Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clutter (of Any Kind) Will Kill A Deal

Clutter (of Any Kind) Will Kill A Deal

By Ellie Marshall

Yesterday, I was doing a Feng Shui consultation in a client's home, a beautiful duplex apartment on Park Ave, in NYC. Gorgeous apartment.... except she had a clutter problem with pictures & books.
Don't get me wrong, the apartment was decorated to the nines; but on every table was a sea of pictures. On every chair, under desks, on ottomans...well, you get the picture, were books. It was a true hoarders dream come true. My client has a clutter problem.

Clutter comes in many forms. Some people who clutter, specialize in collecting only one or two category of items- i.e. books & pictures. But believe me, this is just as toxic as accumulating random items. Just because things are stocked in nice, neat piles, does not overcome the fact that it is still clutter.

The apartment had a heavy, dense feeling because it was housing so much clutter. It is a very large duplex, but the rooms that housed the endless sea of pictures and books looked smaller and felt tight. Yes, the client had bookshelves. Many custom made, beautiful bookshelves in three rooms. But the books were sprouting up in neat piles all over the floor.

As a Feng Shui practitioner, my job is to address clutter with my clients, help them work through it and move it out of their lives. When she told me she was about to put the home on the market, more of a red flag was raised in my mind. Clutter devalues a home. Clutter kills deals.

I would like to share with you some of the ways I work with my clients to successfully part with their clutter.

  1. Start the process by helping them eliminate a little of the clutter. Then, tell them to keep up the process with a friend or housekeeper or even a professional (Feng Shui practitioner, professional organizer).
  2. People are very attached to their items, so suggest that they should try living with less for a few months. Tell them their items are "going on a vacation". (I am not kidding) This type of wording, I have found, helps them severe the ties and is very effective to ease them into removing unused items.
  3. Remind the client that moving with items that are no longer used will end up costing them money. The reality is: moving is expensive. The more you move, the more it will cost you.
  4. Assure them there items will get a second life somewhere else. Explain that there are people in the world who could really use and would treasure your old items. This makes the client feel better and helps expedite the process.
  5. Be Prepared! Have phone numbers of services that will remove the items from the client's home. This could be: The Salvation Army, A local chapter of The Boys & Girls Club of America, local library (for books), Junk Removal Companies (LIKE 1-800-got
By understanding the attachment your seller has to his clutter, the better equipped you are in helping him clean up and clear out his home. This of course makes your listing a cleaner, lighter, brighter home that will sell.

Ellie Marshall has studied with the most respected masters in the art of Feng Shui. She blends her Feng Shui training along with her corporate background at Seventeen Magazine and American Express, which make her a truly unique, intuitive Feng Shui Practitioner. Her area of expertise is working with and teaching large corporations, such as PepsiCo, Crain's Investment News & Houlihan Lawerence. She does on site residential and commercial consultations all over the world. She lives in Westchester County,NY and has a strong client base in New York City, Westchester and Fairfield County. During her 1982 visit to China, she was honored by receiving a private tour of the Forbidden City & a rare, old Feng Shui book from a Feng Shui Grandmaster. Her love of this ancient art was then kindled.

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