Katchart DIY DVDs
For Design and Decorating of Homes and Property
Staging to sell  /  Defining to set up  /  Redefining to make over


Katchart Design & Decorating Tips
by Kathey Carter
Katchart Creative Director
© 2012, 2013 Katchart LLC 

Introduction: These tips and information for living in a staged home and maintaining the "presentation" status of the property for good showings, supplement the infomation in Katchart's Design & Decorating DVDs and, in particular, STAGING FOR SELLERS for staging houses and other properties.


Now that you have worked hard to get your property cleaned, de-cluttered, de-personalized and staged, there is the very real problem of living there and keeping it ready for showings until it goes under contract.

For some people who are naturally organized, this may not be too much of a challenge. For others, and particularly those with families, this can be difficult to manage along with all the other, everyday tasks that must be tended to. Nevertheless, for your staging efforts to be successful, the property must stay de-cluttered, clean, de-personalized and staged throughout the sales cycle.

While de-cluttering, cleaning and de-personalizing are not technically part of staging, they are critically necessary conditions to staging. There is no point in staging if you don't clean, de-clutter and de-personalize and keep the property that way throughout the sales cycle. Naturally then, the purpose of staging is defeated if you cannot keep the property ready to "present".

So, a few suggestions are offered below for keeping the property staged and presentation-ready that have worked for me and my clients. The most important thing though is to find a system that works for you and stick to it.


  • As you are de-cluttering and staging and preparing to pack away excess items that you are keeping, separate from these,  those things that you will need from time-to-time while you are still in the property.
  • Empty out some storage bins or cabinets and use (or get) some containers to store these things you will need periodically  in an organized and manageable way. After any use of these items, place them back neatly in the containers. Your property will stay staged this way and this organized approach will have a favorable impact on prospective buyers.
  • For people with smaller children, leave out only a few toys so it is easy to pick up after. Pack one of your containers with some extra toys. Periodically, you can swap some of the toys you have left out for the children to play with some in the container.

Don’t Forget About the Other Senses

  • A home purchase is not just a financial / location issue; it is also a very emotional issue. Emotional reactions are triggered by all five of the senses. Although sight is the most important, the other four senses are important .
  • Buyers are going to touch things. Keep counter-tops, railings, cabinets, etc. clean, polished (if appropriate)  and pleasant to the touch.
  • Avoid cooking with foods that leave strong odors or at least be sure to cover them up. Make sure each room and space in the property smells good for viewings.
  • Pleasant background music is nice. It is almost a necessity if there are unpleasant noise from inside or outside.
  • Taste is probably the sense that comes into play the least, but there are some things that can be done to make this sense an ally for you such as leaving out candy dish with wrapped chocolates or other candies, that appeal to people’s tastes.

Make It a Team Effort

  • A method that can work is involving the whole family as a team in the pick up effort. A prize or reward system can be used to motivate the entire family as a team.
  • For example, my family wanted a pool at the new home and we knew that we could get more money for property if we kept it staged. By making the pool the reward for the team effort, it was easy to get them involved.
  • Other families have used vacations, special play areas in the new home and other rewards to achieve this goal. 

Whatever approach you use, having a system to get the property ready each day for presentations to prospective buyers is a great way to deal with the added burden of living in a staged home. If everyone knows how the room(s) they are responsible for are supposed to be left each day and does their part, then  the property will remain staged, the burden will be manageable and, most importantly, your chances for quicker, more profitable sale by staging are greatly improved. You may even find, like I did, that your system can be carried over to the new home to keep it looking great.