The principles of home staging (4 of 5)

I often hear from agents visiting my listings something along the lines of, “Your listings are always so beautiful.”


Obviously nice to hear but to set the record straight, it’s not that I am just cherry-picking the best properties to list — the fact that my listings show well has more to do with my clients’ understanding of the value of preparing their homes for the market, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and do the work needed to really make their homes shine.


This series of posts on home staging covers the advice I share with my clients to do just that. My last post covered *lightening & brightening* and today, I’m writing about...


Staging principle #4 – Declutter and depersonalize


As you can see, this galley kitchen has limited cabinetry and limited counter space. And most of us tend to have a lot of “stuff” in our kitchens, so you can imagine that my client did not regularly live with his counters as clear as they are in this shot. Normally, I believe there was a toaster oven, coffee maker, spice rack and a couple large jars of cooking utensils, not to mention that the cabinets were stuffed to the gills. So what you are seeing here is only half of the result of all the prep work my client did, which included packing up all his extra storage containers, seldom-used serving dishes, etc. and moving them down to his basement storage unit.


As I alluded to above, decluttering needs to also include the interiors of cabinets and closets. Otherwise, buyers may look at all of your things crammed in everywhere and worry that there is not enough storage space. This organized laundry closet you see below is a good example of what we’re aiming for.

The other step in the decluttering process is to de-personalize your home. This doesn’t mean stripping out all of the things that give your home life and character. It just means maybe taking down the wedding photo gallery wall, putting away your action figure collection… you get the point.


This lovely East Cambridge bedroom illustrates the point well, I think. My client put away the stacks of paper and bills that normally covered her desk, cleared her bureau of all the usual personal items people keep there — hairbrushes, bottles of perfume, framed pictures of family, college friends, etc. but left a couple candlesticks and the wall art. With the addition of some fresh flowers, the room was ready to show!


This next example is personal because it was MY former Central Square condo prepped to sell — ah, memories! Anyway, you can see that my style and personality are still somewhat reflected here, but I did remove a lot of additional framed photos from the counter top, stashed my dog’s bed and his little food station in the kitchen, that type of thing. In fact, I had a few of my agent friends come through my home before listing to get their advice on what should go, because when it’s your own stuff, it’s much harder to be the judge.


Stay tuned for the next and final post on probably everyone’s least favorite task — cleaning!


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