When we decided we wanted to sell our house, we also had to decide if we wanted to move out before listing or endure living there while it was on the market. After considering multiple options, we decided it would benefit us more financially to stay in our house while we were trying to sell it. This meant we would need to stage the house, which was something I was completely unfamiliar with. Aaron and I both did some research, and ultimately, this is how I would describe it in a nutshell.
The second you decide to stage, it is no longer your home – it is just a house.
A home is personal, cozy and an extension of your family and your style.
A house is welcoming but simple. Very open-ended and gives people space to imagine their own lives there.
To give some premise, we have a family of 4 living in this house – 2 adults, a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old. So yes, keeping a home pristine with two littles is no easy task, but it is doable.
With that in mind, here are my tips for staging a house while living in it.
Pack everything you do not use on a day-to-day basis
This includes clothes that are out of season (we packed all of our summer clothes), kitchen appliances and things that are not used every day. Ditch the laundry hampers and throw any dirty laundry immediately into the washer. If applicable, pack all the kid’s toys except their absolute favorites. This frees up space and makes it easier to straighten up.
Put everything in storage off the property
You’re showing the house, so you can’t shove all the extra boxes and furniture into another room, so you’ll need to get a storage unit or borrow some space from a friend or family member in the meantime. A major pro to this though is that when it comes time to move, packing won’t be a huge hassle.
Use what you have
I’m talking about food. You might have to get creative and forfeit extravagant meals, but try to use as much as you already have in your pantry and fridge. Not only will it save your grocery bill (which with moving is probably pretty slim anyway) but it will also help clear out space.
The idea is to make it seem like no one lives there, so that means taking down the photos. Potential buyers are looking at the house for them! And if they see pictures of your family, it could taint their ability to see themselves living there.
Don’t host things
We felt like it kept our house clean AND gave us the freedom to say “yes!” to every home show request we got.
Remember, it’s no longer yours! So arrange the furniture, decorate and clean in a way that appeals to others. Simple is best, but so is homey. Strike a balance!
And please please please don’t purchase things to decorate that you will never use or end up selling later. Try to find things you can use in your new house too or borrow items from friends and family.
Leave the house like it’s about to be seen… every time!
This really helped us. When we got up, we immediately made the bed. If we made a mess, we immediately cleaned it up. If we were going to run an errand or see some friends, the house was left in a state that we would be comfortable saying “yes!” if our realtor asked us if someone could stop by then and there. It limited stress and any unexpected trips home to pick up the laundry left on the floor.
Have a box or laundry basket handy
This is a trick our realtor shared with us. If you’re home and have someone wanting to see the house right then and there, you can pick up the floor and put everything in the box or basket and put it in your car with you when you leave.
I know it can be hard to find these balances and constantly have to keep the place clean with kiddos, but one thing I kept reminding myself was that this season was short lived and we’d soon be in our new house where we could decorate, personalize and leave a mess if we wanted to haha.