Ah, spring. In many parts of the country, after months of protracted winter, spring signals the arrival of many long-awaited benefits: green grass, thriving flowers, a week of school break, the drawing near of summer. And this is truer nowhere than in real estate.

As lawns and landscaping begin to flourish, homes look better than they have in months. And even in areas of the nation where beautiful weather runs year-round, spring still brings increased interest in buying homes.

So, beyond planting flowers and trimming your hedges, what do you need to do to prepare a home you’re selling for spring interest?

In a word: declutter.

Now more than ever, it’s time to get rid of unnecessary clutter in your home, and here’s how.

1. Organize. This task will be easier if you break it down into manageable steps. So start with one room, any room. Then, in that room, start with one section: a bookshelf, a dresser, a cabinet, whatever. Pull everything from that section out and put like things together. (Example: all DVDs together and all CDs together.)

2. Evaluate. After you have all the items from that section pulled out in front of you and grouped into categories, figure out what you need to keep. If you use things (or legitimately plan to use them), keep them. If you don’t, get rid of them.

3. Purge. The stuff you will toss can go to several places. Does it have resale value? If so, look into eBay, Amazon or Craigslist. Would someone you like to have it? Give it away. If you can neither sell it nor give it to a friend, then the item should either go to Goodwill or a similar charity, or, if it’s in especially poor shape, it should be thrown away.

When you’ve finished with your first shelf or closet, congratulations! Step one, done! Now, move to the next section of your space, and repeat the steps. One area at a time, you’ll be able to work through your home and get everything in organized, efficient shape.

It hardly needs to be said, but the benefits of this task are numerous:

1. Order in your life. Imagine how wonderful it will feel to look for a book and know exactly where to find it, to go for a box of cereal and be able to pull it from the neatly stacked cereal shelf. Organization makes for a less stressful life.

2. Usefulness for your things. Through this process, unused possessions are either being discovered and used or given away to people who will want them.

3. Maximized selling appeal. Organized, clutter-free living spaces give your home’s quality characteristics the opportunity to shine. And make no mistake: sellers notice.

4. An easier moving process. After all, the whole reason you started this decluttering activity was to sell your home, right? When you do sell your home, you’re going to need to go through all of your things, packing them up, anyway. Why not shorten that process by doing a lot of the work now?