How to Live in a Staged Home

  • Samantha Edelstein
  • 04/14/21

So you’ve decided that staging your home is the best course of action for selling your home quickly and [hopefully] above asking price. But wait… you still have to live at home while your house is staged and on the market. How in the world will that ever be possible?

How to keep children’s/teenager’s things under control

How to keep living spaces presentable for potential buyers while also actually, you know, living there

Areas to focus on and areas that can be a lower priority

How to deal with spur-of-the-moment showings

Where to keep all the “stuff”

“When we are working with a family with small children this is our suggestion to make life easier in a staged home for sale: buy each child a plastic office bin with a lid. Let him or her pick out some stickers for it, let them write their name on the bin, and that becomes their storage bin for putting their toys, books, and homework into when you must leave the house for a showing to take place.

For the little ones, you can put the timer on the microwave and make a game out of cleaning up. The kids laugh and giggle tossing their stuff into the bins to see who can do it before the buzzer goes off. They get a sticker to add to the bin (or some other incentive that works for them). Families tell me this idea has been a life saver as the kids love the game and they only get to play when there is a showing.”

“Each child gets a tub of toys. Everything else gets packed and they’ll see it at the next house. It will be like Christmas again. That way, if everything is out at the same time, you only have 2-3 tubs to pick up. Stay away from things like puzzles and Lego sets with a lot of pieces.

Clear out under the beds. Then, in a pinch, stuff things under the beds and in the washer and dryer. Those are the two areas the buyers won’t look. And that’s how we cheat!

Storage units are a must if you are upsizing. If you are downsizing, get rid of your crap before you pay to move it.”

“Living in a listed home can be difficult, but keep in mind that the inconvenience of living in a staged house will pay off by shortening the length of time you have to cope. Plus the payout of getting the best sales price possible.”

”Beautiful baskets are a Mom’s best friend, even when living in your home. Everything is presentable when it’s stored in a lovely, homey basket. Get big enough ones to accommodate whatever you need to store in that room — toys in the family room, paperwork in desk areas, etc. Items can easily be corralled and they will add an organic, textured touch, as well. Win-win. Watch out for baskets that have a funky odor (often the cheapest ones) and baskets that shed, leaving you more work vacuuming.”

”Personal towels for the bathrooms can be hung on a hanger in your closet.”

”You have to address how the house smells. I recommend that all of my clients keep Pledge multi-surface spray and/or wipes in the kitchen and all bathrooms. It smells fantastic, works on all surfaces, and makes for quick clean up.”

”Fresh hand/bath towels and pretty soap dispensers can be kept in a plastic tub out of sight. Before showings, swap them with your daily use ones and then swap them back after showing. The towels and dispensers never get used, so they never need cleaning. I also advise small kitchen and bath rugs to be stashed out of sight for showings. They often end up dirty, crumpled, and out of place. Design-wise, many small rugs tend to look cluttered so stashing them for showings gives buyers a cleaner first impression.

”Showings can be requested at the drop of a hat. Have a few empty boxes ready to fill with toys and things that are left out. Before leaving the house, walk around and throw loose items in the boxes/baskets and toss them in the back of your car on your way out with the kids.”

”We suggest having a few laundry baskets on hand, but another hiding tip is to use under bed storage bins. We also suggest each homeowner use a shower caddy, that way the bathroom counters are always ready. Store them in a closet or under each bed.”

”In a perfect world, any extra items would be stored offsite. Of course, this could be a storage unit or utilizing movable containers such as pods. I like to provide outside-the-box ideas, however, so I often recommend asking a friend or family member if they can store items at their house during the showing season. If these options are not a possibility, I then look to store things in the attic. It is important to keep an open pathway for the inspector to have access to any air systems or water heaters, etc. An on-site shed can sometimes be used, as well.

The next option is to have items neatly stacked in the garage. I recommend they use the same size boxes as they can be stacked higher and more easily. Begin placing them the furthest point away from the house entry door between the house and garage. The final option is to sacrifice a secondary bedroom or, perhaps, a portion of the basement within the house. I explain the importance of having the rest of the house looking as polished as possible justifies this sacrifice. After all, it is our job is to meet our clients where they are. If they do not have the financial or physical ability to remove the items it is our job to come up with creative ways to solve this common problem!”


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