How to Make Cabinets, Drawers, and Closets Look Bigger When Selling Your Home

blog-cabinets-drawers-closets-look-biggerShould I clean out all of the closets and built-in cabinets and drawers when selling my home?

Ideally, the answer is yes — making these spaces as empty as possible will make them appear larger.

Practically, however, this is darn near impossible for buyers who will continue to occupy their home while it’s on the market.

So what’s the best solution?

Take a deep breath. Except for the Master Bedroom Closet (which does require lots of attention—for specifics, check out our new book, available on iBook and Amazon), in most cases it is ok to make cabinets, drawers, and closets what I call a “B-level priority.” This is because these areas likely will not be photographed or used to advertise your listing. As long as doors and drawers stay closed, they will not jump out as first impressions to potential buyers. And honestly, most buyers have much bigger issues to address than cleaning out a junk drawer.

HOWEVER…

Keep in mind that “plenty of storage space” is HIGH on the list of must-haves for most buyers. They will open closets and built-in drawers and cabinets while touring your home so it’s a good idea to appear spacious, neat, and organized. The more organized you appear to be, the more your potential buyers will view the house as “well-maintained” and view you as a conscientious home owner who took excellent care of a product they may now want to buy.

If you want top dollar for your home (and who doesn’t?), invest a little time and energy making these high-value spaces look their best and biggest by using these tips:

  • Reduce and simplify. Box up the holiday plates you only use once a year. Stop buying bottled water and toilet paper in bulk at Costco for now. Donate gently used clothes to a local charity or thrift store. The single most powerful thing you can do to make these spaces look bigger is to make them as empty as possible so start packing.
  • Get things off the floor. Whether it’s a scattering of shoes and luggage across the closet or a giant bag of dog food and stacks of canned drinks in the pantry, pick it up and move it. Emptying out floor space will instantly give closets a more open feel.
  • Invest in drawer and closet organizers. Available at home improvement stores and big box retailers, these little organizational tools can be very appealing to homebuyers and help streamline the look in places where the “stuff” must continue to exist.
  • Brighten up. Replace light bulbs with the brightest bulbs possible and clean the fixtures to make closets feel even larger. Need help choosing the right bulb? Read our blog post here.
  • Use baskets or opaque bins to organize/hide what’s left. Leaving items stacked on shelves or in see-through containers may be convenient for you, but it creates visual clutter for potential buyers.

Remember, just like a large bedroom packed with way too much furniture can look smaller, the same rule applies to cabinets, drawers, and closets — having them too full just makes them look littler. Invest the time now, BEFORE listing your home for sale, to make those spaces look their best. And while you’re at it…yeah, just take the plunge and clean out that junk drawer, too.

Need a little help getting started? Give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation, where you’ll spend up to 2 hours with a professional home stager and receive immediate, one-on-one feedback about exactly what needs to be done right away to prepare the home for the quickest, most profitable sale!

Photo credit: “DIY Drawer Dividers” by Dan Malec is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Free Printable: New Year Purge List

NewYearPurgeList-ThreeBearsHomeStagingReducing and simplifying (or “de-cluttering” as I prefer NOT to call it) is the hallmark of home staging advice. Most of us think, work, and feel better in an environment that is clean and easy to maintain. The first step toward achieving that goal:  out with the old and in with the new!

Whether you’re planning to sell your home this year or you’re just trying to get more organized in general, getting rid of all the extra clutter is a good baseline from which to start. We’ve put together a handy little check list to help you get the new year off to clean start. You can download our FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST by clicking the button below!

Are you reducing and simplifying this January? Share your tips and tricks in the comments! And if you’re thinking of selling your Katy, TX home and need some help figuring out more ways to show your home in its best light, we can help! Give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here to schedule a consultation.

How to Create a Cozy Guest Room for Holiday Visitors

blog-How-to-Create-a-Cozy-Guest-Room-for-the-HolidaysAs family and friends descend upon your home for the holiday season, it’s time to get your guest bedroom in shape to receive visitors! Use our helpful tips to make sure you have everything in place to make your guests feel at home.

  • Clean sheets. (Do we really need to point this out, you ask? Why yes, I think it’s important that we do. I was once a guest at a home where the sheets had dried dog vomit on them. Yes, the host knew…and didn’t seem to think it was an issue.) Put freshly laundered sheets on the bed the day before guests arrive and get points for being SuperHost.
  • Fresh towels. See above.
  • Extra pillows and blankets. Keep these easily available regardless of the season. People get cold at night and like to have options.
  • Alarm or clock. This may be especially handy for older guests or those who don’t use their smart phones as clocks. While you’re at it, be sure to have extra electrical outlets available for guests to charge their devices.
  • WiFi password. They’ll probably ask for it anyway.
  • Fan. Fans are a huge relief to people who tend to “sleep hot,” and some guest may just appreciate the white noise they provide.
  • Extra hooks. Space may be at a premium with extra people in the house so invest in a set of handy over-the-door hooks to help guests keep their clothes and towels dry and separate.
  • Blinds or light blocking drapes. This is a thoughtful bonus for guests who prefer to sleep late.
  • Bedside lighting. Guests who like to read before going to sleep will find a pretty lamp on a bedside table especially handy.

Don’t forget to add the fun stuff! Fresh flowers are a sweet touch, as are a few toiletries, like an extra toothbrush, soaps, or shampoos. You might even consider leaving a little tray with some bottled waters and healthy snacks for guests who may not feel comfortable raiding your refrigerator. The main goal is to provide a bright, clean, comfortable space that makes visitors feel relaxed and welcome.

If you need a little help getting your home picture perfect for the holidays or if you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market, give the experts at Three Bears Home Staging a call to set up a Walk and Talk Consultation!

Take These 3 Steps This Holiday Season to Prepare for a New Year’s Home Sale

Deciding to sell your home is a big step, but almost all home owners will still have a few things to do before actually activating their listing. Remember, buyers assume that a clean, organized, updated home has been well-maintained — and they make the opposite assumption about dirty, cluttered, or dated homes. Once you’ve made the decision to sell, don’t leave any money on the table. Give yourself an edge on a successful sale and a “show ready” home by getting an early start with these three tips this holiday season:

  1. Start paring down the master closet. “This house has way too much storage!” said NO BUYER EVER. It probably goes without saying that an empty closet shows better with buyers than one packed full of clothes and miscellany. That being said, emptying all the closets is not practical for most homeowners so concentrate your efforts on THE most important closet in a home buyer’s decision-making process: the master bedroom closet. Organize, eliminate, and get stuff off the floor. For more detailed info on how to organize your closet for staging, check out our book, Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging for Bedrooms & Closets, now available in the iBooks store.
  2. Begin de-personalizing. Buyers need to be able to walk into your home and easily envision their family living there — not reminded that they are a guest in someone else’s home. Start packing family photos, collections, sports memorabilia, and anything related to your hobbies or religion. This may feel especially difficult during the holiday season, but if you plan on listing at the first of the year, set yourself up for a faster sale by starting the de-personalization process NOW.
  3. Take care of any maintenance, repairs, or updates. Leaky faucets, that one light switch that doesn’t work, the places on the wall that need touch-up paint…the list goes on and on for most homeowners. NOW is the time to start updating or fixing all those things you’ve been putting off. One trick we use with our clients is blue painter’s tape — just stick a small piece on every spot in your house that needs maintenance or updating. The tape pieces are a constant visual “to-do” list that you can work on in the months leading up to your listing.

When it comes to preparing your home for sale, it’s extremely hard for most sellers to be objective about their own home. Hiring a professional home stager to do a guided Walk and Talk Consultation or even just having an honest, heart-to-heart discussion with your real estate agent a month or more BEFORE you list your home will give you more time to make the changes needed to get you a faster sale and a higher profit. Ready to get started? Call Three Bears Home Staging in Katy, TX at (832) 377-0785 to set up a consultation.

Title photo credit:  “Dishwashing gloves and sponge” by www.yourbestdigs.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

3 Easy Steps to an End of Summer Declutter

blog-endofsummerdeclutterI really dislike the word “declutter” — to my mind, it implies messiness, dirtiness, and disorganization. I prefer “simplify and reduce” because it feels less judgemental and more direct (the Google search engine tells me I’m in the minority as far as which phrase people actually search, though). The truth is, even the neatest, most organized of us have clothing that needs to be purged; books we’ll never read again; stacks of paper or kids’ artwork that needs organizing; or maybe even an extra piece of furniture that we don’t love but still have sitting in a corner because we never found the right spot for it. Whether you’re getting ready to sell or staying put, it’s very difficult for people to see the details of your beautiful home when there is too much stuff. “Less is more” is especially true when it comes to staging your home for sale.

As summer comes to a close, take the time to do a little simplifying and reducing. Getting rid of extra stuff is not as hard as it seems — in fact, there are plenty of places that would love to have it and will give you money for it! And when you properly dispose, recycle, or donate your unwanted items, you help keep the Earth a little greener for everyone.

Here is our three-step process for finding good homes for your extra “stuff”:

  1. First, grab three large plastic bins and two trash bags.
  2. Label the bins and bags as follows:Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 12.58.12 PM
  3. Go through the room and ask yourself these three critical questions:
    • Do I love this item?
    • Do I use this item?
    • Does this item fit the style or vision I am trying to create?

If the item does not meet at least TWO of those qualifications, place it in its most appropriate bin.

Store. For those items that you “only love” or “only use annually,” consider storing them. If you’re finding quite a few items in your storage bin, don’t worry! It’s okay to simply store those items to unpack later.

Sell. Craigslist.com, eBay, Facebook, NextDoor, and consignment stores are a great way to sell your more valuable items. Online options generally require far less time and energy than a garage sale.

Donate. Consider simply giving other items to those who need it. List items you don’t want as “free” on Craigslist and Freecycle, and someone will pick it up at your house shortly. You can also donate to the following organizations in or near Katy, TX (some even offer pick up services for large items, such as furniture and appliances):

Recycle. Don’t trash old electronic equipment! These devices often contain valuable and rare metals, as well as chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment. Electronics should never be thrown in the trash or burned. For old TVs, computers, refrigerators or large appliances, make sure to dispose of them properly by calling your city to see where each piece is best recycled and handled. Best Buy also offers free electronics recycling.

If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, we can’t overstate how important it is to simplify and reduce so that potential buyers can see all the beauty your home has to offer! If you need help getting started, give the professionals at Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 or fill out our contact form here.

Title photo credit:  “Flex Tote – 1K52 – Large – Closet2” by Rubbermaid Products is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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how to hygge your home

How to Hygge Your Home

how to hygge your home
The Danish concept Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), which can be roughly described as the Scandinavian art of coziness, warm companionship, and little pleasures, has been the “design buzzword” of recent years. Candles, soft blankets, indoor plants, soft furnishings, books, rugs on bare wooden floors and an absence of clutter are hallmarks of the Hygge design style. But Hygge isn’t just about design style–it’s a lifestyle concept.

Hygge is about atmosphere and an experience, rather than things,” Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well, explains. “It’s about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”

If you’re trying to find more comfort and well-being in your own home and create Hygge in your everyday life, follow these tips from Three Bears Home Staging:

  • Share and socialize. Hospitality is one of the most important elements of adding Hygge to your life. Invite neighbors over for an impromptu meal or visit with a good friend over coffee. Making your home a comfortable, welcoming place for you and your guests is more Hygge than creating one that’s “perfect” or impressive.
  • Reconnect off-line. Most of us have been guilty of getting sucked down the rabbit hole of life online — web browsing, social media, email. Ironically, all the electronic “connectedness” can create more disconnection and feelings of chaos in our homes. Take the time to intentionally unplug from the distractions of the Interwebs and be fully present with the three-dimensional people in your life. Play a board game around the fire with your family or snuggle up under a soft blanket with a good book for a very Hygge experience.
  • Create a peaceful environment by eliminating chaos and excess clutter. Surround yourself with home decor that inspire you. In other words, if you don’t use it or love–get rid of it. Commit to removing things you rarely use in order to create comfortable, cozy spaces the whole family can enjoy. When it comes to Hygge, less is usually more.

Share with us:  how do you create Hygge in your home this winter?

Photo credit: Melissa Hillier via Flikr/CreativeCommons 

How to Fall in Love With Your Home Again

blog-Fall-in-Love-AgainWhether it was love at first sight or a whirlwind mental courtship of decorating potential, most of us felt a buzz of excitement the first time we saw our home. As with many relationships, time can take its toll on how we feel about our house. This Valentine’s Day season, rekindle the spark and fall in love with your home again with these simple tips:

  • Declutter and organize. Collect any extra clothes, nick-knacks, and home goods, and sell or donate what you don’t love or use. Deal with paper piles by filing or storing important documents and shredding outdated items.
  • Let there be light! Proper lighting affects mood and is essential to our sense of well-being. Open curtains or blinds and move furniture that may be blocking natural light. Add lamps or ambient lighting to darker spaces to create a soft glow and a cozy environment.
  • Re-arrange. Sometimes just moving the furniture around can change the energy flow of a space. Try something different and see how it feels. Ask for feedback from a friend whose taste you admire.
  • Add life. Plants are a simple way to add beauty and life to a room. If you don’t have a green thumb, try fresh cut flowers or Ikea has a great selection of beautiful faux plants that will do the trick.
  • Freshen up. Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and is an important tool in creating an environment you love! Whether it’s the clean scent of a “fresh linen” air freshener or the nostalgic aroma of a cookie-scented candle, choose something that speaks to you. Tip: Based on current research, we generally advise home sellers against using any complex scents while the home is on the market.
  • Add personal touches. Feature pieces that you find beautiful or meaningful. Incorporate favorite pieces of art, treasured collections, or even cozy new throw pillows into parts of the house where you spend the most time.

Perhaps the best tip for recreating that love connection between you and your house is to cultivate a sense of appreciation. Nurture feelings of gratitude for the people or animals who share your home. Remembering to have a thankful heart for the shelter and space your home provides can help re-kindle that spark of love.

And if you need a little help getting potential home buyers to fall in love with your home, Three Bears Home Staging can help! Give us a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here to set up a Walk & Talk Consultation.

Photo credit:  Elin B @ Nordic Touch, www.nordictouch.co.uk

4 Tips to Help You Get Organized in the New Year

blog-get-organized-new-yearJanuary is the perfect time for a fresh start in your home! Whether you plan to stay put or you’re getting ready to sell your home, start the new year off right by getting organized and enjoy the benefits of a neater, easier to maintain home.

  1. Stop adding clutter. Avoid making bulk purchases or stocking up on sale items before putting your house on the market so that you’re not filling up closet and shelf space.
  2. Start purging. Use a couple of large bags or bins to collect items you can donate or sell (eBay, garage sale, Craigslist, whatever works for you). I keep a box in my trunk for regular collection of items I intend to donate to charity so that I can go straight to the drop-off location as soon as it’s full. As you’re making decisions about what to keep and what to pack, ask yourself, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” If the answer to both is no, you should probably seriously consider whether it’s worth packing and moving with that item.
  3. Focus on one project at a time. Getting ready to move can be overwhelming, so don’t try to tackle everything at once. Clean out one closet completely before moving to the next. Toss out expired pantry items and get rid of excess in the junk drawer, but do it one project at a time.
  4. Deal with paper. Paper clutter can inundate us quickly. File or store the important documents properly and shred outdated items. Other items can be scanned and stored digitally, taking up much less space.

Getting organized is an important first step in getting your home ready to sell. If you need help getting started, give Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here.

Photo credit: Rubbermaid Products

Tips for Organizing and Staging Your Laundry Room

LaundryBandA-1My husband and I have three children and a dog; consequently, we spend a LOT of time in the laundry room each week. It’s busy in there, and it gets chaotic.

We all have to do laundry. For most of us, it’s not a room we choose to spend a lot of time in. Remember, though, when selling your home, staging is all about romancing potential buyers–not reminding them of chores or a lack of storage space. Keeping the laundry room clean, bright and organized when selling will maximize its appeal!

So what’s the best way to show off your laundry room?

  • De-clutter. This is the number one task when it comes to laundry rooms. Often these spaces end up becoming catch-alls for cases of water, boxes of art supplies or a 50-lb bag of dog food, in addition to piles of shoes and dirty clothes. HIDE IT OR GET RID OF IT. If you’re selling your home, you’re eventually going to have to pack up most of that stuff anyway. Clear off counters and shelves, remove hangers — keep only the barest of essentials in this room. Use pretty baskets or boxes to organize what’s left behind.
  • Clean and brighten. Dust and dryer lint builds up easily in this room. Wipe down appliances and mop floors. Check the walls for scuffs and re-paint if necessary. Also, consider using higher wattage bulbs if the lighting is dim.
  • Check for odor. Who doesn’t love the clean smell of fresh laundry? An easy way to give the laundry room the same fresh clean smell is to use  dryer sheets in between some neatly folded towels (like in the picture).
  • Conceal dirty laundry. Let’s face it–nobody wants to be touring a home and unexpectedly see piles of dirty underwear. Make sure dirty laundry is completely concealed in the hamper. Have clean laundry that hasn’t been folded yet and no time to put it away before a showing? Toss it back into the dryer and out of sight until you can get to it!

As a professional home stager, I can tell you the laundry room is by far the number one most neglected space by homeowners when it comes to staging. Buyers WILL open the door to this room, and they WILL make snap judgments about it. A space that feels cluttered with little room to move will not make as favorable an impression as one that is clean and spacious.

Need help getting your space in shape? We can help! Give us a call at (832)377-0785 or contact Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign online today to schedule a consultation!

 

 

How to Avoid 3 of the Worst Clutter Traps When Selling Your Home

blog-clutter-trapsIf selling a home is on your to-do list for 2014, eliminating clutter may be one of the most important New Year’s resolutions you can make! Here are three of the worst clutter traps I typically see as a home stager, and some tips on how to avoid them.

  • Closets are a fantastic place to store all our extra stuff for day-to-day living, but a cluttered closet can hurt you in the re-sale. Buyers touring your house WILL open closet doors, and 90% of them will not be able to envision spacious storage potential if your closets are crammed full of stuff.

→ Go ahead and pack away seasonal clothing, organize hanging items by size or color, and get things off the floor. This is especially important in master bedroom closets.

→  Take the time to go through your pantry as well, wiping down shelves, straightening labels and tossing out anything that won’t be used.

  • Tabletops and counters should not be completely stripped (you don’t want it to look too sterile), but keep decor strategic and minimal.

→ Store all kitchen appliances under the cabinets (yes, even the coffee pot!).

→ Dish soap and sponges should go in a plastic bin under the sink.

→ Remove all personal hygiene products and appliances from bathroom counters.

→  Add a simple potted plant and a few books to a nightstand, a bowl of lemons to the kitchen counter, or a dish of pretty soaps near the bath sink for a homey, but uncluttered feel.

  • Bookcases can be especially tricky. When they’re overflowing or crammed too tightly (as many of them are), they give the impression that there’s a lack of space.

→ Pack up most of your books, leaving some stacked vertically and some horizontally with space between groupings for a more pleasing visual effect. A few knick-knacks are okay, as well, but don’t put an entire collection of tchotchkes on display.

Bottom line? Start packing NOW, before you put your home on the market, and don’t spend money moving the items you can trash, donate, or sell! If you need help figuring out where to get started, we can help. Contact us at Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign for an initial consultation.