So, Your Stager Says To De-clutter. Now What?
Most people are not able to view their home objectively. The home that we live in is not the same as the one that you have listed. Once you list, your home is now a "product", and in order to sell that product, it needs to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. So- the red wall must go! Yes, you love it, but do you want to sell your home or is it more important to show your design style?
That's where a Home Stager can really help. A home stager's job is to get your home to appeal to the masses. In addition to highly recommending painting over the red walls with a neutral color, a home stager is there to help you see what a potential buyer will see when they walk through the door, which is often times not what the home owner sees.
The single biggest obstacle home stagers face is telling their clients that most, yes most, of their things need to go. Most people take this as an insult. It is not. Ask any home stager if their home is "list ready" and most, if not all, will tell you that it is not. The way we live in a home is not the same as when that home is listed.
We want potential buyers to be able to envision living in your home without being distracted by the things in that space. You may love the bookshelf full of your favorite books and trinkets, or you may love your collection of porcelain plates that are hung on the wall, but those things don't mean anything to them and are seen as a distraction. Below I have listed a few of the most common recommendations by stagers for decluttering. Taking care of these items before you list will take weeks and/or months off of your days on market.
1) Remove HALF of the clothes in all closets. Yes, half! Closets are a very important aspect of home buying. You want yours to look clean, tidy and large. Take out all clothes that are not in season, remove all shoes other than ones you wear weekly, and make sure everything is folded neatly. You want to have at least 1/3 of the closet un-used.
2) Clear out Cabinets - People will be looking into your cabinets and cupboards. If your pantry does not have at least half of the space free, pack up everything but the most essential daily items. Remove all of the un-matched coffee cups you have collected over the years and stick with a set that matches. Clear out cabinets under sinks and counters and make sure half of the floor space is left open.
3) Have a stager come and tell you what furnishings and accessories need to be packed up. Less is more when listing your home and sometimes it is important to remove items in order to make spaces appear larger. Too many furnishings makes a space feel cramped.
4) Have at least one or two drawers and shelves per area empty. Make sure you can still see the bottom of drawers and that shelves have only one or two items on them, preferably matching or similar in color, concept, size, etc.
5) Remove all extraneous items by the front door, decks, yard, etc. Again, we want potential buyers to see the home itself, not the collection of miss-matched planters, ladders, bikes, or any other items that tend to get stored at the side or rear of the home. Fresh, clean, move-in ready is what we are aiming for, but homes that have a lot of random items all over looks like a home that has not been well cared of.
And most importantly-
6) Rent a storage unit to store all of the items that are boxed up and ready to go to your next home. You will have to pack these items up at some point anyway, so why not purge now and have less work to do later when you are racing to get out by closing? The cost of a storage unit is pocket change compared to the cost benefits of de-cluttering. Really!
7) Consider having a garage sale. Getting rid of items you will not be using in your next home is very freeing. Going into your next home with only things you love or regularly use will be worth the effort of a garage sale. When the garage sale is over and there are items left (there always is), contact a company such as the Salvation Army to come and remove them.
If all of this feels overwhelming, and it can be, hire a company or person who specializes in moving and/or organization. It will be well worth it!