Selling Your House with a KISS

Home Stager with STAGING By Gina (LA area Staging & Design)

We've heard the axiom "A staged home is a sold home"- and this is very true. Staging is all about preparing THE PROPERTY for sale, showcasing it in the best possible light, to appeal to the broadest range of prospects. I've developed a list to explain the staging process, called the Ten Keywords of Staging: 1. Clean 2. De-Cluttered 3. Non-personal 4. Updated 5. Upscale 6. Flowing Floorplan 7. Usable Space 8. Warm 9. Inviting 10. Exciting

Today we'll talk about Steps#1 through#3 CLEAN, DE-CLUTTERED, NON-PERSONAL.  Think of it as "Selling your house with a KISS" (Keep It Simple, Silly!) But then of course, SIMPLE is not always EASY......

Nobody wants to deal with another person's dirt, grime, odors, clutter, or personal agendas. Yet, you know if you've been living in your home, it's inevitable there's been build-up over time. Yes, it can be overwhelming to deal with your own "stuff"- but very motivating when you consider how much more quickly the place will sell, and for so much more money!

I just love staying in a fine hotel room a couple times a year because everything's been done- it's well decorated, comfortable, well-lit, and SO CLEAN.  The same is true for prospective homebuyers-they are drawn to homes that present themselves like fine hotels.  So let's get to it!. Let's break it down, outside to inside:

Exterior of House & Property: roof, rain gutters, masonry, trim, fences, landscaping, driveways, walkways, breezeways, porches, garage

Put your men on the job! Your husband, brother, son and their friends can team up on a weekend to get the job done! During the week, gather together all necessary tools & supplies, rent a large dumpster, and come the weekend, "get 'r done!" It's like removing a band-aid- hurts less when you tear it off quick! Power-wash the exterior of the house, mend and paint fences, trim hedges, cut away plants near all windows, walkways, and doors, clean out the garage, porches and breezeways. They can have a BBQ and pat themselves on the back when the job is done.

Interior of House- walls, carpet, linoleum/tile, windows, light fixtures, moldings & trim, fireplace, kitchen and bathrooms, laundry areas, pet areas, bedrooms and closets

This is where the real money is made! A spotlessly, completely clean house will feel remodeled, better than new! Since we're attacking odors, grime, and clutter all at the same time, it's best to assemble an indoor team as well! I've moved more than twenty times, and have it all down to a science by now. Here's what I do to CLEAN & DE-CLUTTER in 3 DAYS 


Start early one morning, set a goal to completely finish before dinner. Go through the ENTIRE HOUSE, ALL  closets and cabinets and put things into 3 piles: a) necessities your family will need the next couple of months go on tables b) junk to be sold or discarded goes into a cleared corner of the living room c) stuff I want but don't need the next few months goes into a cleared corner of each room d) all files, valuables and photos should be packed and stored. They are personal and do not belong in a house that is for sale. 

Starting today, all pets (and smokers!) will need to stay with friends, or stay in the garage or yard until the house is sold.

Bring in a maid service today to do a deep cleaning. It's a BIG job- and they'll do a much better, faster job than you. This is often referred to as a "move-out" cleaning, will cost $50-$85/hour, should be a team of 3 or 4, and will take 4-8 hours depending on the size of the house.  They will deep clean the kitchen (including oven, refrigerator), bathrooms, strip and wax the floors, clean out the fireplace, wash the doors, cabinets inside and outside, moldings. Have them use MURPHY'S OIL SOAP on all wood paneling, floors, bannisters etc. Use a professional window cleaner to clean both inside and outside, and screens, repairing any damaged screens.

Invite your stager to come over and review which items they'll use to stage your property. EVERYTHING the stager won't use and you won't need the next couple of months NEEDS TO GO, either to storage, garage sale, donation, or trash. Why is this necessary? When the house sells, you need to move anyway, so why not be prepared? And do you really want to pay to move stuff you don't need? Do yourself a big favor and make a fresh start.  A clean, organized home is perceived as well-maintained and updated.  You'll make more money, and sell quicker!  Well done! Have a glass of wine, relax, have dinner, because tomorrow's a new day.


Treat yourself- bring in professional packers from a moving company. This costs $70/hour plus supplies for 2 people.  They are trained, insured, and will bring their own boxes, packing paper, etc. Use them to pack everything that's going to storage. Quick & efficient! They'll mark every box with a description, and which room it came from. Call Salvation Army or your church to pick up your donated items. In the afternoon, hire a couple teenagers to move the packed items and any extra furniture to a storage container you've had delivered.

Give your kids a job! Have them use the hose attachment of the vacuum to clean all drapes and upholstery, then spray with FEBREEZE. Spot clean the carpets and upholstery with FOLEX, or hire a good professional cleaner. Take the houseplants outside and hose them down, and spray with LEAF SHINE.  If they still look scraggly, group them together in the corner of a covered porch.


By now you'll be excited and energized- the place looks great! Or does it? Does everything smell fresh? Mold is smelly- and toxic.  Spray past water intrusions with a solution of 25% chlorine bleach and water to kill mold and reduce odor. Try a home ozonator system, or leave windows open to air out the house on a regular basis. Fabric holds odors- everything (bedding, towels, carpet, throw rugs, upholstery, drapes) needs to pass the sniff test. Spray closets with Lysol Disinfecting Spray or FEBREEZE.  Spray inside shoes with Odor Eaters with Zorbitol. Wipe down all your walls, especially kitchen and bathrooms, with a solution of TSP to eliminate greasy grime and odors.  If the walls still look dingy, you will need to paint. Thoroughly clean all light fixtures, replace all light bulbs with a slightly higher wattage.

Wow- you've accomplished so much! Not only is your house fresh and clean, but you're mostly packed, and excited to put the house on the market and begin your new life. A clean house has great Feng Shui. By going through this process, the homeowners have completed an important ritual to prepare themselves to move on.

That's what I call- Selling your House with a KISS!

Comments (2)

Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging your title, it really drew me in.  Good info. too!  You're close to my hometown....Sylmar...yep another valley girl here. 

Jul 25, 2009 04:22 PM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Selling your home with a kiss, catchy.

I'll help clean up the spam here.

Nov 15, 2012 01:16 PM