6 Things My Home Stager Told Me to Get Rid of Before Selling My House

published Feb 9, 2022
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Along with so many others across the U.S., the pandemic shook my family up to the point that we realized we needed to make a big change. In our case, the change was moving — which meant saying goodbye to the home I thought I’d raise my family in.

The emotional upheaval was intense, but eventually, I was able to not only trust the process but learn from it. And I don’t mean just ethereal bigger truths. I mean feet-on-the-ground, perspective-shifting, practical stuff — like how to edit our home to appeal to the average homebuyer. 

As we were getting our home ready to show, we worked with a home stager, Monica Collins of Snapshot Staging. The insight I gained from her applies to anyone getting ready to stage their own home. Along with higher-level staging tips, such as decluttering the entire house and removing window treatments, here are six things our stager says you should remove from your house before selling.

Personal Photos 

You should take down all the photos you have on display for a couple of reasons. First, for your family’s privacy and safety — it isn’t a good idea to have photos of the kids online along with their address. Second, taking family pictures down depersonalizes the house, allowing potential buyers to envision themselves in the home rather than thinking about the family that used to live there. Collins also advised us to pack up photo albums if we didn’t want people looking through them. (Yikes.)

Musical Instruments and Other Valuables

To keep items safe from theft, pack up musical instruments, jewelry, and other valuables. If you have instruments hanging on the wall, take them down before pictures are taken. 

Most Area Rugs and Bath Mats

In addition to possibly showing up dingy in photos and even in person, area rugs can hide nice floors and make rooms seem smaller than they are. Removing rugs makes everything feel cleaner and opens up rooms so people get an impression of open space. This is especially true in bathrooms, so pick up those bath mats and store them elsewhere. Empty floors look clean and make even these small spaces look roomier. 

Extra Bookshelves

Along the same lines of helping your house look spacious, remove any bookshelves you can easily get out of your rooms. For instance, we had a small one near the door of our girls’ room that held board books and art projects. Packing this up and removing the bookshelf made the room feel more open as soon as you stepped into it. 

Plants That Don’t Look Perfect

Shhh, don’t let your plant babies hear, but any plants that don’t look like they could almost be fake should be taken out of the house. Again, you don’t want any tiny thing to distract from the appearance of your house — not even a brown-tipped leaf. If you have an abundance of plants, consider thinning out your collection so plants look like a thoughtful accent rather than the star of the show, which is your house. 

Anything Too Colorful

This isn’t the time for your personal taste to shine. Instead, remove any items that are too bright, including art, pillows, shower curtains, and other decor. Making your home’s palette as neutral as possible allows potential buyers to “fill in” your home with their own belongings. 

Encouraging potential buyers to see themselves in your house is what it’s all about, and these staging tips can lead them to do just that.