Staging a House for Showing: Decimating Clutter

When you walk into your home, what greets you? Probably a vast array of what makes your home uniquely yours: bric-a-brac on counters, mail piled by the front door, kiddo toys by the couch, doggie treats in the corner. Need to stage your home? Start here.

When you walk into your DFW home, what greets you? Probably a vast array of what makes your home uniquely yours: bric-a-brac on counters, mail piled by the front door, kiddo toys by the couch, doggie treats in the corner. What would this decor say about your home to a potential buyer? Perhaps not great things. In fact, your clutter may chase buyers right back out the door. When you’re working on staging a house for showing, here are some tips for staging your house and decimating your clutter.

Paper Clutter Be Gone!

Much of the clutter in your home may be of the paper variety. From random notices tacked to your door to piles of mail to unbelievable amounts of paperwork sent home from school or various activities, you may literally be buried in what amounts to junk mail or unfiled records. Taking the time to catch up on years of filing may seriously derail the process of staging a home, however. So what can you do in the interim?

Simply put — hide it! A stylish filing cabinet or tasteful storage box that blends into your other decor can be the perfect place to get your paper clutter out of sight. To ensure it doesn’t just become another unpacked box or mount of clutter in your next home, set a daily goal for yourself to sort through and file or dispose of a good portion of this clutter.

A Picture is Worth … A Picture

Being surrounded by pictures of your family — or from your family — may not feel like clutter to you, but it can overwhelm a prospective buyer. If zillions of frames vie for position on your walls or precious real estate on your furniture or counters — and let’s not even discuss how many are pinned to your fridge — then it’s time to pare back.

Remember that buyers are trying to imagine your home becoming their home. And if they can’t move an inch without being thrust into a pictorial version of your family reunion, they mostly likely can’t picture their own family moving in. This paring down of pictures isn’t forever; just until you’re settled into your next home.

Toys and Treats and Treasures, Oh My!

You’ve chosen to surround yourself with pleasant reminders of your life, and those things your family and pets can’t live without, and that’s just fine for everyday life. However, when you can’t get through your living room because it’s a minefield of Legos, or your breakfast room more resembles a doggy day care, you have some work ahead of you.

You don’t need to live in a monk’s Spartan cell for it to be uncluttered, either. Simply view your various treasures through this lens: is this something we can live without for the next several months. If it is, pack it up. If it isn’t, you can use a trick similar to your paper solution above — find ways to mask these items when an agent is bringing around potential buyers. Cute toy crates and unused cabinets can be the perfect way to sweep clutter temporarily away. But for those mainly decorative treasures you can live without — pack them now and you won’t have to worry later.

Staging a house well can be the ultimate difference between a fast sale and languishing in the listings. Although it can be hard to cut down on those things that clutter up your home, following home staging tips can have you off the market and into your next place sooner and easier if you do.

Image Source: Flickr/Judith E. Bell


Tiffany wasn't born in Texas, but she got here as fast as she could. She and her husband have gained extensive experience buying, selling, renovating and flipping homes in the DFW area. A professional freelance writer, Tiffany enjoys contributing real estate and home improvement articles to the Coldwell Banker site and working with other clients to craft content that's specially designed to generate interest while sharing valuable ideas.

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