Why You Should Declutter Before the Stager Comes

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Real Estate

If you’re selling your home, you likely know that “staged” homes sell for more money than “lived in” houses.   That’s because staged homes look like how we WANT to live, rather than how we actually DO live.  Stagers can charge by the job or by the hour – so how do you make the best use of their time?


Declutter before the stager arrives. 


The stager is focused on making your home look its best for the photographer.  If you have decluttered sufficiently, the stager can focus on your space, not your stuff.  Remember: The first showing is always online, so the better it looks for the photographer, the more buyer interest you’ll attract. As an added bonus, your possessions will be neatly organized and accessible when you want them! Here’s how to quickly remove or reduce the amount of stuff you have in your home that you don’t want or use:  


 Go room by room.  Getting one space at a time done fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to continue.  Have a system that you will stick to and avoid “but firsts” (a “but first” is when you are packing, deciding what to give away, donate, or throw away – BUT FIRST you need to see if the outfit still fits, this is the book you told your mom about, this is the missing pillowcase from that sheet set, etc.).


First, set aside the items you need access to on a regular basis:  Your favorite work or casual clothes and shoes, your ordinary cookware, your daily toiletries.  When you are choosing these, separate out everything else so you know what stays and what goes.  Neatly put the “keepers” away – remember buyers open closets and cabinet drawers.


Next, pack items you know you want to keep but don’t need daily access to.  They should be packed in labelled boxes and stored out of sight.  This can be a garage, a basement, a friend’s house, or a storage unit – just not in your living areas where buyers will see them.  Pro Tip: Piling boxes in closets keeps buyers from seeing how much closet space your home really has.


Take what’s left and separate into a give-away and a throw-away pile.  Smaller items can go in laundry baskets or boxes.  Since these are all going somewhere that’s not your house, you can use one room as a “staging area”.  Organizations such as Vietnam Vets will often pick up unneeded items from your home on multiple occasions.  When you get a large enough pile, call for a pick-up.  Be sure to read their list to avoid surprises.


Once you have separated out the “throw-away” from the “give-away” items, your next move is a disposal strategy.  You can get a dumpster, see if your regular trash collection company will take, or call a junk removal company like College Hunks Hauling Junk or 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  You may pay a little more for a junk removal company, but they will come into your home and carry the items out to the truck so you don’t have to.


You should be down to what you need for daily life! What you’re taking with you is packed – and everything else should be gone.  NOW it’s time for the stagers to get your home photo-ready!