Home Stager

Successful Online Listings Make Personal Connections. Is Your Personal 'Stuff' Getting In The Way?

When preparing your home for sale, depersonalizing it is an important step in the home staging process. Now that virtually all Buyers start their home search on the internet, it's even more important to depersonalize your home before taking your online listing photos. 
When selling your house the goal is to sell quickly at the highest price. In order to do this, you want your home to show well and attract serious offers fast. Therefore you want to prepare your home in a manner that appeals to the broadest range of Buyer preferences. When Buyers are shopping for homes they don't want to see your personal stuff. 
Your home is likely filled with many very personal items that are unique, special and important to you and your family. To prepare your home for selling, you want to remove your personality so that potential buyers can visualize how their own personality will look in your house. To make it easy for them to do this, you need to go through your home and pack up or put away all your personal items. This is the process of de-personalizing your home.


  1. Prepare yourself emotionally before you get started. This is often the most difficult step for home Sellers. For most people, putting away your personal items such as family photos and collectables in preparation for selling is a very emotional process. This is why the first step in de-personalizing is to prepare yourself emotionally.  Understanding the reason why de-personalizing is so important to achieving your goal of selling fast and getting the best offers will make it easier for you to start packing away those personal treasures. Stay focused on the end goal, SELLING.
  2. Remove personal photos and family portraits. Go through your home and take down photos, paintings or images hanging on walls or set on counter tops. This includes and especially applies to large framed portraits so don't be selective. If needed, replace them with other pictures or artwork you have around your house. Most homes will have too much on the walls as it is so spread things out to avoid spending money on new wall art. Don't forget to remove the photos and children's artwork (and everything else too) from your refrigerator.Best way to sell your house - Remove personal photos
  3. Get a head start on your packing and start taking down those prized trophies, awards and framed certificates. Get those things off the shelves packed away. Buyers are not interested in your stuff.  The added benefit of de-personalizing is that it's also a good start to de-cluttering, especially offices and work spaces.
  4. Pack up your 'collections'.  Most homes showcase some sort of personal collection. From the common doll or stuffed animal collection to the not so common dead animal heads or gun collections, they detract Buyer's attention. These collections create a lot of visual clutter, especially in online photos. Hundreds of antique plates, figurines, ball caps or beer bottles lining shelves are distracting and take focus away from the home.Best way to sell your house - Pack away collections
  5. Put away toys and sporting or exercise equipment. They are also considered personal items. This step helps with two other major home staging principles as well, 'de-cluttering' and 'rooms set to room type'. You don't want a bunch of toys in the living room or workout stuff in bedrooms.
  6. Remove any personal items that may be potentially controversial or politically, morally or socially incorrect. You will have a wide variety of people and personalities viewing your home online before deciding to go view your home in-person. You don't know what little thing might turn off a potential buyer, think inappropriate artwork.           Poster hung in dining room (this poster was on a dining room wall in a listing photo)
  7. De-personalize your bathrooms.  Most of the items in your bathrooms will likely be personal, makeup, toothbrushes, bathrobe, etc.  The best rule of thumb is to remove EVERYTHING from your bathroom counters and in bathtubs and showers first. Then put back only a few decorative items like hand towel, bath salts or candle but no personal care products. And remember, put the toilet seat down!


The main point to remember when staging your home for optimal online showing is that you want potential Buyers to like what they see in your photos and want to come view your home in-person. Because the fundamental nature of your home at its core is deeply personal, removing your personal items and personality can be very emotional and difficult. Here are some more words of advice if you are having trouble with depersonalizing your home
  • Go room-by-room looking at all the contents and ask "would most other people want this in their home?".
  • Get outside help. Get your Realtor's advice, ask a friend's opinion, hire a home stager or get a home staging evaluation. They will see things that you don't.
  • Don't take depersonalizing personal. Just do it and move on.
  • If you don't want to pack away all of your personal items yet, create an alternative plan. First, move things out of site for your listing photo shoot.  Second, have storage tubs or bags in each room with a list of things that need to be put away for in-person showings. Store the tubs or bags under beds. This is especially helpful for bathrooms and bedrooms. Get your family involved and divvy up the tasks. Your goal should be to get things put away in 15 minutes or less.

By Teri Allen, Online Staging Pro

To learn about how our Online Home Staging Evaluations help you prepare your home for selling, visit us at http://OnlineStagingPro.com 

Comments (3)

Rob Marken
Bend River Realty - Bend, OR
25+ years experience in Bend

Great tips! It is so important to depersonalize a home when it is time to list.  You really want a home to be a little bit of a blank canvas, but still homey so I buyer can invision themselves in the home. 

Jul 30, 2014 04:36 AM
Teri L
Palm Desert, CA

Yes, well put Rob. Thanks

Jul 30, 2014 04:49 AM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Hey, Teri - staging sells homes!

Jul 30, 2014 10:54 AM