Free Printable: New Year Purge List

NewYearPurgeList-ThreeBearsHomeStaging

Reducing 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.

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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3 Revelations I Had While Staging My Own Home For Sale

blog-3RevelationsA few weeks ago my husband and I noticed a home we’d had our eye on for several months dropped the price. We decided to take a leap of faith, made an offer, and it was accepted!

“Next step: we have to have put our current home on the market and get a sales contract within 14 days,” my real estate agent/husband told me.

Mmm-hmmm…Ok. Should be no problem for a Realtor husband and a home stager wife, right? No pressure at all! <insert exhausted, hysterical laughter here>

Well, I am happy to say that within 3 days of activating our listing we DID, in fact, get a sales contract on our current home. But what I learned (and was reminded of) during this back-breaking, anxiety attack inducing experience, I feel compelled to share with other home sellers and those who work with sellers on a regular basis. Take note…

  • I will no longer use the phrase “de-clutter” when talking to my clients. I don’t think I had realized how emotionally charged this word feels. Doing what I do, I am constantly reminded of the need to simplify my surroundings. I keep things extremely neat, tidy, and organized around my home and felt fairly confident I’d be able to get our home staged in no time flat.

After my third trip to Goodwill in a 12-hour period and becoming increasingly personally acquainted with the staff, I came to the conclusion that I was very, very wrong. Even though my home wasn’t “cluttered,” the truth is that there were still a LOT of things in my house that we had outgrown, no longer used, no longer needed or wanted, and it just didn’t make sense to pack and move them. To my mind, “de-clutter” implies that one is messy. Because I am not messy, I wrongly assumed that meant I didn’t have clutter. This humbling experience has taught me that, as it relates to staging, I think a more accurate phrase home sellers should embrace is “less is more” or just “reduce and simplify.”

*In a related note, sellers should remember it is hard to be objective about your own stuff! I do this for other people all the time, and once our photos came back, I still noticed several items that probably should have been removed or neutralized for a better photo presentation. Reducing your “visual clutter” (stuff that’s not junky or messy, but still a visual distraction for buyers) is why it’s good to get a professional stager to come in as an objective third party to help you “reduce and simplify.”

  • Staging is an important part of emotionally disconnecting with your home. I raised my little ones in this home. My husband and I experienced personal and professional milestones in this home. We needed more space for our growing family and growing business, but it was breaking my heart a little to leave this place that held so many memories. Enter home staging…my professional mind knew this needed to happen. My bookshelves were carefully organized — but they needed to be less full, less personalized, less distracting to potential buyers. The walls had gorgeous family photos (and murals!) —but they needed to come down so buyers could visualize their own family living there. My kids had adorable play sets and large toys — but they needed to be packed away so buyers could see how spacious the room was. As I busily packed away treasured items and repainted spaces, as it gradually became less personal and felt less like OUR home, we began that all-important process of detachment and we all began to grow more excited about moving to the new house.
  • It is so worth it! Staging your home — and living in a staged home — is without question a completely stressful experience. Your world is upside down while you move, reorganize, camouflage, rearrange, and neurotically clean every facet of what has always been your sanctuary. You chase after every crumb with a wet sponge, yell at people for daring to sit on a couch with freshly fluffed pillows, painstakingly make the bed with ALL the throw pillows every day…but if you do stage it right and if you price it right, the offers WILL come. And then you can start to relax again and look forward with excitement to a future in your brand new home!

Getting your home ready to go on the market can be incredibly stressful, but we can help! If you need a hand getting your Katy, Texas home ready to sell, please give Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here.

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.