Secrets for Staging a Home

It sometimes take a long while to sell your home or find a new one you love. It always seems easier to imagine yourself in a new space when it's clean, sleek and simply decorated. Here are my favorite tips for making your home show-ready:

1) Clear the counters (and fridge door). Removing these small piles makes a huge difference. Kitchen counters should have minimal appliances, fruit bowls and gadgets. Bathroom counters should be limited to soap pump/dish, cup, hand towel and perhaps a decorative item or two, if the bathroom is large enough.

2) Remove the family photos and kid's drawings. It's harder for a stranger to imagine himself living in your home if there are photos of your family and your kid's drawings on the walls. The goal is to have your home look as close to a department store as possible. You know, because someone is shopping around... for a home.

3) Get rid of stacks of paper. Not by stashing it all in a drawer or box in the closet. NOT that. Toss out the trash. Shred the things that have personal info on it, but you no longer need. File the rest. In files. Not a random box on the closet floor.

4) Streamline closets. You don't have to sort and purge the whole thing if you don't have time. Hang clothes on hangers neatly. Color coding or hung by item type is a plus. Linen closets get the same treatment. Fold clothes on shelves or built-in drawers so they are stacked nicely. If you have them readily available, matching hangers are a bonus.

5) Pack up knick-knacks and keepsakes. Keep book shelves as open and uncovered as possible. Pack up items that are personal, but not aesthetically beautiful, with the photos and artwork. If you have an appropriate collection to keep out, do so. If not, pack up collections, as well. Label the boxes and move them to storage area on or off site.

6) Hide those toys. Utilize baskets, bins and storage ottomans to hold toys. If there are items that are not current favorites, pack them up and put in to storage with the knick-knacks. Depending on how long you anticipate your home to be on the market, you may want to pack up more than you think. If it may be awhile, keep some in a bin tucked away to make it easy to bring out between showings, but tuck away before potential buyers stop by.

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