You hear a lot of realtors talk about staging your home, and you wonder, how much does that cost? I am here to tell you, home staging costs you nothing! Here are a few ideas that will get your home ready to sell.
I tell my clients to think about it this way, if you can classify it as a knick-knack, as my sister would say, needs TLC, or it is a picture of Uncle Bob (no offense Uncle Bob but a buyer does not love you as much), you may need to rethink the placement of that item. You are going to be moving soon so why not go ahead and pack these items away. Depending on how much "stuff" you have in a given room, this may be an afternoon project or a weekend project, but you must set a deadline so you get your house on the market as quickly as possible.
You will want to start by eliminating any actual trash out of your room, such as papers you don't need, manuals for items that you no longer have, broken items, etc. Then, literally pull everything out of drawers and closets and go through them. Set up empty boxes marked for donations, papers for shredding, and items for transport to your new home. Get rid of items that haven't been used in a year, don't bring you joy, or you are keeping out of a sense of obligation. You may find that you have several of the same item, and you can donate the extra. For example, it would require my mom to get rid of the ten extra pairs of black pants she has that all look the same or me to get rid of the ten pairs of fleecy socks I get for Christmas each year. Decluttering will free up space in closets and drawers making it look like your house has tons of storage.
Once your drawers and closets are neat and organized you can move onto the items people will see. Always keep in mind that simplicity is the best, so a bookcase filled with everything but books, a curio cabinet filled with collectibles, or even a kitchen counter cluttered with appliances can lead a buyer to assume there is no storage in the house.
Shop your Home
You have likely heard from stylists you can update your wardrobe by shopping your own closet. The same applies to your home. Shop pieces from other rooms that can be used in another space. For example, an over-sized dresser may make your bedroom look small and cramped but pulled into a large dining room it will make a nice buffet and provide additional storage for some of the items you normally keep on your counters. Another idea is to take an ornate mirror that you may no longer use and place it in the powder room to upgrade a basic, frameless mirror. The buyers will be impressed by the attention to detail. Additionally, what about that recliner that has been well loved and the dog secretly sits in when you are not home? Think about replacing it with the decorative chair you may be using in the master bedroom.
It is also important for your home to have what the majority of buyers are wanting. Right now with many people working from home, creating a work space in the kitchen or dining room may add value for a buyer. You could create the space by using a former entryway table and an extra dining room chair. Alternatively, if you have a room that acts as a multipurpose room, stage a part of it as a home office.
Whatever creative ideas you come up with, remember that furniture placement is important. You want your home to feel open, bright, welcoming, and easy to maneuver through. If you read my past posts, then you know adding textured pillows, rugs, throws, and curtains will add personal decorative touches without adding clutter.
Minimize the Decor
Now that your home is decluttered and the furniture has been perfectly placed, you can move on to the decor. Now is the time to address that old-fashioned curio cabinet or that packed out bookcase. I have to admit I am one of those people that collects cute little mice figurines, so I know I am not the only one who has collectibles. The key is to not group them together into one cabinet, but stage them throughout your home as decor. Choose the top 5-10 and go ahead and pack the rest. You can apply this technique to glassware, doll collections, tea cups, or whatever you may collect. However, let's agree if it is a pez or bobble-head collection, it just gets packed up for the move.
Bookcases can be trickier to stage. You want to add taller pieces in the back with smaller pieces up front, tall thin pieces on one side with books and a knick-knack on the other side, or just one large item on a shelf, but the key is to not overfill the shelves. Using a collective doll beside a vase of flowers, books beside a decorative bowl, or a little mouse setting on books beside a picture are all options to display both your books and your decorative items.
If you are one of those people that doesn't keep a lot of stuff around, you can use everyday items from around the home or from nature. This time of year is a great time to pull in some fresh cut flowers or some decorative branches that have fallen off over the winter along with a vase you already have. Another idea is to use colorful food items. A bowl of lemons will add instant color to an all white kitchen.
I hope you find these ideas helpful even if you are not selling! A neat, clean, and decluttered home is calming and reduces stress. Having moved over ten times throughout my career, I assure you it does get easier if you follow these ideas. Please let me know what other ideas you have by leaving a comment.