Sellers and Realtors: Staging Education, Part Three, Decluttering

Home Stager with Certified Staging Professional

Sellers and Realtors: Staging Education, Part Three,  DeclutteringDream Home Staging and Interior Decorating

Part of my role as a professional home stager is to educate Home Sellers and Real Estate Agents about the realities of Home Staging.  Watching home staging programs on TV frequently misleads viewers and does not often impart the details of how a professional stager works and how the staging process plays out.

In the Fresno, Clovis and Madera foothill and mountain communities the housing market remains a very strong Buyers market.  I have heard many stories of buyers getting homes for 40-50% of the value that was established for them 2-3 years ago.  Many sellers are underwater with their loans and need a way out.  Home staging can help with these issues. 

Professional home staging is frequently misunderstood by many real estate agents and homeowners.  Sellers and agents are often fearful of the stager and the process.  They often think that it is primarily about decluttering, removing family photos and then adding beautiful items from a stager's inventory or having to buy new furniture themselves. 

While those aspects can be important they are NOT the sum total of what a professional home stager can do for you and your home.  We do NOT come into a home to demean or berate how the seller lives.  Our goal is to help sell the property and to make the process as easy on the seller's as possible. 

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This is Part Three of a Seven (7) part series about the ins and outs of real-life professional home staging.  You can read Parts One and Two here:

•·      Sellers and Realtors: Staging Education, an Overview, Part One

•·      Sellers and Realtors: Staging Education, Repairs, Part Two


In my professional opinion no aspect of home staging receives more attention AND confusion than DECLUTTERING.  Some people have other names for it because they don't like saying anything associated with "clutter" and its negativity.  Whatever it's called, it is crucial for any home that is going to be marketed FOR SALE.

My favorite comment that gets agents and sellers thinking is:

The way that we Dwell is NOT the way to SELL. 

If you were to walk into my home today (or tomorrow) you might say or think that it is cluttered.  I am not a minimalist and I do surround myself with things that I love.  There are collections, artifacts from our travels, there's something on every horizontal surface and an abundance of wall art.  MY HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE and it would have to change if we decided to sell it, but I'm simply living here now and it works for me and my family. 

I had a Realtor say to me this week: "I'd love to have you come into my home and give me some redesign advice BUT you'd probably tell me to throw away all of my cr#p."  My response was: "STOP..I only ask people to declutter and pack if they're selling their house.  I don't do that for ReDesign. Staging & Decorating are two very different ways of pulling together any space."  (And I never use the term cr#p.)

Every square foot, every inch, of a home For Sale has substantial dollar value and buyers want to see all of that square footage.  Clutter is very distracting and takes away from the features of the house that buyers want.  Decluttering helps refocus potential buyers attention on architectural features, room size, storage space and more. 

Which of these rooms is more appealing to you?

Dream Home Staging and Interior Decorating, Fresno CA

 Dream Home Staging & Interior Decorating, Fresno CA

The only thing that has changed in this bathroom is that it has been decluttered and a few decorative items were added that the seller already had in her home.  She took the advice of a professional stager and together we made the room much more appealing. 

Many stagers say that anything smaller than a basketball or a melon needs to be packed away.  This is often true but clutter can also mean there's too much furniture.  Traffic flow and ease of movement throughout any space is very important when a home is being shown and in listing photographs.  Every room needs what we professionals call "breathing space".  A room with breathing space is visually more relaxing.  The eye needs a space to rest, in good design, and this is particularly important in staging. Dream Interior Decorating and Home Staging, Fresno CA

Dream Home Staging and Interior Decorating, Fresno CA


When you are decluttering, please understand that buyers will look everywhere.  Closets and the garage are important features in a house For Sale. Do not stuff them with your personal items thinking that this takes care of the problem.  A professional home stager can help you with clever storage ideas that will make living in a home that's For Sale, easier on your family.


You want potential buyers to feel relaxed and you want them to take their time in previewing your house.  A house with good energy will invite buyers to stay and consider how they could make this house their home. All of the items that you love so much will NOT sell your house.  You will eventually have to pack them up for your move, so do it NOW.

Make your house, someone else's future home. Make it appeal to a broad range of potential buyers.


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                                                Dream Home Staging and Interior Decorating, Fresno CA

 Dream Interior Redesign & Staging, by Ginger Foust is a full service Professional Staging and ReDesign company.

Locally serving the California foothill and mountain communities of Oakhurst, North Fork, Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Wawona and Mariposa. Also servicing areas of Fresno and Clovis, California.

 Providing Virtual and Conceptual Staging Worldwide.

 Click here to see short slideshows with examples of our work.  After the first show, click on OTHER SHOWS to see more. 

 Visit our website at for more information or call 559-877-2442.

Comments (11)

Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Excellent post and series.  I have seen true home staging like yours in action and can attest that it really does work.  Right now, sellers need something to make their home stand out and professional home staging, along with correct pricing seem to be the 2 things that have the most success.

May 24, 2010 04:45 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Thank you Kristen.  I can guarantee that all of the stagers here on AR really appreciate the support of agents like yourself.  We know that pricing is crucial also and there's no argument on that point.  Your comments are welcome anytime!!!

May 24, 2010 04:49 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Ginger- love this series.  Decluttering has become such a buzzword in our industry and many people think that's what staging is all about.  And, it is a very important step.  Thanks for showing us why it's so important. 

May 24, 2010 08:39 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Thanks so much Kathy.  Do you use the term "decluttering" or something else?  I don't like the implications of the word but most people do understand it. 

May 24, 2010 10:01 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Ginger ~ very well-presented post!  Love the message, your photos, and the graphics.  This should be very helpful to sellers and/or agents who are on the fence about what staging can do for them.  The Before & After photo of the bathroom perfectly illustrates your points ... make it clean, make it appealing, remove the distractions, etc.  I can't wait to see what's next in your excellent series!

May 24, 2010 06:29 PM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Maureen, thank you so much.  Not many comments here but the series is getting a long of click-thru views so hopefully some one out there in cyberland is learning something and this is helping them get the process done, so that they can SELL.  One of these per week is all that I can manage. 

May 25, 2010 03:22 AM
Kathleen Emhof
Buffalo, Amherst, Orchard Park and Western New York - Buffalo, NY
Home Staging and Redesign, Experts in Transition

Ginger, I am loving your series!

And yes, CLOSETS need to be decluttered!  I think that just about the only places potential home buyers DON'T look is in the trunk of your car (a great place to hide dirty laundry, by the way!)

Thanks for your informative series!

May 25, 2010 07:43 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Kathleen, you are very welcome and thank you for the kind comments.  Doing all that I can to get the word out.  Wish more locals would read but I'm happy with the views that it is getting.  Hope that business is good for you. 

May 26, 2010 05:59 AM
Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC
Rediscovered Interiors, LLC - Andover, MN

I read in a book a good it "prepacking"  rather than de-cluttering.  That's essentially what it is anyway. 

We all are pretty familiar with what amounts initial price reductions start let's start on the low end at $5,000.00  Point out to your client the "clutter" they can't part with, also point out that all that stuff costs them money (a quick sale of the house is lessened when they haven't done this step) and put a post-it-note with $5,000.00 written on it, on the stuff they don't want to depart with.  Essentially, that is what all their stuff is costing them.  Is leaving their collections, memorbilia, photo's, etc. out for the next few months worth that much to them?  Because that is what it is costing them.

It pays to prepack!!!!


Jul 15, 2010 09:04 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

"Prepacking" is a great term Julie and certainly necessary in every job that I've encountered.  In this market some clients have the preconcieved notion that their house will sit on the market for a long time and they don't want to live without their special momento.  Foolish but reality.  When I tell them that houses that I've staged have sold the first day...they gasp and can't believe it. 

Unfortunately I've had clients that refused to prepack and they've ended up losing their house to foreclosure.  What a price to pay for STUFF. 

Jul 15, 2010 10:32 AM
Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

ginger just stumbled upon this series and is great thanks for the clever posts.

Jan 09, 2012 06:06 AM