The Easiest and Cheapest Way to Stage Your Home to Sell

Home staging typically removes personal mementos, religious objects, and cultural items, helping prospective home buyers to feel at ease and to visualize their own belongings in the space. If you are a home seller, the good news is that there is one sure-fire, simple, inexpensive way to supercharge your home staging efforts – organize!

However, organizing and decluttering aimlessly isn’t enough. It’s essential to organize with one goal in mind, and that is to create a sanctuary where potential home buyers can easily imagine themselves living, working, and playing for years to come.

Here are the top five residential “trouble spots” for clutter, and what you can do to organize them.

1. The home office

The problem: Big libraries with books, magazines, and files as well as big electronics like computers, printers, and shredders mean little extra, usable space.

The solution: Toss magazines and newspapers first, as they are normally the easiest to part with and will give you a motivating “win” to start. Give away unwanted books to charity. Switch out a desktop computer for a laptop, opening up more room. Dust, label, and arrange the computer cables in an attractive manner.

2. The bedroom closet

The problem: Closets always look too small, especially to the ladies.

The solution: Remove out-of-season clothing and accessories, and place them (neatly!) elsewhere in the home or a storage unit. Relocate or purge any items that don’t belong in a clothes closet, like sports equipment, papers, and junk. Then situate the remaining in-season items as if on display in your favorite store or magazine.

3. The kitchen

The problem: As the heart of the home, the kitchen sees high-traffic volumes – and it normally looks worse for wear.

The solution: Make your kitchen into an orderly command center. Remember: you want to make sure that your kitchen has everything you need to survive a crisis, not that your kitchen has just survived a crisis. Remove any small appliances you don’t use on a daily basis. Chuck the junk mail, and use a tidy basket to hold bills and other essential paperwork. Clear the table and counters of anything “cluttery.”

4. The garage

The problem: The garage is a catch-all for… well, everything.

The solution: Pull everything out of the garage, purge the clutter, and then separate the remaining items into categories like auto accessories, camping equipment, yard tools, recycling containers, etc. Find a home for and use tasteful storage to display each category. The key to organizing a garage is to make use of the elevated space, like the walls for storage racks and ceiling for a false attic.

5. The yard

The problem: It’s easy to ignore the dead patch of grass in the backyard because you have more pressing matters, but the outside of a home is reflective of the inside of a home.

The solution: Have a “discovery session,” where you walk around your house making a list of necessary outdoor improvements. Then schedule a daily to-do on your calendar, or outsource the tasks, until all items are crossed off.

Bonus: The details

The problem: If the would-be home buyer discovers you’ve skimped on the details, it takes the trust out of the buyer-seller relationship. Prospective home buyers will be quick to judge your house, both inside and out, for any flaws. Following the above organizing tips could reduce your listing time on the market and help your house fetch more than one not properly staged.

by Carmen Coker

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