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Blog: Organize This!
Staging Your Home to Sell-Part 1

Hello Organizing Fans, Welcome to 'Organize This!' I'm your blogger, Vali Heist, professional organizer for homeowners and businesses.
This is the blog that offers practical organizing tips and ruminations about your CRAP! CRAP specifically means clutter that robs anyone of pleasure. So, let's get to it!
My rumination about CRAP today is selling your home and what it takes in this economy to sell it for top dollar. As soon as you decide to sell your home, you need to start saying goodbye to it by staging it to sell. Staging is a new concept in some areas and it simply means you need to set the stage so your home will appeal to a wide audience of buyers.
The first step to staging your home to sell is removing clutter. The number one home improvement that will give you a 973% average return on your investment is removing clutter. Clutter eats equity: remove clutter by storing items in basement, attic, friend's home, or rent a storage space. Better yet, unclutter so you don't have to move it or pay someone to move it.
Remember the last time you were house hunting? I remember when I walked into a few of the home my husband and I looked at, I said under my breath, "They will never sell this house." It was probably because there was too much stuff or there was an odor to the home that turned me off. There are many television shows such as 'Designed to Sell' or 'Sell this House' that stress removing clutter, especially personal items, to get your home ready to sell.
In the book, Dress your House for Success, by M. Webb and S.P. Zackkeim, they indicate that "The first and most important step to dressing your house for success is uncluttering." Also, that a carefully prepared house is critical to a successful sale. The author of another book called 50 Simple Steps you can take to sell your house by R. Glink, says simply, "Organize, organize, organize!" and "If you can open it up, you should clean it out." Finally, in the book 101 Easy Ways to make your home sell faster, you'll fine that distracting clutter diverts the buyer's attention from the wonderful features of your home. If you have repairs that need to be made, make them. One loose cabinet door can take a buyer's attention from your beautiful kitchen, to wondering if there are any other repairs that need to be made.
So for the practical portion of my blog today, let's walk through your home and talk about ways you can stage your home to sell more quickly and for top dollar.
Front door and porch: Curb appeal means buyers will come in

--Front door should sparkle or have fresh paint and a shiny door knob.
--Use spot of color with wreath, planters, or bright milk box.
--Porch should have new door mat, chairs, end table, and/or plants.
--Do cursory gardening as needed; trim shrubs.
--Keep lawn ornaments to a bare minimum and remove any clutter on the lawn.

Entry Way: Have a bold and dramatic focal point

--Greet buyers with a 'welcome home' sign or plaque.
--Flowers are a nice touch.
--Reduce furniture to make it easier to walk.
--Add a special mirror and make sure it's clean.
--Improve the floor; make repairs or replace if necessary.
--No loose rugs, one long rug is best
--Clean out the coat closet, no wire coat hangers, use closet freshener

Kitchen: Your kitchen alone could sell your home
--Clean off front and top of refrigerator.
--Open cookbook or display basket of fruit.
--Quick cabinet makeover: new knobs and/or hinges
--Clear counter of everything except a very few items.
--Create more storage if possible.
--Accent your windows: clean them, no curtains or light in weight and color
--Clear top of cabinets.
--Highlight counter eat-in area: buy new stools or paint them
--New towels/pot holders/dishcloths
--Clean out what opens: cabinets, refrigerator, pantry, mop closet

 Dining room or dining area: Think 'family dinners'
--Set the table with matching dinnerware, glasses and utensils.
--Personalize the room with bright placemats, pitcher filled with flowers, candles, etc.
--Make large dining room do double duty: secretary to create a den, reading place, music corner
--Enlarge small dining area: remove leaves in table, put table against the wall.
--Remove extra chairs.
Living/family room: Happy medium between casual and formal

--Take down 90% of your family photos.
--Music, games, knitting, reading means "We could live here."
--Open curtains or eliminate them.
--Highlight fireplace/screen: clean it, mantel uncluttered, tastefully decorated
--Remove excess stuff and furniture; exit and entry ways not blocked.
--Draw attention to exposed beams or cathedral ceilings: lighting, hanging basket, mobile, etc.
--Downplay the television if possible.
--Clean out what opens: cabinets, closets, built-ins, toy chests
--Add a few matching pillows and afghans for warmth.
--Bookshelves: organize books by size and color and leave white space; less is more.
--Organize electronics and accessories, clean up wires.
--Organize papers and magazine racks.

In my next blog we'll go through the rest of the house to stage it to sell, but for today, let's close with a quote from the book Dress Your House for Success by M. Webb and S.P. Zackheim: "Within 15 seconds, buyers develop an attitude toward your house that is reinforced by everything else they encounter." 
Thank you for reading 'Organize This'! Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Have a great day!

posted on: 4/3/2010 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips

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Organize This!

by Vali Heist

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About Vali:

Vali Heist is a Certified Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She is the author of "Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP. CRAP stands for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure! She writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called "Organize This!". Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.

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