When my husband and I were looking at houses, we once went through the home of someone with three champion German Shepherds. There were dog crates and toys and beds and show ribbons and trophies and leashes and brushes and dog shampoo and even commissioned portraits of dogs everywhere. Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. But at the time, my husband and I were young and about to start a family. We are both minimalists. We like clean, uncluttered spaces. It was not only hard to get past all the clutter, the fact that the house was not cleaned well did little to sell it to us. After all, we were about to have the perfect baby together and we needed a perfect house to put him in. It’s one thing to look beyond dated wallpaper, quite another to see an unflushed toilet and grimy counters and feel like you’re being welcomed home.
Time to put on your neat freak and learn how to stage your house!
- Get rid of everything that looks and feels like YOU! Put away family photos, piles of stuff related to your family’s amazing hobbies and extracurricular activities.
- Declutter and minimize furnishings to make your rooms look larger! Take everything off your counters and off the tops of beside tables, dressers, coffee tables and any other flat surface, except for absolute essentials and a few, new and absolutely fabulous decorative items. Have a hefty number of belongings or little to no storage space? Consider renting a storage unit.
- Clean the darn place! That includes baseboards, windows, walls, counters, the inside of your fridge, microwave, oven, cabinets and drawers, EVERYTHING!
- Put on a fresh coat of paint (and make sure it’s neutral). Many buyers like nothing more than seeing the entire place painted a light gray, white, or cream. This can give the appearance of cohesiveness and mimic that new, model home feeling.
- Hang new white or off-white towels neatly in all the bathrooms. Remember the colors of the towels at your favorite spa?
- Take TVs, gaming systems, and anything else that doesn’t look restful out of bedrooms.
- Declutter your closets and use matching hangers for everything. Overstuff your closets and it will look like there’s not enough storage space.
- Keep beds made nicely, and keep things and neutral and simple as possible, like you might find in a standard hotel room.
- Keep larger area rugs, but remove smaller rugs around the house. They make everything look smaller and more chopped up.
- Set the table with a simple, modern setting and a focal point in the center, such as fresh flowers or a row of candles.
- Open all shades and window treatments and turn on the lights. Have new treatments to hang? Place them near the ceiling to make the windows seem larger.
- Hire a landscaper to whip that yard into shape, edge the lawn and flowerbeds, mow the grass, rake, and trim the hedges.