What To Do Before The Stager Comes

If you’re planning on selling your home you’ll have to eventually pack and move. Right? Think of staging as doing the packing and moving part early.  And since the U.S. Housing & Urban Development states that on average a staged home will sell for 17% higher than a home that is not staged, that early packing will also make you plenty of money. Here’s a basic list of items that are on just about every client staging report that I’ve ever seen. Knock these items off you’re to-do list and you’ll be 90% there!


1. Power wash your home, pathways, decks, porches.

2. Clean all windows and screens inside and out. (Remember to power wash first!)


1. Clean, clean, clean, and then clean again. I’m talking q-tip clean.

2. Remove any objects that block windows, doors, or pathways to create an easy and relaxed flow.

3. Pre-pack all items that are irreplaceable or hold sentimental value.

4. Pre-pack all style specific artwork, and cultural or religious artifacts (i.e. crosses, kimonos, doll collections, toy collections, etc.).

5. Remove all artificial flowers, plants, and hanging baskets.

6. Remove all dried flowers unless of very high quality.

7. Only keep selective live plants and flowers that are in perfect condition. No more than one or two per room.

8. Pre-pack all family photos.

9. Remove daily clutter from the home (i.e. medications, bill holders, telephones, alarm clocks, etc.).

10. Shampoo all carpets and steam-clean tile flooring.

11. Clean and dust light fixtures.

12. Replace any light bulbs where needed.

13. Apply neutral paint color on all walls.

14. Remove all nails not in use then spackle and touch up the paint.

15. Apply touch up paint to walls, baseboards, doors, door jambs, and crown molding where needed.

16. All lights should be on for showings (even closet lights).

17. All blinds should be drawn for showings. You want to let in as much light as possible. (Unless window looks out to an unattractive view.)

18. Make sure that home temperature is comfortable (i.e. If it’s cold outside, aim for a cozy 68 degrees, and turn on the fireplace. If it’s hot outside, show off your air-conditioning.).

19. Whenever possible open windows (weather permitting) an hour or two before the showing to let in fresh air. Close windows before the showing.

20. Play soft music for showings. Smooth jazz or classical music are always safe bets.


1. Clear all items and clutter off of any ledges.

2. Clear all items that detract from flow (i.e. coat racks, shoe storage, umbrella holders).


1. Remove all items from countertops other than a high-end coffee pot, Kitchenaid stand mixer, cookbook and stand, etc.

2. Remove all items from the front of the refrigerator (i.e. magnets, children’s artwork, schedules, etc.).

3. Edit and organize any cabinets with glass fronts.

4. Pre-pack anything in kitchen cabinets and drawers that you don’t need. The goal is to make the cabinets and their storage capabilities to seem ample and organized.

5. Remove kitchen command center (i.e. landline phone and answering machines, directories, mail, bills, etc.).

6. Clean out all unused food from pantry, remove everything from pantry floor. Again, you want to show off storage capabilities.

Family Room/Living Room

1. Move any furniture that blocks or restricts flow. Less is definitely more!

2. Pre-pack all books except for those edited for a library or bookshelf.

3. Stage coffee table with three large coffee table books edited for content and that match color of sofa.

4. Leave one or two board games for staging.

5. Remove all family photos.


1. Remove all excess furniture especially anything that blocks access and flow.

2. Dress all beds with neutral bedding. (Children’s rooms may have children’s bedding).

3. Dust and edit all built-in bookshelves.

4. Remove all personal pictures.

5. Remove all exercise equipment.

6. In children’s rooms pack away all but one or two stuffed animals.


1. Remove all items from countertop.

2. Keep white towels, glass jars, soap dispenser and basket for staging.

3. Remove all reality items (i.e. toothbrushes, skincare & hair products, makeup, etc.).

4. Remove all items from the floor (i.e. trash can, toilet brush, area rugs, etc.).


1. Pre-pack all seasonal items that are not needed or in use.

2. Remember: The goal is to make the closets/storage look large and ample.


1. Put items stored in your garage in storage.

2. Pre-pack all but essentials. Your garage should look roomy and capable of housing your cars.

3. Leave touch up paint for the new buyer.

4. Hose down the interior to rid of spider webs, bugs, dirt, etc.

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