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Home Staging Portland Style: Home Staging Tips For Pet Owners, Part 2 - Making It Easier

Cats & DogsIn part 1 of this article, I focused on your pet’s safety and well being during the marketing of your home. If you want to be sure that your furry family members survive and thrive during the marketing of your house, please read Home Staging Portland Style: Home Staging Tips for Pet Owners, Part 1 – Pet Safety.

Those of us with pets have special challenges when it comes to making sure our homes are clean, odor free and ready to show at a moment’s notice. Not everyone loves animals the way we do. Some have allergies and nobody likes pet odors! So, although you will do more work than most sellers in preparing your home for sale, and you’ll have to stay on top of odors, pet hair, pet dishes & beds daily, the following advice from a professional home stager who owns 2 dogs and 6 cats will help make the process as easy as possible.

First, buy all new pet beds and make sure you buy ones that have easily removable covers for laundering. Pet beds get smelly over time, so rather than fighting to get an old bed clean, just do yourself a favor and start with fresh new beds. Throw the covers in the wash weekly to keep them clean. That may seem excessive, but many people are highly allergic to pet hair and dander, so washing weekly not only keeps them odor free, but helps to assure that a potential buyer doesn’t have an allergy attack halfway through the house.

Vacuum daily while your home is on the market. Use one of the vacuums that has a hepa filter. As well as the rugs, vacuum your upholstered items,the pet beds and any curtains that collect pet hair as your animals brush past them. I actually bought one of the iRobot brand Roomba automated vacuums. I am amazed how much that helps to keep pet fur at bay, although it does need to be emptied often. I also chose to keep protective blankets on upholstered pieces that were favorite sleeping spots, (for the pets — not me) only removing them when we put the cats and dogs into their dog run and cattery. I laundered them regularly.

Pet beds need to be out of sight during showings. I have big dogs with big dog beds. I slide my dog beds underneath my own bed where they cannot be seen. If yours won’t go under the bed, or you have a platform bed and they would be visible, then buy a large plastic crate with a lid into which you can toss the beds, blankets, & toys and set the whole business inside a closet. It’s fast and helps to seal away pet hair. You can do the same with an attractive chest which can remain in the room. Fast & easy! For smaller pet beds, think about hiding them in plain sight. Take a look at some of the ideas in these photos. If the entry holes are simply facing to the side or back, nobody has any idea they are pet beds, so you don’t have to worry about hiding them before showings. In fact, these are great ideas for incorporating your pet’s belongings into your home decor even if you aren’t selling your home. I love the contemporary walnut pet bed. And the little doggie murphy bed is a great idea! Click on the photos for their sources.

Cat Cave Cat Cave side view

Multi purpose cabinets & pet beds

Empty cans of wet cat or dog food smell horrible.
Even to me, a big-time pet lover. Rinse them thoroughly before throwing them in your indoor recycle bin, and remove them to your outdoor recycle bin as soon as possible. Remove all trash & recyclables to outdoor containers each morning when you leave the house.

Pet food bowls should not be left out in the house for showings. Having a dog run or an outdoor cattery gives you a place to keep water and/or food available. To make things easier for myself while my home was on the market, I used paper plates to feed our cats their canned food because I could just toss the used plates in the garbage and I took our garbage out daily. This saved me time washing their bowls and putting them away. You can also put clean pet bowls in a plastic crate with a lid, along with toys & blankets to get them out of sight quickly. By the way, the paper plate idea did not work for my big dogs — they tried to eat the plates, ripping them to shreds. Big mess!

Litter boxes need to be scooped relentlessly. To make it as convenient as possible to keep them scooped,  I kept a container right next to each litter box with plastic grocery bags and a scooper inside. If your container is attractive looking, nobody will know what is inside. This made it quick and easy to scoop out the litter box with the supplies right at hand. I just drop the scooped litter into the plastic grocery bags, tie them shut and take them directly to the outside trash. The container with bags & scooper can quickly be placed inside a cabinet or closet if it isn’t attractive. Also, providing the type of litter boxes with lids will keep you from having to do so much sweeping of litter kicked out of the box. Some of them also have a filter in the top to help absorb odors.

You will also want to place litter boxes so that they are not in view even though you have the odor completely handled. One great solution is to keep the litter box in your garage and install a cat door so your cat can get to the litter box. I’ve also used a decorative free standing screen in a corner to hide a litter box from view. The photo below shows one of my favorite solutions to hiding a litter box. This is made from an Ikea chest with a hole cut in one end. It has enough room to house the litter box, plus the clean up tools and other cat items. The open grid design means there is light and ventilation inside for the cats. As long as the litter box is kept clean, nobody will have any idea what it is for. Doubles as a bench too! Other photos show cabinets turned into places to hide beds or litter boxes. Although the skirt around the sink is a little funky for my taste, it could work in a tiny apartment if other options aren’t possible. Besides, I couldn’t resist the picture of her cat “Tony” sitting in the sink. Very cute!

(Oh yeah, these photos are NOT from homes that were professionally staged, so you still need to lose the clutter on top of the cabinets and keep the toilet lid down.)

Ikea Bench hides litter box Litter box & clean up tools hidden inside Ikea Bench

Cabinet with cat door in the side hides litter box Cabinet opened to reveal hidden litter box

Cat on sink with skirt hiding litter box    Sink skirt reveals hidden litter box

It’s essential to be sure that carpeting does not have any pet odor or stains. If your pet has had an “accident”, the most effective enzyme action odor neutralizer I have used is called “Stink Free” which I bought at PetSmart. Great name, huh? This is great for a minor spot here or there. But if you have very much staining & odor, remove the carpet & pad from the affected rooms. Instead of re-carpeting, It would be best to put flooring in such as wood, laminate or tile, that can be easily mopped up in case of any new accidents. Don’t even consider leaving the carpet in and giving a “carpet allowance”. Anyone detecting the odor or stains from pet urine will run, not walk, out of your house.

Outdoor dog runs and catteries still need to be kept clean. Keep a poop scooper, rake, shovel, & trash can right there for quick and easy clean-up. Having a surface that can be hosed down to wash away urine will also make it easier to keep it clean, healthy for your pets and odor free.

I know this sounds like a lot of work — and it is. Been there, done that, bought T-shirt! But having this all organized efficiently and staying on top of it daily will make the whole process easier. In no time at all your house will be putting it’s best foot paw forward and you and your critters can move on to a new and wonderful home!

This post got “4 paws up” from Shirley, Izzy, Leeloo, Bubu, Buzzy Max, Suki G, Zipper Jane, and Otto!

If you would like more details on any of the photos, please click here to see my original blog post which has clickable links on all the photos to their original sources.

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Pangaea Interior Design provides Residential Interior Design, Model Home Decor and Home Staging in Portland, Oregon. Don't wait, call today to get started on your next project! 503-816-4394

Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

It's a lot of work to sell a home with a pet.  One consideration I always suggest.....is there someone who might board your pet while it's on the market??  Sometimes a parent, sister, daughter etc will keep the pet for a few weeks....less work, safer and easy!!

Jan 31, 2010 04:35 PM
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I've never seen such awesome bed pets.  Great ideas!

Feb 01, 2010 01:02 AM
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Kathy - That can be a great option if you only have one or two pets. Not an option for someone like me with my great eight! It's also very tough emotionally for us pet lovers to be parted with our furry ones 24/7. Most of us think of them like our "kids". But if you know they are safe with someone who loves them it can save you a lot of vacuuming, for sure.

Beth - Aren't they the coolest?! I started researching contemporary and "hidden" pet beds and litter box hiding solutions because I'm sick of seeing them all over my own house. Having pets shouldn't mean being resigned to plastic boxes and fleece with plaid accents as your only choice for decor!

Feb 01, 2010 02:24 AM
Rita Minion
O'Brien Realty - Solomons, MD

Hello Pangaea,

Another terrific post on home staging for pet owners who are selling their homes!  I just love the pet beds and some of the litter box concealing ideas.  Thank you for time it took you to put this article together & for sharng it with us.  It will be very helpful to home sellers with pets.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!




Feb 06, 2010 03:42 AM
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Kathy has a great suggestion!  Nice post!

Feb 06, 2010 11:49 AM
Paula Springer
Key Elements Inc. Home Staging & Interiors - Portland, OR

p-AWesome post Pangaea!






Mar 12, 2010 11:38 AM