Q: We will be selling our house in the spring, and I want to do some serious decluttering in preparation. But my husband thinks we don't need to do a thing except lock up all the valuables in one of the bedrooms during open houses and hold an estate sale after we move out. We have so much stuff we don't use. Can you help please?

- J.M.
A: I have a rule at my house: If I don't love something, I won't keep it around. A lot of us keep things we don't use simply because we can. If our house is big enough, or we don't need to move, and it doesn't seem to be in the way, many of us simply accumulate items until we have to do something.

Selling your house is a great reason to do some deep cleaning, especially at the end of the year. Prepack, sell, or donate a lot of your possessions - you're going to pack it up at some point, anyway. And you might get a big write-off resulting from your donations. Ask your accountant about how to document everything to maximize your write-off.

When it comes time to sell, you should understand that a buyer needs to see your house. Don't leave the door to one room or closet locked. Without a doubt, buyers will either think the worst or get really curious and will open the door anyway.

To many buyers, a cluttered house registers as not enough storage. Definitely, clean out every nook and cranny, leaving some shelves and drawers in the kitchen completely empty. This will help buyers envision how much space there is.

For your own protection, clear out valuables and old files, especially during open houses. While most people aren't interested in your sock drawer, visitors can take advantage and root around for jewelry, folders full of bank or credit card information, or electronics, including laptops, cameras, and other equipment. Don't tempt anyone.

Hopefully, this will make sense to your husband.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.

To contact her: AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com@JenniferAdams