When staging a home to sell there are three main things that you can do increase your chances of impressing a buyer and making a sale. The idea is to disconnect yourself from the home and help others to envision themselves living there. This can be a really hard process for some people, especially if you have lived there for a very long time. The home contains the memories of your life but it is also a great way to let go and move on to your next home to create new memories. I have outlined the basic process for decluttering, depersonalizing and cleaning to stage below.
Since you are planning to move anyways, you can pack while you declutter. Any item that you remove from a shelf , table or closet can go directly into a box, it must be put somewhere and why not save the trouble of packing twice. I do recommend that you declutter as much as possible. Remove every trinket, knick knacks and chachka. Kitchen counters should be clear except for a couple small appliances. Toothbrushes and personal care products in the bathroom should be neatly tucked away. You will also want to tidy up drawers and cabinets as people do open these to see how much room and storage there is.
This is the part about disconnecting...the hard part. This is an essential step that you must take. Buyers want to be able to envision themselves living in the home and this can be nearly impossible if they see photographs of other children, grandchildren, parents and friends. To depersonalize you must remove every photo of anyone. Take down your child's finger painting from the fridge or wall and put away for safe keeping. If you have a central message board or organizer on the wall clear all details, remove all items and hide any piece of mail, especially bills. Any large collection should either be downsized or removed altogether. Last but not least, make sure any personal, risky, or offensive item are hidden very well.
I leave this one for last because if you declutter and depersonalize first you will ultimately have less to clean. This is probably the cleanest your house will ever be as you must scrub every last inch and wipe things you would never consider touching. I decided to compile a list for each room as there are so many things to consider.
- Tub, sink, toilet...obvious
- scrub floor
- wash or replace shower curtain
- scrub glass shower doors
- scrub grout lines and bleach if white
- wipe underside and bottom of toilet
- wipe outside of tub
- wash walls as moisture can cause a streaks
- wipe inside of medicine cabinet and storage under sink
- Windex mirrors
- dust light fixtures
- wipe counters, back splashes and cabinet doors
- polish cabinet hardware
- clean every inch of appliances including small appliances
- wipe the inside of the fridge
- dispose of any rancid food or garbage
- wipe inside of cabinets and tidy pantry and dishes
- scrub floor
- dust light fixtures
- clean on top of cabinets
- clean under sink
Every other room
- do not leave any clothes laying out
- make beds
- clean inside and outside of windows
- do not leave dirty dishes laying out
- hide TV remotes
- wipe baseboards
- wash walls
- scrub or vacuum floors
- dust cobwebs from ceiling
- dust or wipe hard surfaces
- vacuum furniture
- put children's toys and pet toys away
- dust décor
The initial big clean is the most time consuming. Once you have done this you will need to make sure to tidy up everyday or complete a deep clean before each showing. There are also a couple other things that you can do which make for a more inviting space like putting fresh cut flowers on the table or lighting a delicious incense oil.
Decluttering, depersonalizing and cleaning can all be done for free if you are on a tight budget and can greatly improve your results to sell quicker. There are also other cheap ways to improve the staging of your home but I will leave that for another day.