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2020 Staging Tips – Or, Spots in your Home You May not Have Thought Of…

Spring is here, and that means “For Sale” signs sprouting up almost as fast as tulips.  Once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, and showings go from virtual to in-person, it may be time to “up your game”!

Most sellers understand that some preparation is necessary to sell a house, but they often don’t expect how much work it really entails. We know the counters should be clear, and rooms should be neat, but what about the spaces that may not get photographed?

Home stagers like to talk about how selling is more about psychology than decorating. What “feeling” do buyers have when they walk through your house? The buyer wants to feel welcome when they enter a home.  This is very similar to how you prepare your home for a special party, detail your car when you want to sell it, or wear a suit to an interview. Do they feel like this house will give them a better life, or one the same or maybe worse than what they currently have? Stuffed linen closets, basements that are too full to walk through, cabinets that cannot close, and un-expected items in the master closet (scrapbooks, anyone?), can send the wrong message to a potential buyer.  These common issues might tell a buyer that the house is too small, or it has inadequate storage space.  No matter the size, if you can’t walk into your walk-in closet, it’s not a walk-in closet!

What about the clutter outside of the storage areas?  Mail on the kitchen counter, stacks of clothes in the bedrooms, open bookshelves packed to overflowing, collections and projects covering every flat surface – these are all sending the message that the seller isn’t ready to sell.  Even if they can see beyond the clutter, buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a house if they feel that the seller isn’t really serious. It might feel to them that you may change your mind or not be open to negotiations if they make and offer.

So, what can you do about it?  Off-site storage is an option, and it can come in handy if the storage areas in your house are minimal.  With this in mind, here are some ideas for staging the storage areas:

Basement – buyers do understand you will be moving, so having boxes in the basement is perfectly acceptable.  In fact, seeing them will also tell a buyer that you are ready to go.  Keep the boxes neat and against the walls, and away from the door/entry.

Linen Closets – Have you seen how Martha Stewart folds her towels?  Her website says: “A properly folded towel has a neat, fluffy appearance and hidden edges”. Towels should be folded in thirds, lengthwise, then in in half or thirds widthwise, depending on the length of the towel.  That way, different sized towels can look more uniform because you can control the width of the folded towel in the first step.  Stack like items together, like towels and sheets, and minimize the height of the stacks so they don’t tip. It sounds like a picky item, but it looks great when done this way!

Bedroom Closets (especially the Master Bedroom) – Wire hangers and dry cleaning plastic must be banished from all closets (“no wire hangers”)!  They are unsightly and they can even ruin your clothes.  Inexpensive white plastic hangers can make a closet look neat and uniform – and if you really want to get fancy – buy the wooden hangers (you can find good bulk deals at home and hardware stores).  Make sure only shoes are on the floor, and minimize the items on the top shelf.  A crowded top shelf, with a lot of items out of reach, could say the closet is too small and inefficient.  Finally, don’t store anything in your master bedroom closet except clothes and shoes.  Use other storage spaces for your books, luggage, paint cans (!), etc.

Kitchen Cabinets – Yes, buyers look through your cabinets, maybe not all of them, but at least the larger ones and the pantry.  You don’t need to have your spices in alphabetical order, but food containers with overflowing contents, sticky shelf surfaces, and over-sized items preventing doors from closing just won’t fly.  Kitchens sell houses, so make sure yours feels large, with plenty of storage space.

Garage – If you have a two car garage, then it should look like it!  It’s better to store things in the basement then to make your garage look too small for a Mini Cooper (especially in Colorado – the land of SUV’s).  If you have an extra fridge in the garage, it may be time to part with it.  If you can store larger “toys” off-site (and that includes those for the grown-up kids – like quads, etc.), that’s ideal.

Although it’s crucial to make the living areas feel warm and inviting first, never underestimate the importance of storage areas to a buyer.  A little extra work on those areas will help your home stand out, and sell faster.

And if you need a little assistance figuring out how to get started – give us a call! (720) 289-3986. We offer in-person (safe-distance requirements and/or mask policies will be followed), or even virtual staging consultations. They include a thorough room-by-room list to give you a detailed road-map so you can confidently prepare your home to sell. Call us for more information – thanks!

Welcome!

Welcome to the Abundantly Clear Design blog. We have moved AbundantlyClearDesign.com to this site, and will be doing new posts with pictures in the coming months. You can also find us on Facebook.com/abundantlyclear

Also – if you have any trouble with the links, please call us at (303) 322-5327 or check out our Facebook page (above).

We look forward to helping you with your home staging and decorating projects!

Earlier Decorating Projects

There have been a lot of projects since my last post, and a lot of other changes, too. Here are a few photos of recent projects (some staging, some decorating):Office Decorating

...with a standing desk.
…with a standing desk.

The dog approves.
The dog approves.

Mayfair staging - sold in 3 days!
Mayfair staging – sold in 3 days!

What to do when staging a home with a large hallway...
What to do when staging a home with a large hallway…

20140417_160158

What to do when staging a pink room...
What to do when staging a pink room…

Loveland staging - using their dining table.
Loveland staging – using their dining table.

Loveland staging
Loveland staging

Call us for any home staging or decorating needs you may have!

 

Working on it!

As the summer wanes, houses sell and staging items come back.  Kids return to school and moms start thinking about all of the “stuff” in the house.  So, I’ve been working on a lot of organizing projects, including one in my own home – thanks to all of the staging accessories coming back into my house! Some of the recent projects outside of my home include: a garage packed with various tools and automotive supplies (an impressive assortment) – and the best part is – they had chickens and ducks and goats – oh my!  They stayed in their respective areas – but I had fun paying them a visit after we were finished!   I also recently helped an art teacher organize her classroom just before school started.  My sister is an art teacher (and my mom was too), so it was a lot of fun working in such a familiar territory.  Other projects included working with a mom to organize and store baby clothes for when the next baby arrives, and setting up a closet for her new au pair. 

Some staging projects have been mixed in there, as well – but mainly a lot of items are returning… So, how does an organizer organize her own storage space?  Well, it’s pretty much there, but with some spill-over.  I’ll be clearing out anything that doesn’t currently have a home and adding a new shelf unit (the plastic ones from the hardware store are cheap and easy to assemble).  Then, I’ll do a once over to make sure everything that does have a home is in a good spot – and re-arrange as needed.  I’ll also pull out items that haven’t been used in a while and put them into the “donate” box.  The shelf should help get the extra items off the floor, and that will pretty much be it.  However, given that I’ll be organizing other people’s homes for the next few days, I may do this next week.   Yes, professional organizers are capable of a little procrastination, too!

Live abundantly clear!

Holly – (303) 322-5327

Organize to Economize

Anyone who’s been to the Organizing System Store (why advertise for them?) knows that getting organized is expensive!  Or is it?  True, storing items you aren’t using requires containers to hold them.  But wait!  Why are you storing items you aren’t using?  We all do it, and we all have very good reasons.  Perhaps it’s an item you use once a year, like around the holidays.  Perhaps it’s clothing that doesn’t fit, but once summer comes around, you plan to slim down to fit into that size XS sweater.  Huh?  Then there’s the “it may come in handy” items.  If you have the room to store these items, you’ll get no quarrel from me.  BUT, if you are finding that your daily quality of life is suffering because you have a layer of unused items, covered by a layer of often-used items, and they are starting to blend together in chaotic mess, then we need to talk.

Many people think they don’t have the money to get organized (“when I win the lottery – I’ll finally get organized!)  In this economy, we can no longer afford to be disorganized.  Buying a pair of shoes,  a shirt , or a food item and then later realizing you already had the exact same item, buried in the back of a closet or cupboard, could be costing you much more then the time it would take to get organized.   Misplaced items might as well be trashed items.  Some of my clients even lose money!  Many’s a time clients and I have found gift cards, checks, or even cash that they were looking for, or forgot they had!

We use about 20% of our belongings 80% of the time.  That’s just life.  The trick is making a conscious effort to be aware of what you are using and what you are not.  I have a sewing machine.  Do I use it every day, or even every month?  Not necessarily, but I have a home for it where it won’t get in the way of other things I use every day.  When I need it, I can set it up in 30 seconds and it’s ready to go.   It’s not about perfection, it’s about utility. 

Is your home organized enough to be functional?  You don’t need to spend money to contain every item you own.  You just need to make sure you are keeping a reasonable amount of items for the space that you have.  Organizing systems are useful when there is wasted space – but they are not the solution if you are unrealistic about what you need, what you use, and how much space you have.

One more note – when you decide to make a change, and you can’t do it on your own, ask for help.  We all have skill sets, we all have talents, and we don’t need to be perfect in all things.  Maybe someone else can help you with something that has been holding you back.

Live abundantly clear! – Holly