DIY Holiday Simmer Scents: Make Your House Smell Great for the Holidays!

You know we love simmering potpourri recipes (read our posts about Simmer Scents for Autumn and Summer). Today we’re sharing our holiday simmer scents recipes! They’re a simple, cost-conscious way to make your house smell warm and comforting for the holidays using fruits and spices and WITHOUT the use of harmful chemicals! They’re especially useful for anyone planning to put their home on the market soon — research shows that potential buyers can find overly complex fragrances too distracting. These natural fragrance recipes are super light and clean, a great way to make your house smell welcoming to anyone who visits this holiday season!

How to Do It

Add ingredients to a small sauce pan or pot. Add water until ingredients float. Bring to a gentle boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a low simmer and enjoy your holiday simmer scents! Add more water as needed, typically about every 30 minutes (otherwise, you’ll end up with the smell of scorched food wafting through the house–YUCK).

holiday simmer scents

Try these aromatic combinations (measurements don’t have to be exact so adjust according to your taste):

  • Rosemary sprigs, vanilla, orange peel

Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla, with Pure Vanilla Extract, 11 ounces Bottle, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)

McCormick Cinnamon Sticks, 8 Ounce (Pack of 1)

Frontier Whole Juniper Berries, 1.28 Ounce

Once again it should probably go without sIt should probably go without saying, but being the conscientious home stager that I am, I’m going to say it anyway:  don’t leaving anything burning on the stove unattended. Another (safer?) alternative is to simmer the entire mixture in a miniature slow cooker, uncovered on the “Low” setting. We like this one:

Crock-Pot 16-Ounce Little Dipper, Chrome

Save the mixture in a glass jar in the fridge when you’re done (can last several days). Just reheat the next day to re-scent your home.

If you’re selling your home this winter and need more tips on how to freshen up your home,  Three Bears Home Staging can help! Contact us here set up an initial consultation!

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

Our Top Recommended Cleaning “Must-Haves” for DIY Home Staging

When it comes to selling your home, cleanliness says a LOT to your potential buyers (so does dirtiness, for that matter).

Home buyers are some of the most judgemental visitors that will ever darken your door (and understandably so, right? — they’re trying to decide whether they want to invest thousands of dollars in your house). They perceive a clean, tidy home as well-maintained, cared for, and generally more appealing. A home with dirty floors, mildewy showers, and dusty air vents are major turn-offs and red flags that can sabotage the sale.

This toilet does not scream “PLEASE BUY ME!” to a potential buyer. This toilet tells buyers to “Run away or proceed with extreme caution.”
Image by mattv10 from Pixabay

Not sure if your home is quite ready for showings? Ask yourself this: is my bathtub clean enough that a complete stranger would feel absolutely comfortable soaking naked in it?

This bath tub says, “Buy me! Relax and unwind, right here, right now!”
Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay

Be 100% honest. If the answer is no, you’ve got some work to do.

But fear not! Three Bears Home Staging is here to help! We’ve put together a handy shopping list just for you of our favorite cleaning products when staging your home!


Just click the button below to download a free PDF shopping list with clickable links. These products are FANTASTIC for tackling even the grossest spots as you’re preparing your home for sale — which will ultimately help you attract more buyers and sell faster and for more money!

Need a cleaning check-list for home showings? We’ve got you covered there too! Take a look at our blog post on how to keep your house clean for home showings.

Don’t sabotage your sale with a problem you can easily solve BEFORE you list your home! The right cleaning products are a small investment that can net a huge return when selling. What are some of your favorite products for keeping the house show-ready when selling? Share them with us here! And if you need a little extra help, contact Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a consultation.

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Our 6 Favorite White Paints for Selling Your Home

Choosing the right shade of white paint can be a big challenge. It’s highly reflective so you have to consider the other elements in the room: accent walls, wood tones, bold furnishings, ceiling color, light bulb color temperatures, even the direction the windows are facing (and possibly what’s outside those windows)! White paint is also notorious for having subtle undertones lurking in it that tend to be magnified once they’re on the wall.

And in case you haven’t noticed yet, white walls are trending right now. Color popularity shifts about every 5 to 7 years, and with grays and taupes  starting to see a decline, white walls are on the rise.

Tip: If you’re painting your walls white, you may want to consider painting the trim, cabinets, and ceiling the same color but in different sheens.

When choosing a white paint for your home, start by picking up a few actual paper color swatches from the store (or get them from one of our In-Home Color Consultations) to compare in your own home. Don’t ever make a paint decision based solely on a swatch you only looked at while in the store, online, saw in your friend’s house, or read about in a blog post!

OR you could make your life way easier on yourself and order re-usable peel-and-stick paint samples online! Check out SAMPLIZE. These paint swatches are far more affordable, easier to use, and kinder to the environment that traditional cans of paint. Plus, they offer paint samples in lines from Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, and Home Depot. Here’s why I like them:

  • Your samples generally arrive in just 1-3 days.
  • They’re far less expensive than brushes, rollers, pans, and cans of sample paint.
  • No clean-up. No waste.
  • You can re-position and re-use them.

Click below to visit their website and order your samples:

My hope is that this blog post will help point you in the right direction and at least eliminate the shades that WON’T work for you.

With that in mind, here are a few of my top favorite white paint choices to use when selling your home:

  • High Reflective White, SW 7757 – High Reflective White is probably the truest, no-undertone white paint available at SW. It’s a really flexible color, not too warm or too cool, so it works great in homes that have a mix of tones. It’s the brightest white Sherwin-Williams offers with a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 93, making it possibly a little too stark for kitchens and baths with white quartz or marble countertops. In the photo below, all cabinetry and wood work was done in Sherwin Williams High Reflective White SW7757 in a low lustre.

Kitchen contemporary-kitchen

  • Alabaster, SW 7008 – Alabaster is a great off-white that’s just a little bit softer and more subtle without being too yellow or creamy. The warmest of the four whites I chose, it works really well in homes with lots of earth-tones. Whereas many whites are used primarily as a trim color, Alabaster works just as well on large areas as it does on small. Because it’s still neutral with just a hint of warmth, it works especially well in rooms with a southern exposure (conversely, it may look a bit lackluster in rooms with north-facing windows). The walls and ceiling of this beautiful kitchen are SW 7008 Alabaster:

Lakeview | Orono, MN - Spring 2018 farmhouse-kitchen

  • Extra White, SW 7006 – Extra White is considered by many designers to be the white-est white in the SW palette. My personal opinion is that it reads a just little more on the cool side, making it a better choice for homes that feature grays, blues, silver tones, and espresso colored woods. As a trim color, it doesn’t pair up quite as well next to warm or earth-tones as maybe Alabaster or Pure White. Extra White is a clean, crisp color that works great for homes that have a more contemporary feel. In rooms with a northern exposure, the you may see a bit more iciness in the color whereas the light from a south-facing room may neutralize this effect (during daylight hours, anyway).

Lansdowne Road Hall Bath transitional-bathroom

  • Pure White, SW 7005 – Pure White is similar to Alabaster in that it’s a great neutral base with just a tiny hint of warmth. It’s a little more crisp than Alabaster and works really well in both warm- and cool-toned homes as a trim, ceiling, and cabinet color. It reads a little warmer in rooms with a southern exposure, while north-facing windows diminish that effect a bit. The perimeter cabinets in this stunning kitchen remodel are in SW 7005 Pure White.

Stunning Kitchen and Whole House Remodel - from "Outdated" to "Gorgeous"! traditional-kitchen

  • Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore OC 65Chantilly Lace is a crisp, clean white that has a little bit of an icy edge. It pairs well with cool-toned colors, particularly blues. It may look a little stark in rooms with a northern exposure. The walls of this gorgeous bathroom are painted in Chantilly Lace:

Main Bathroom traditional-bathroom

  • White Dove, Benjamin Moore OC 17White Dove is a softer, less stark shade of white than Chantilly Lace. It’s a classic versatile off-white that has almost a gray-brown undertone (not yellow or creamy). This paint works well with a variety of warm and cool colors without being too stark or bright and is a favorite choice for doors, ceilings, and trim. The cabinets in the photo below are painted in White Dove:

CC traditional-kitchen

If you’re having a hard time choosing the right color, let us help! The right color can transform a room! Let us help you reinvent your space with paint. Three Bears Home Staging has extensive training and experience with interior and exterior color consultations. We’ll help you create a custom color palette for a single room or create a whole home scheme that flows smoothly from one room to the next. Click here to learn more about our In-Home Color Consultations. Ready to schedule? Get in touch with us!

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Our Favorite Amazon Staging Accessories

At Three Bears Home Staging, we know that empowering home sellers with the right tools and good advice will earn them more money in the sale and less time on the market — and research from the National Association of Realtors backs us up! Whether you’re a client who recently completed a consultation with us, a real estate professional who needs specific product recommendations or staging accessories for your clients, or a home seller just looking for some helpful staging advice, we’ve got you covered!

staging accessories

We’ve compiled a list of of some our most frequently recommended products for DIY home staging accessories, from the perfect light bulbs to realistic-looking faux botanicals — all available with one click from Amazon.

Free Download!

Just sign up below to download our specially curated FREE Favorite Amazon Staging Accessories e-design board with super easy, clickable shopping links to every single item on our board!

staging accessories

Once you’ve shopped for all these fun staging accessories, you’ve now got to figure out where to put them all. But don’t worry — we won’t leave you hanging! Take a look at some of our past blog posts for helpful DIY advice when it comes to home staging accessories:

Need more help putting your staging accessories together? Three Bears Home Staging specializes in positive, empowering consultations that help home sellers present their space in a way that sells faster and for more money. Our consultations are available in persona and online! Click below to learn more about our services or contact us here for questions.

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

FREE e-Design Board: Dorm Room Decor and Ideas

Oh, how I wish e-design had been a “thing” my freshman year of college (but as the Internet had just barely come into widespread use in 1995, e-design was not an option). My “dorm room decor” a cheap black comforter and sham on my bed with a single green chintz throw pillow and a framed Charlie Chaplin poster on the wall. Back then, my friends thought it was pretty fancy.

Nowadays though? Oh, WOW. Today’s dorm rooms are decorated to the nines, and thanks to online shopping options, college kids (and their parents) can outfit their whole dorm room in just a few clicks.

Moving Day is approaching quickly for those heading to college dorms, and if your decor sense is savvier than 1995 Vannessa’s and you’re hoping to turn those depressing cinder block walls into a stylish, comfy home-away-from home, you are in luck!

We’ve created three FREE downloadable dorm room designs—boho chic, glam, and university classic. 


Each dorm room design comes with a detailed Shopping List that’s clickable and directly shoppable, so no need to search for links. How easy is that? (FYI, unlike some online services, we don’t upcharge any items or receive any commissions on what you purchase, so you always get the manufacturer’s best price). **Due to the ever-changing nature of Internet pricing/shopping, items may have changed price/availability since this post was originally created.**

Want something more customized to your taste? Choose one of our e-Design Plans to get started or fill out our online Design Questionnaire so that we can get some info about your personal style and get going on an idea for you specifically!

Moving is already a somewhat disorganized, stressful (and usually sweaty) situation —  make it a little easier on yourself by investing in an e-Design Plan from Three Bears Home Staging. Not only will you get a design plan for a beautiful room within your budget, but you can focus as little of your time and brain power on it as you want — and how great is that?

Have more questions about how our e-design services work? Take a look here for more info.

How to Gross Out Potential Buyers (and Maybe Some of Your Friends) Without Knowing It

While it’s not realistic to expect your house to look like page 67 of the Pottery Barn catalog every day that it’s on the market (especially if you’re still living there), it’s fair to say that nobody expects perfection like a potential home buyer. Sometimes sellers unwittingly have disturbing, or even disgusting, issues a buyer just can’t move past.

Clearly, “grossed out” is not the vibe you’re going for when trying to sell your home. Eliminating buyer turn-offs or the types of things most likely to trigger sensitivities in your potential buyers can make a big difference in how quickly your home sells!

I believe in being both gentle and straightforward with home sellers, so to help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some of the top offenders when selling a home…

  • Strong smells. Hands down, an unusual — or downright bad — smell is one of the top turn-offs for potential home buyers. Pet odors, cigarette smoke, fragrant food (yes, even delicious food) can be overpowering to someone who does not live in your home — to the point that they may not even make it past the entryway. Even certain types of air fresheners, wax warmers, and scented oils can have this same negative effect. The ideal smell when selling a new home? Nothing. A buyer interprets an odor-free house as a clean house.
  • “Odd” stuff. We’ve all got stuff in our homes that other people may find weird. The weird stuff is quirky and fun for dwelling, but it can be a big problem when selling. At best it’s a huge distraction for the home buyer, and at worst it may have them running for the door. During staging consultations I always recommend clients remove anything overtly religious, political, or sexual in nature. But over the years I’ve encountered a number of other items that fall into the “might make buyers extremely uncomfortable” category, including (but not limited to) most forms of taxidermy, large collections of porcelain dolls, bongs and other drug paraphernalia, S&M equipment, and evidence of hoarding (e.g., piles of trash and old magazines). Bottom line: if you’re not sure something very personal to you will feel odd to buyers, just go ahead and remove it before you list your home.
  • Carpeted anything in the bathroom. Bathrooms are a high-moisture area, making carpet a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and home buyers know it. If you can afford to do it, rip it out and install tile or another flooring more suitable for wet areas before listing your home. While you’re at it, go ahead and tuck away any bath mats for photos and showings — not only will they make the space seem visually smaller, a lot of buyers will actually tip-toe and hop over them when viewing your home. And lose the fuzzy toilet seat covers as well (even if you’re not selling…this is not a trendy thing anymore.)
  • Evidence of pests. Many times I have walked into a home and instantly been hit with the smell of mothballs. After recovering from the intense, and what I consider overpowering smell of camphor, my next thought is always “What are these sellers fighting to keep out of their house? Rats? Snakes?” Potential buyers do not want a house that immediately requires bug bombing. Or that needs critters chased out. Hire professional pest control to address the issues before the home hits the market. Hide poison, bug spray, and traps when showing your home.
  • Evidence of pets. I love pets. I have pets. But not everybody does. And even if they do, most buyers don’t appreciate seeing open litter boxes or tufts of animal fur floating across the floor. Keep your home well vacuumed, swept, and mopped while on the market and regularly launder any washable textiles that can hold pet odor (blankets, bedding, pillows). Hide food bowls and litter boxes for showings, and absolutely take your pet off the premises if at all possible when buyers come calling. If you’re unable to take pets off the property, keep them in a kennel (no roaming kitties or dogs locked in a room) — it’s safer for the buyers AND safer for your pet.
  • Sticky, greasy kitchen cabinets. Years of delicious, home-cooked meals sometimes result in sticky, spattered grease build-up on cabinets around the stove area. Use the vent hood often when frying food, keep its filters clean, and open windows when possible when cooking. Wipe down after every meal prep to keep grease manageable, and be sure to do a thorough de-greasing of all areas before listing your home. We really like Krud Kutter for this job (make sure to test an inconspicuous area before wiping down all your surfaces):

Krud Kutter 305373 Kitchen Degreaser All-Purpose Cleaner, 32 oz

Have you ever been turned off or grossed out by something you saw while shopping for new homes? Share it with us in the comments! If you need some help identifying those “gross out” triggers, contact the experts at Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a consultation!

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

Using Decorative Trays: Tips for Home Sellers

Accessorized table trays are a hot decor trend that looks good in just about any style house. They offer additional storage, come in a variety of styles and textures, and add more dimension and interest to counters, tables, and other surfaces.

As a bonus, they’re also an amazing staging tool for the home seller who is living in the home while it’s for sale. Used as a marketing “hook,” trays are an effective way to draw a buyer’s eye to features you want to highlight, like a gourmet kitchen island or spacious bathroom countertops. But the best part is that they’re super easy to move! Just pick it up when you need to use the space, and put it back in place when you want the room to look decorated.

But using trays efficiently as a decorative accessory or as an organization tool takes a bit of finesse — sorry, Susan, you can’t just toss all your magazines and candles on there and call it a day. We’re sharing a few of our tips on choosing the right tray for the job and how to accessorize it so that it doesn’t end up as a cluttered catch-all.

How to Choose the Right Table Tray for the Job

  • Determine how you’ll use it. If it’s going in the office to organize papers, get one that’s no larger than a standard letter size to prevent pile-ups of other junk in the same spot. Trays for the kitchen should be food-safe and easy to clean, typically ceramic or acrylic. You may want a bedroom tray large enough to hold jewelry, loose pocket change, or even a lamp.
  • Think about your home’s style. Select a tray that complements the other decorative elements in the home. Galvanized metal trays are popular choices in homes that feature a farmhouse look. Hardwood trays are a great traditional choice for many homes, while clean lines and metal accents look nice in more transitional style houses. Mirrored trays are an elegant touch for bar areas and bathrooms.
  • Get good quality. Trays are available in a wide variety of price points, but make sure it has comfortable handles and is sturdily built. For a tray that may be moved around a lot, make sure the edges are high enough to keep things from slipping off when you move it.
decorative trays
Home sellers can even use table trays in the bedroom to spark a buyer’s imagination: “Couldn’t you just see yourself enjoying breakfast in bed in this gorgeous bedroom?”
Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

Tips for Accessorizing Table Trays

  • Use bigger trays for bigger tables or ottomans.
  • Mix height, texture, and color.
  • Add in sculptural pieces, like a pretty knick-knack atop a stack of books.
  • Follow the “rule of three.” Odd numbers feel looser and more relaxed when it comes to decorating — a dish to hold your remote controls, a larger decoration like a simple plant or a beautiful tall candle, and a smaller decorative object to add a bit of fun interest.
  • Avoid overfilling the tray with small pieces. It makes the decor look too bitsy and cluttered.
  • Layer in pieces that are a snapshot of your personality. Table trays are a great place to show off a collection. ***Note: This bullet point only applies if you’re decorating for YOU. If you’re staging your house to sell, keep the decor neutral and avoid any nods to politics, sports, religion, or culture.***

Are you getting ready to sell your home and in need of more tips for a faster, easier, more profitable sale? Contact Three Bears Home Staging to set up a consultation!

Title photo credit p_kennedy123 from Pixabay.

4 “Kiss of Death” Phrases I Hear Home Sellers Use Before They Even List Their House

The vast majority of my home staging consultations are positive experiences. Even clients who are initially terrified hesitant about meeting with a home stager start to relax as we work through the process together, and they begin to understand that my goal is directly in line with theirs: sell the home fast and for more money! I meet with homeowners who are preparing for happy moves due to promotions or growing family, sad moves due to divorce or layoffs, and a hundred other reason in between, but almost all homeowners I meet are motivated to get the house sold, willing to put in a little effort, and open to diplomatic suggestions.

And then there are some who are not.

There are some who are still on the fence about selling. Some who are really out of touch with how the current real estate market operates. And, every once in awhile, someone who leaves me wondering why they even called me at all. These clients typically utter at least one of the following “kiss of death” phrases and will invariably sabotage their home sale before they ever get started…

kiss of death
  • “I’m going to sell it myself.” Maybe you don’t want to pay commission fees. Maybe you had a bad experience with a real estate agent in the past. Maybe you’re one of the statistical few who can make it work. But there are lots of GOOD, professional, qualified real estate brokers and agents out there who are worth every penny of their commission. They have access to services and market knowledge that you may not. Get recommendations, do your research, interview agents, and hire one who’s a good fit for your needs.
  • “I’m just going to leave this wallpaper/raggedy carpet/hot pink dining room like it is. Whoever buys the house will want to change it to their own style anyway.” After 15 years in marketing and PR and another 6 years as a professional home stager, I can tell you without hesitation that most people can’t really “see” beyond what’s in front of them. Only about 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. By leaving your home unstaged or failing to make simple updates and repairs before you go on the market, you leave the advantages of your home overlooked and left up to the buyer’s imagination. Not to mention the fact that most buyers drastically inflate what it will cost to make those changes or repairs…and will take it off their offer price.
  • “We’re going to price it high so that we have room to negotiate.” Another “kiss of death” phrase right here. Listen: the same strategies that work at a garage sale or on an episode of “Pawn Stars” do not necessarily apply to real estate. Today’s buyers have access to a LOT of information. They know when something is priced well and when it’s not. They don’t care what you owe on it, or how much you invested, or how much you think it’s worth. Setting a price that’s inline with other comparable, recently sold homes in the neighborhood creates demand and interest and has buyers chasing YOU.
  • “Well, I don’t know if I want to make all these changes. If it doesn’t sell, then I’ll have to live with all this neutral paint/rehang my old curtains/put all the family photos back. Maybe I’ll just leave it like it is and see what happens.” No. Just…no. I can almost guarantee that if you go into a sale with this attitude it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Commit to the process and put in the prep work. If you’re not willing to do that, maybe you need to seriously re-examine whether or not you’re truly ready to sell your house (for some people, that emotional connection is still just too strong).

Don’t be the homeowner who sabotages their own sale with a “kiss of death” phrase! Preparing for a home sale is a BIG task — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Take some of the burden off your shoulders by going all in and surrounding yourself with a team of professionals who can help you make sure your house is accurately priced and staged “just right.” Need help getting started? Contact Three Bears Home Staging, and we can point you in the right direction.

Title photo credit: Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Home Sellers: How to Keep Your House Clean for Showings

When your home is on the market, it has to be “show-ready” with very little notice.

Home buyers are extremely judgmental (and really, shouldn’t they be? They’re evaluating whether to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, for Pete’s sake). Whether it’s a fair assessment or not, most buyers tend to perceive a neat, clean house as one that has been well-maintained and likely has fewer problems. A cluttered, dirty home triggers the exact opposite reaction.

Savvy sellers keep dirt and clutter at bay daily so that when a real estate agent calls and wants to show the home, it’s ready to go. Check out our tips to help you keep the house clean for showings without losing your marbles:

  • Reduce and simplify. Not once in all my years of staging homes and hundreds of consultations have I ever walked into a home that didn’t need to “simplify and reduce” on some level. Buyers will view your personal treasured possessions with a very impersonal eye, and the “stuff” that makes your house feel like home may distract a buyer from seeing the beautiful bones of the house.
  • Focus cleaning efforts on the main areas of the house: living room, kitchen, bathroom, and master bedroom. Stand in the doorway of each space and figure out what jumps out at your eyes first — start there!
  • Clear kitchen and bath counters and wipe clean. Hide away any appliance you don’t use every single day. In the bathroom, keep daily essential hygiene products in a storage container you easily slide under a cabinet or into a linen closet.
  • Do a daily “clutter sweep” of the house before heading to bed to put things in order. Keep a few baskets or bins around the house to scoop up and hide things if you get a last-minute showing request from an agent.
  • Manage the paper clutter, like bills and junk mail, as it comes in — don’t let it build up!
  • Share a bathroom. If you’ve got more than one in your house, consider having everybody just use one when possible to keep the others nice and neat.
  • Reach out to a professional home staging company, like Three Bears Home Staging. We have lots of tips and tricks we can teach you to keep your on-the-market home more manageable by working smarter, not harder.

To help you keep the house clean for showings, we’ve put together a FREE downloadable Cleaning Checklist for Home Showings to make sure your house will sparkle and shine for every visit from a potential buyer.

Keeping your house spotless while it’s on the market can be an incredibly stressful, but a little daily maintenance can go a long way toward making the process more bearable. What are your tricks for keeping the house show-ready when selling? Share them with us here! And if you need a little extra help, contact us at Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a consultation.

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time

The smell of your home makes a huge first impression on visitors — sometimes even more powerfully than design style or cleanliness. The right smell — which is sometimes a lack of smells — gives the impression of cleanliness and comfort, making potential buyers want to linger and explore the possibility of buying your house! Unpleasant odors have the exact opposite effect and will have buyers walking right out the door, sight unseen.

Here are our tips to keep your house smelling fresh and a few warnings on funky places you may never have thought to check.

  • Open the windows. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, this is a great way to get rid of stale odors and cooking smells.
  • Take out the trash. Does this one really need an explanation? Garbage stinks. Empty it often, especially if your home is on the market.
  • Don’t smoke. My dearly departed grandmother smoked like a chimney and firmly believed that a good heavy spray with a can of potpourri-scented Glade air freshener hid all evidence of her smoking in the house. My friends, I hate to break it to you…but this does not work. Cigarette smoke (all kinds) is an odor that clings and lingers in textiles, carpet, and even paint, despite thorough cleaning. Going outside to smoke is definitely a better option, but unless you’re smoking out there naked, understand that the odor will still cling to your clothes, which will be coming back into the house and into a laundry hamper where they’ll likely sit for a day or two. This odor is often difficult for smokers to detect, but trust me — non-smokers will still smell it, and this is a big turn-off to many potential home buyers.
  • Run an air purifier. Not only do they reduce smells, they help reduce pollen and dust in the air. We like this one from Amazon:

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Air Purifiers Filter, 24db Quiet Air Cleaner, Remove 99.97% Smoke Dust Mold Pollen for Large Room, Core 300, White
  • Remove mothballs. When I visit a client who’s using mothballs in a closet or garage, I can tell almost instantly by the distinct, pungent camphor fragrance. The next thing that immediately pops into my mind is “What kind of pest are they trying to thwart — Snakes? Mice?” Your buyers will head down this same train of thought! Find a different method of pest prevention while your home is on the market, and lose the mothballs.
  • Seal up spices. If your family likes to use particularly pungent spices for cooking, keep them sealed in plastic baggies or storage bins to contain the fragrance.
  • Use an essential oil diffuser or wax melt warmer. Both offer gentle, continuous pleasing fragrance that’s a little safer than the open flame of a candle. BUT if you’re putting your house on the market — seller beware! Some fragrances can work against you! Read our blog post on Scents That Sell.
  • Fire up the crockpot. If you prefer a more natural way to add subtle fragrance to your home, check out some of Three Bears Home Staging’s recipes for stove-top simmering potpourris using ingredients you may already have on hand! We have suggestions for both summertime fragrances, autumn-inspired recipes, and holiday scents. For more convenient heating, we recommend using a mini-slow cooker like this one from CrockPot:

Crock-Pot 16-Ounce Little Dipper, Chrome
  • Sprinkle baking soda on carpet. Baking soda is inexpensive, natural, and a proven odor absorber. To use it, clear rugs of as much furniture as possible and sprinkle baking soda liberally. For best results, leave it for at least a couple of hours or even overnight (sprinkle right before bedtime) to allow it to fully absorb odors. Then vacuum it up and toss it out to keep your home smelling fresh.
  • Be vigilant with pets. Obviously we can’t just get rid of our fur babies, so how do we deal? Keep pets clean, brushed, and bathed as often as possible. Launder their bedding frequently. Clean up any accidents IMMEDIATELY to avoid odors setting in. Regularly vacuum carpet and furniture. Empty litter boxes as often as possible (I mean really, you can’t overdo the litter box cleaning).
  • Deal with shoe piles. Like many people, my family removes our shoes before entering the house, not only to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked in but to reduce the amount of bacteria that comes into the house (yeah, those same shoes I used to walk around in a public restroom? They do NOT need to be schlepping through my house). Consequently, the area where shoes pile up can get a little funky. Periodically, spray shoes with an odor eliminator to get rid of the smell. Another trick? Use a little dry shampoo to absorb stinkiness and keep your space smelling fresh.
  • Clean the disposal. Garbage disposals and sink drains are notorious culprits for hidden odors. To safely clean your blades without the use of harmful chemicals, pour a couple tablespoons of salt down the disposal, add five or six ice cubes and a few thin slices of lemon (or lemon juice if you’re worried about the rind clogging things up). Run the cold water, then turn on the disposal and let it grind. Continue running water for a minute or so afterward to flush out any remaining lemon particles. Once everything is safely turned off, give those hard-to-clean rubber flaps around the opening a good scrub as well (these can get SUPER funky).

What are some of your favorite tricks to keep the house smelling fresh? Share them with us! And when you’re ready to sell and need a little objective feedback on the fragrance in your home, give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to set up a consultation.