Home staging inventory - when is it time to sell off items?

Home Stager with Shift Property Styling

As a home stager with a large inventory of staging items built up over the last three years, there comes a time to decide on what stock needs to be sold off and what needs to be retained in order to remain fresh and fund new purchases

It is a hard process, generally speaking the stock you buy to grow your home staging inventory is kind of like an extension of you and your own tastes combined with your skill in choosing items that will appeal to the widest selection of homes. The thought of getting rid of some elements of this stock can be difficult because you have put so much work into collecting it, you have seen it styled and staged and looking brilliant in someone's home.

But there does come a time when table corners get knocked out square, vases get stains, linen yellows from the UV exposure, sofas mark and scratch and you have to make the decision to let some items go in order to continue to collect new stock that will leave your inventory uplifted.

There is nothing worse than seeing a home stagers work and recognising the sofa, artwork and console table from the last three jobs they did in their portfolio page of their website. Keeping stock fresh and reducing the rotation of certain items will allow you to broaden your portfolio without replicating images from job to job.

Buying new or used accessories that have not been used in your staging provides a terrific way to freshen your home staging and styling look too.

But back to the furniture. I have found that after three years of use, my inventory is showing signs of needing to be retired and I will be looking to have a sale outside my warehouse (once summer in Tasmania arrives). This will be the best way to reduce damaged stock which has never been used as such, in fact all my mattresses are still covered in the original plastic!

While second furniture prices are not great, they have generally paid for themselves once or twice over so any price in selling them is of value to me.

Would be interested in experiences of any other home stagers on what their process is to remove older stock from the inventory.

Comments (18)

Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Adam -- having a sale (or donating to a worthy charity) seems to be the best way to go.  I agree 100% that showing the same furniture over and over is the kiss of death for a stager's portfolio.  We usually purchase fresh accessories for most projects so that the fixed pieces get an entirely different look.  (BTW do you have any Tasmanian devils in your inventory?   :-)

Jul 06, 2009 04:37 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Hi Adam! Each spring when I purge my inventory I donate used inventory to charitable organizations.     

Jul 06, 2009 04:43 PM
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

I would say that if you haven't used it in 2 years, then sell it or donate it. If you stay with clean line trends then it should stay for awhile. It is the homes that need the Victorian, cottage, or special look that throws us off and we do not like a total theme because buyers aren't looking for that. Many times, we never use it again. We have really tried to stay transitional so we don't get in that trap.  Our furniture is lasting about 2 to 3 years depending on use. As for seeing that particular item again in your portfolio... not sure what you mean by that. We have 15 vacants out right now and do use our same furniture as little as we have to, (we always try to change it up) but if another home calls... where do you think we are going to put it? Right now we are doing primarily 4 room vacant stagings... so all my cute kid's rooms are sitting, guess I need to sell 'em to make room for more furniture. ;))

Jul 06, 2009 05:48 PM
Donna Schoby
Liberty Bank of Arkansas - Bentonville, AR

Adam, I'm still to new to have that problem yet. But enjoy reading others comments. My time will come.

Jul 07, 2009 12:22 AM
Kate Hart
Hart & Associates Staging and Design - Radnor, PA

Great blog- this is something that I have been thinking about lately. We usually have 2 markets here- spring and fall and all of my spring homes have sold and are coming back into inventory. Sometimes I cringe when I see the same old stuff coming back but to be honest with you that same old stuff 1. fits the target demographic that I am selling to, 2. is in great shape since it has been sitting in a vacant home and most importantly 3. is paid for many times over and now making me a profit.

As much as I would love to go out and buy all new items for each project I have to remind myself that I am a business woman first and protecting my profit is number one. If I have inventory that fits a need for a specific home and is in good shape then I use it- even if I have used it 25 times! I have to admit that I have some inventory that I am just so bored with but every time we put it in a home buyers love it and want to buy it. There is something about a certain pair of roosters we own that just magically sells houses! LOL!

I think you have to know your local market. Here most of our buyers prefer a higher end traditional look so most of the items that I have accumulated do not go out of style. For the more transitional homes we tend to mix and match items and add a few new pops of color here and there like new pillows or linens etc.

I have also made staging easier by creating pre-planned rooms. I have certain packages of accessories that go together with certain rental furniture. This way I can plan a project one time and use it over and over. It may not be fresh to me but it is always new and exciting to the buyer! If I sold some inventory I would have to go back and recreate those plans.

I do not own furniture because of the wear and tear issues- I thought about renting furniture but then I saw what happens to furniture when it is moved and transported to multiple homes. I did not want to make the investment in furniture, movers, transportation and storage. Warehouse space here is very expensive- I could of had a summer home with what I have paid in the last 5 years!

So to sell or not to sell - that is the question. My theory? If it is "on trend" and in usable condition (magic markers can do wonderful things in a pinch) then hang onto it. As for the portfolio page- select your best work that shows many different looks.

Let us know how the sale goes! Sometimes you can make more by donating the items too! KH

Jul 07, 2009 12:35 AM
Joanne O'Donnell
Chic Home Interiors - Oakland, CA

Adam, I am about to do the same thing myself.  Some stuff I will send to a consignment shop, some stuff I will give to people I know need things, I will have a garage sale for stuff the consignment shop doesn't take - bedding, dishes, etc. and I will take a whole lot of stuff to goodwill or salvation army. It is cleansing to go through this process...  but a lot of work too...

Jul 07, 2009 03:58 AM
Todd McAllister
On Stage home staging and redesign co. Portland, OR. - Portland, OR


 I have had a lot of success advertising a sale on Craig's List.  In the past, I have had two sales each year to change out some of my inventory. Like you said, casegoods and upholstery can get battered over a period of time.  I have not had a sale this year, but we have been selling quite a bit of furniture out of our staged homes.  I too, have some (ok.. a lot) of items that I am in love with and try to use over and over.  Like Kate said, magic markers can cover up a lot of "moving sins" but they do not work so well when a corner of a table gets bashed.  I find it hard sometimes to set furniture free into the world, but it allows me to purchase new items to keep things fresh.  I try to go to market at least once a year, but sometimes things do not coordinate and I have to reslult to ordering from books (which can be a bad thing).  Over the years, I have learned many valuable lessons on purchasing inventory for my business.  I always try to find items that can be used for multiple uses, but at the same time, finding items that have great timeless style at an affordable price.  I have tried the expensive route for buying inventory, but it turned out to be another learning experience, at least for case goods.  I will spend a little bit of money for great accessories... they are the eyecandy of any room.

My therory on the whole staging business is that you are only as great as your last job.

Jul 07, 2009 07:13 AM
Jo Potvin
Design To Market LLC - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market

I am experimenting with having a furniture refinisher come to my warehouse to repair items that we use and love but that have been scratched or nicked as we move from job to job.  I think it will wotk out to be more economical than buying new when they are popular pieces that we continue to use.  We have also had some upholstered pieces recovered and have had great success with this as well.

Jul 07, 2009 04:29 PM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

I typically go through my inventory once or twice a year and purge what has not been used in the past 6-12 months or is showing severe signs of wear.  Kind of like clothing, if I haven't found a use for it in the past 12 months, I most likely will not be using it in the future.  When we get to this point we either donate it to charity or sell it on CraigsList (I don't know if you have CraigsList on your side of the world) but some other on-line listing.

One project that I am currently working on and will post soon is how I'm revamping my enormous pillow inventory instead of tossing them.

Jul 08, 2009 02:06 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

We have an annual sale.  Last year we sold quite a bit of furniture, pillows, decor, art, that hadn't been used or was too specific for multiple use.  We made quite a bit of money and were able to invest in new items.  We also have a second hand store that purchases most large ticket inventory we are looking to clear out, so we don't have to advertise each piece. 

We'll be planning another sale at the end of this month - again keeping an eye mostly on items that have not been used over the last year - or have lost their appeal for one reason or another.  Good luck on your own clearance sale!

Jul 08, 2009 04:30 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

We recently sold a bunch of inventory at an estate auction because it was feeling a little worn or dated.  This gave us extra money to purchase things that were fresh and new.  our job is always to wow the customer - this means making sure the home feels like the lifestyle buyers are wanting to live.... you can't do that with worn and dated furniture for sure!

Jul 08, 2009 10:58 AM
Adam Luttrell
Shift Property Styling - Honolulu, HI
Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania

Thanks everyone for your contributions, I can clearly see that the options are wide open when it comes to selling stock off or refurbishing to be given a new lease of life.

It tough to have a warehouse chock full of stock from time to time and know that some of it should go in order to make more room for newer and fresher stock but not have the heart to sell it knowing it has been a reliable piece of furniture (or a great decorative piece).

I agree though in maintaining stock where possible and even when a piece has been used a number of times, strongly believe in utilising new and exciting accessories to try and change the dynamics of the furniture and the presentation style in the property.

Jul 08, 2009 12:28 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Adam, thank goodness for Craigslist!  I have a limited number of large furniture pieces (sofas,beds, dining tables) because of storage issues but carry a lot of accessories including linens, lamps, pictures, pillows, etc.  I think whatever we place in a home needs to appear fresh and in good shape.  At the same time, we have to be careful not to have our portfolio pictures begin to look to "canned" or alike. 

Jul 08, 2009 01:55 PM
Isabel Gomes
Gomes Design - London, ON
Interior Decorator, Stager - London, Ont

Hi Adam. 

I have very few large pieces mostly accessories.  I keep what is still in great shape and get rid of what is showing signs of aging.  


Jul 09, 2009 05:38 AM
Karen Sue
Karen Sue Realty, Inc. - Palm Beach, FL

Adam, I have been Staging for 5 years. After 3 years I too started purging my inventory. Things get scratched, out dated or you just wonder why you ever bought the item because you never use it. I have great luck on Craigs list. There are several consignment stores in the area but havn't needed to use them yet. You could also let the Realtor that is representing the buyer know that certain items in the house are for sale. Buyers have offered to purchased items on several occasions.

I always mix my furniture up so rarley does a room look the same as in a previous house. Neutral furniture with lots of different accessories to chose from, and different camera angles help.

Jul 09, 2009 06:25 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

I've been thinking of getting rid of some things I have been hanging on to for a long time (after all, its already paid for) but will probably never use. I'm more likely to go out and buy something new than use it again if I'm out of my favorites. Clearing out inventory not only generates cash to buy new inventory, but it is good feng shui. Getting rid of what we don't use makes space for new energy and prosperity. 

Yard/warehouse sale




...are my favorite ways to clear out the old.

Jul 10, 2009 03:28 PM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

I just saw an ad for an organization that furnishes peoples homes that are less fortunate with donations from people.  Another great option.

Jul 11, 2009 04:45 PM
Ranju Phelan

I am a realtor in Silicon Valley, CA and a lot of my clients ask me how they can buy furniture and accesories from staging companies. Would love to work with stagers who can come and decorate either a particular room or whole house and can sell the inventory as well. Can someone please suggest.

Oct 31, 2018 11:27 PM