Staging Your Home to Sell

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Decluttering & Minimizing Your Home as Part of Moving

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had time to blog and I’ve missed you all! If you’ve been following along, you know that we have been on a journey this year. Mid-April we finally decided now was the time to sell our large home and property, in order to downsize to a smaller home. We spent nearly five months preparing the home for sale and it is now on the market.

One of the first things I began doing was decluttering the home. I began decluttering in January, but the process ramped up in April and May as we prepared for a yard sale. And we’ve been decluttering and minimizing ever since.

Staging Your Home When You Are Ready to List

When we finished with all the repairs and renovations, we set about staging the home in preparation for listing with a realtor.

Staging a home is important if you want to achieve top dollar for your home. Your home is the biggest investment you have, so you want to sell it for the highest price possible in your market.

To begin the staging process, I went through the home room by room, removing all traces of us and our personal belongs. Family photographs, DVDs, CDs, photo albums, mementos – all of it was boxed up and put into storage. This gave me a blank slate to begin staging. As I blogged about recently, the purpose of decluttering and depersonalizing your home is so that potential buyers can envision their belongings in your home. That’s difficult for them to do if they see your photos everywhere they look, or little Johnny’s soccer trophies.

Once everything personal was out of sight, I began the process of staging. I put everything I thought I wanted to use in the living room and started looking at the items with a critical eye, deciding where they might look best. We have several built-in bookshelves in our home, so I wanted to stage those first in such a way that it highlighted the beautiful oak wood. I created vignettes on all the shelves making sure to leave plenty of room on each shelf. The goal is to draw attention to the bookshelves, and to leave enough space that the size of the shelves is the focus, instead of what’s on each shelf.

The tricky part of staging a home for sale is that if you still live there, you still gotta be able to live there! My office is a prime example of how I decluttered and staged but kept it a working office. Decorative boxes and baskets to the rescue! The decorative boxes are from the thrift store and they are holding office supplies, files that I need to be able to work in my business, and important documents we need to be able to access. You’d never know how hard-working the boxes are just by looking at them.

Just as with my office, the kitchen is also tricky. Eating out every night, in order to keep the kitchen tidy, just isn’t a practical option. I had already packed up a lot of kitchen items, so decluttering even more was not difficult. I’ve pared down everything we need to function in the kitchen and put it in baskets that are easily tucked away when we have a showing. I chose to leave a crock with wooden spoons and colorful kitchen tools out on the counter, as well as a bowl of citrus fruit for color. The kitchen table is often a dumping ground for us when we come in the door. Backpacks, tote bags, mail, the dog’s leash – all those things tend to get dumped on the kitchen table. In order to keep the table clean and tidy, we have committed to putting things up the minute we walk in the door. It’s becoming a habit and I love how having a clean table looks! The coffee bar is a place that I always keep tidy, so I merely added a small vase with white, silk roses and done.

The dining room is large, and we wanted to emphasize how large the room is. You can easily seat 12 people at our table with two leaves inserted. To keep the room airy, light, and looking as roomy as possible we chose to remove both leaves from the table. A simple burlap and lace runner, topped with a tobacco basket filled with a variety of items, finishes the look.

The master bedroom and bath en suite were also a bit tricky, since we do still live here. By removing all personal items and stowing them out of site, we have created a clean look for buyers to view. All personal items are stowed in baskets that can easily be pulled out and put away when the house is being shown to buyers.

The master walk-in closet was an area where we had already pared down lots of things when we prepared for our yard sale, and that made it was easy to stage the closet. Yes, even the closets need to be staged and ready for buyers to view. If you haven’t cleaned out your closets, buyers will wonder how much storage space your home has, because the closets seem tiny when crammed full of stuff. True story: one of the first houses we viewed while looking for a new home had every closet packed FULL to overflowing. And sure enough, I thought of this rule of thumb – clean out your closets!! 

I went an extra step and folded items on shelves super neatly and arranged all hanging clothes by color. That may seem excessive, but what happens when someone looks in the closet is that see how tidy everything is and how large the closet looks. They aren’t distracted by hangers that face every-which-way, or things half-hanging off a shelf. The time it took to get the closets ready wasn’t that long, and it’s super easy to keep things tidy.

While our home is on the market, we are living a minimal lifestyle in that many (most) of our personal items are either packed up and inaccessible at this time or stowed away. Here’s what I’ve discovered: this huge home is SO much easier to clean and keep clean with fewer things everywhere! Much less time is needed for dusting because there’s less to dust. Vacuuming is a snap since we’ve pared down on furniture in every room. My goal is to keep things as uncluttered and minimal when we move.

We are excited to be moving on to the next phase of our lives! I will continue to share our moving/downsizing journey with you, and lessons learned along the way. I’m honored that you are coming along on this journey with me, and I hope you will tell your friends to follow along too. 


Helping you create a beautiful home is what @Home with Sunflower Designs is all about. Each week we offer suggestions on ways to add beauty and simplicity to your surroundings, so that you and your family can enjoy your home. Until next time… #livecreatively!

Sunflower Designs helps you create a beautiful home one wreath and one space at a time.

Ann Bryant, Owner & Designer
Follow our blog @Home with Sunflower Designs

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