Selling your home? My how to guide to organize and stage your home like a pro!

You have decided it is time to move and you are excited, nervous and overwhelmed. There is a small amount of time to clean and get the house prepared to be put on the market. There is also a priority to organize your belongings and begin to start packing. But where do you begin?

As a professional organizer and home stager, I get this question all the time! Once the decision has been made to move, the process of downsizing can be overwhelming, What do you keep and what to toss.  Purging belongings is a must to help the move be a smooth transition.

 First thing I tell my client is to take a big breath and that it will be ok! You will need to get some boxes, newspapers, storage containers (totes),  packing tape and a magic marker. Once you are prepared, it is best to start in the basement and or attic. This is a place where you store your belongings that  hardly ever get used or never at all. So this will be the easiest place to start packing. TIP: If you haven't worn or used an item in one year it should be thrown out or donated.

After the basement/attic  is completed it is time to continue to your closets. You essentially want to pack up 50% of the contents of your closet. Pack all of the last season clothing and shoes and some of the current season as well.  TIP: This is something you will want to do prior to an open house. All potential buyers look in every closet. The more neat and organized it appears the buyer can envision there belongings in your space.

Next step will be to take down and pack all of your personal photos. When preparing your house to sell any home stager will recommend you do this. The reason for this is your want potential buyers to walk into your space and already feel like that is their new home.  If you have any knick knacks, CD or record collection,  it will be best to pack those up as well. You are going to have to move it anyway, so why not get a head start now?  These personal items can be distracting to potential buyers.

Carry on to the kitchen and remove and countertop clutter. Remove and pack up all or your small kitchen appliances like the blender, crockpot and mixers. Its ok to leave a few small items but consider carefully what you decide to leave. Pack up kitchen cabinets and remove items that you wont be needing over the next month. Organize the remaining items as you want the illusion that you have plenty of kitchen storage.

Now that you have gotten years of clutter thrown away, donated or packed to be used in your next home. Time to begin setting the stage for potential buyers. Here is a cheat sheet of tips to help you get your home ready for that quick sale!

1. A quick coat of paint to the walls will help your home to look so much cleaner. Neutral colors are best, as it makes every room feel more spacious.

2. Increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures, aiming for 100 watts per 50 square feet. You want multiple types of lightening in your home, so don't stick one type. Stick to three types: task, ambient and accent. (Source HGTV)

3. Raise your curtains to the top of the wall. This creates the illusion of taller ceiling and larger windows.

4. Hardwood floors are a must have for some buyers. Revive your hardwood floors by performing some maintenance and refinishing your hardwood. Also, if the floors are in good condition just a quick coat or two of rejuvenate will help them get back their luster.

5. Mirrors are a great option and can be used to reflect light around the room or give the illusion of a larger room.

6. Place art to strategically to draw the eye away from flaws, and to add color to the space. Make sure when hanging the art that you place them at eye level.

7. Fix or repair any light switches, molding and any holes in the walls. Buyers will notice these little details.

8. Perform a deep cleaning and steam clean the carpets to remove stains or odors. Clean the fridge and toss out anything old or that gives off an odor. Wipe out any stains and organize the contents that will remain. You want it to be spotless and organized to show how much space it has. Deodorize the kitchen drains or disposal. (Bonus Tip: Pour equal parts vinegar and baking soda down the drain and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Allow hot water to run down the drain to wash away the odor.)

9. Make a great first impression and clean up the front and back yards. Add some curb appeal by planting some flowers and shrubs. Add a colorful welcome mat or a cheery sign on the front door. Create a cozy space on the deck or patio, so buyers can imagine themselves relaxing.

10. When you are ready for your open house display some fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit on the counters. Great option if you have time is to back some chocolate chip cookies and leave them for the buyers. The house smells great and it is a little extra something that will help buyers to remember your house.

By now you maybe asking, so why exactly is staging your house to sell so important? Well, staging can actually sell your home 80% faster than if you didn't stage it. And more importantly it can sell your house for 11-20% MORE! Who doesn't want more money? (Source: Lux Deco)

I have given you my top secrets that I use when I stage a clients home. You can use one or all of these tips and definitely come out on the winning end. But of course if you just don't have the time or the energy to complete this giant project just send me an SOS!