In our profession, it’s easy to be tempted by the new hot properties that come to market. We oftentimes stage a home before it is even listed and let’s just say, some of these homes are unbelievable. But even with all the temptation, I’m (mostly) content with my current house and do not foresee a move in the near future.
However, that’s not to say that I don’t employ some of our home staging “do’s” in my own home, despite the fact that it’s not on the MLS. Currently, here are a few things I do in both staging and real life:
To Do #1 - White linens in my bathrooms
Bathrooms are extremely important rooms for potential home buyers and while we understand that it’s not always in the budget to renovate or update a bathroom, showcasing an impeccably clean and functional bathroom is a close second. Aside from putting in the time and energy to scrub your bathroom, using white shower curtains and towels gives the spa-like appearance of cleanliness. I always use white shower curtains and towels at my house and in preparation for guests, I throw them in the wash with some bleach so that they are extra bright white.
To Do #2 - Attractive baskets for storage/organization
We have STUFF, lots of it – in all shapes and sizes. I’d love to blame this accumulation of stuff solely on my children, but that’d be a lie. To combat this excessive amount of stuff, I have invested in an excessive amount of cute storage baskets. I use baskets for throw blankets, bathroom essentials, toys and office stuff. Baskets are perfect when you are staging your home for sale because they can hide away all your extras without compromising on style. Awhile back I rounded up some of my favorite, affordable storage baskets, which you can shop here.
To Do #3 - Clean, simple white bedding in my master
I absolutely love the look of white bedding in the master bedroom of a staged property. Similar to white linens in the bathroom, white bed linens remind me of staying in a hotel and give the appearance of a crisp, clean master. I have had many iterations of white bedding in my master but I finally splurged last year on John Robshaw bedding and I will never go back. I certainly do not use as many pillows and layers as we do in our staging projects, but I will not compromise on white bedding.
If you're ever on the hunt for new neutral bedding, be sure to check out my blog post here, with some great options for light and crisp bedding.
To Do #4 - Minimal clutter on my kitchen counters
This last one could go either way, but MOST of the time, I keep my kitchen counters clean and clear of clutter. That’s not to say that I don’t have a coffee pot on my counter, but I try to keep most of our appliances and non-essential items packed away in cabinets. When my kitchen counters are clear (and my bed is made) I feel much better about, well, everything. If you are listing your home, it’s important to clear off your counters to demonstrate the cleanliness of the kitchen and again to show potential buyers that there is an appropriate place for all their belongings.
So yes, I am doing a few things well at home (by staging standards). But it’s probably not fair to leave it at that…here are some (many) strategies that I use at work, but neglect in my own home. I'm gonna call them "to don't's," which is clearly not a word but I'm going with it. And yes, these are all real pictures of my house - no judgment.
To Don't #1 - Overstuffed closets
Ugh, my closets are messy. Despite my best efforts to stay organized and rotate my wardrobe seasonally, I just can’t seem to find a system that works for me. If I were listing my home, I would remove all items off the closet floors and remove about 1/3 of the closet contents to show potential home buyers that there is in fact room for all their clothes.
To Don't #2 - Refrigerator littered with papers and personal affects
My kids love art and currently my refrigerator is completely covered with treasured pieces of work (and some not so treasured but still up there at the insistence of my kiddos). Each day we add more and more to the fridge and my poor magnets can barely keep them hanging. If I were listing my home, I would clear off my refrigerator, as well as extensively clean all interior and exterior surfaces of my appliances to showcase that they are in working order and valuable.
To Don't #3 - Bathtubs filled with toys and products
My five-year-old is obsessed with small animal toys and they are littered throughout our home. Seriously, the smaller the better and they are everything. She particularly likes to bring them into the bathtub so needless to say, there are about 1,000 Hatchimal pieces covering the tub. We also have product bottles here, there and everywhere and cups for dumping water. If I were listing my home, I would neatly organize the product bottles and move those pesky little Hatchimals to a decorative basket (see To Do #2).
To Don't #4 – My front door is in poor shape
It’s been on my to-do list for a long time, but I definitely need to replace my front door. Not only does it need a fresh coat of paint (which might be sufficient if I were listing), but the door handle is in a weird location and not super secure. A new front door is a bit of an investment, but it’s important to showcase that a house is in good working order and if the door to welcome a potential buyer is crummy then I cannot imagine they will be super excited to come in. Curb appeal, meaning both the home’s exterior, driveway/sidewalks and the landscaping, are just as important to buyers and should not be overlooked.
At the end of the day, we can’t all be perfect and I hope you take these to-do and to-don’t (??) lists simply a guide of some ways to get your house in order before you take real estate photos or list your home online. Even though I’m not selling, it would be nice to implement a few more of the good ideas into my everyday life so that I would feel a little more organized. But I’ll tell you this, there is no way I’m taking down my kids’ artwork from the fridge until that one day when one of our staging projects is just far too tempting to pass up 😊