Our house is nearing L-day, the day it will be listed for sale as part of our plans to downsize. My Realtors provided a stager and I’m working my way through the long list of what he wants done before we can put the house on the market.
Many of them make sense—we all know we need to declutter and pack up all those family photos. But some items shout “professional staging.” In celebration of the almost-completion of this process, here are the top ten signs a professional stager has prepped your house for sale.
10. All the towels in your bathrooms are white, but none of your bathrooms are. And by the way, they are unwashed, so they're still fluffy, and Lord help anyone who tries to actually use them.
9. All your toilet brushes and plungers are stowed out of sight. You’ve made notes of where they are because… well, out of sight out of mind, and at this point, you’ve totally lost yours.
8. Mr. Popper’s penguins could now hold their bowling tournaments on your kitchen counter tops. Provided they cleaned up after themselves when they were done.
7. There is not one single paperback on any of the 100 linear feet of built-in bookshelves in your house. Ditto for the 25 linear feet of shelving in various furniture items.
6. The carpeting in several rooms is now two different colors, in distinct rectangular patterns. To make the rooms look bigger, you had to get rid of several large pieces of furniture that had been in place for 18 years. Who remembered the original carpet color was deep blue, not faded slate?
5. All of the energy efficient helix light bulbs have been replaced with old-fashioned round ones, because incandescent light is more flattering to what is left of your decor.
4. The storage room in your basement looks like one of those little second-hand furniture sheds along a New England roadside. All it needs is a sign: “Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe,” and an elderly dog that smells like wet upholstery.
3. Your cats need psychiatric counseling because most of their favorite places to curl up have been banished to that basement room. It’s where they’ll also be banished when the house is being shown. When that happens, they’ll be glad their baskets and condos are down there.
2. Your husband can’t find any of his favorite things. If the house doesn’t sell quickly, he may need counseling, too. Or a basket in the basement storage room.
And the number one sign that a professional stager has prepped your house for sale:
1. You come back from one last staging errand and discover that your house keys no longer fit the locks.