there are people who try to sell their houses by themselves to avoid paying the commission). And the first thing the Realtor does is to tell them what all to fix before putting on the market. The second thing is to declutter. No Realtor would want to represent a Seller whose house is filled with stuff. Come to think of it, the beauty of the house will not be visible unless it is clutter free.
I have seen people spending more than half a million dollars to buy a house and I have seen the same house look like crap within a year. I have seen many other houses which have been occupied for 10 + years but is very clean and organized.
Perhaps this is the time to appreciate Garage sales and Good will like organizations who run thrift stores. Lot of people may think Garage sale is not worth it and it is too much of work. It is actually not to make money, but to keep the beauty of the house intact. If you are too busy to have a garage sale, just donate all the extra stuff/unused stuff to one of the donation places. Purple heart actually comes to your house to pick up the stuff. How easy can that be?
Coming to the point of decluttering the house, here is my opinion about it. Take a tour of your home. Go from one room to another with a notepad, a pen. Look at all the stuff that is there. Don't forget the closets, cabinets. Remember when you used them last. If there is anything that you have not used for a year, it might not need to be present in that spot. If there is something that you haven't used for more than two years, it is time for it to leave your house. That is my thumb rule. Make up your own. There are many things which are an exception to any of these rules. Show pieces, art works etc. I am not telling you to get rid of them.
Lot of times there are stuff in our homes which are not being used because of its location. If you have a toaster in your bed room, what purpose does that serve? Obviously it won't be used at all. If there are misplaced items like this, put them into proper place. That will take care of most of the things. It is not smart to go buy something just because you couldn't find it. It just adds to the clutter.
When you move from one room to another looking at what to get rid of, make a list of the items which, you might want to hang on to. For example, I have lot of cake pans. Almost all sizes and shapes which, I do not use regularly. For that matter, I have cake pans that I have not used for 2 years. Should I throw them out? Definitely not. Because, I am sure I will be needing them later if not now. I have a big box (actually couple of boxes) to store them in the basement. If your basement is not finished, it doesn't matter. Buy couple of shelves and place the extra stuff in there. If you are from a place where there are no basements, use attic or whatever extra space you have.
Let's talk about kitchen. Kitchen is basically comprised of three main categories. Ingredients, Cooking pots, pans, serving dishes and gadgets. Sort through the ingredients. Place whatever you use everyday in an easily reachable place. Ingredients that you use occasionally takes a little less easily reachable place. There are ingredients that you use couple of times a year should go to the high cabinet to reach which, you will have to use a step stool or a chair. (I am 5' 6", but even I need to use step stool sometimes to reach the top cabinet). Next comes the dishes. Even though you might have tons of dishes, you will tend to use the same stuff again and again. Keep those easily reachable and the rest as per priority.
Gadgets are an entirely different story. People buy so many gadgets and hardly use them. I have a food processor, a small indoor electric grill, a waffle maker, weighing scale all of which are in a shelf in the laundry room. Mixer, a wet grinder on a counter outside the kitchen area (it is called butler pantry). I have an ice cream maker, a sandwich maker which I use couple of times a year and they are on a shelf in the basement. The only gadgets I have in the kitchen are blender/mixie, spice grinder, a hand mixer, a toaster and a pressure cooker (if you call that a gadget).
Decluttering goes to clothes too. If you are hanging on to some clothes that you will fit into after you lost 20 pounds, either get in shape or get them out of your closet. I have two boxes in each kids' room to hold outgrown clothes. When my older one outgrows her clothes, they go into the box in her closet. When it gets filled, I sort out and save some for my younger one and donate the rest. When my younger one outgrows something, they go into the box in her closet and as soon as it is full, I dump them into a bag and take to a thrift store to donate. Check your closets. I can bet that you will at least have one bag full to throw or donate.
You are the one to make the decision as to how you want to declutter your house. No one can tell you what to keep and what to throw.
Hope this helped someone.
If your house is clutter free, leave a comment how you maintain that. If not, get to decluttering your house as soon as possible.