Life is a Stage, Apparently....

Last October, when we decided to sell our home, and have a patio home built, we met with our realtor, and she told us she'd like to bring in a professional stager, to take a look at our house. She would cover the cost - all we had to do was walk through the house with a clipboard and take notes.

Stager Debra sat and talked with us for awhile, then we spent two solid hours going through the house, room by room, making notes.

Then we met one more time with our realtor to discuss reality (no we would not be repainting our house) and come up with a list to get done by this summer.

It was amazing to hear the stager's take on things. She told us she, too 'loved Jesus' but there should be no sign of anything 'religious' in our home. Also no sign that a pet had ever lived there. Nothing red as it catches the camera. If something was less than lovely, draw the eye away from it, and she gave us directions as to how to do so. (Bright blue tile floor = bright bath towels). Apparently we are easily distracted.
Allison Glock, in her article in the June/July issue of Garden and Gun - Soul of the South put it this way: Fantasy is the heart of real estate. You invent the dream and then you find a place to house it.
The thing Stager Debra told us that struck us the most was that there could be nothing left out that indicated that people ever, ever, ever actually work in our house. They don't use cleaners to scrub floors, they don't pay bills, they don't eat on TV trays, they don't wash dishes, and they certainly have never ever spent a minute of time in any of their bathrooms. No knives could be left out, nor guns, and not a single thing in the shower. No crock of utensils - with my favorite wooden spoon - near the stovetop. Certainly no drain rack in the kitchen sink, and of course brand spanking new towels in the bathroom, never to be used.

And it doesn't matter at all what their garage looks like. Cram it full of all the stuff you pull out of your house; nobody will care what the garage looks like, because apparently all of America's garages are a mess. As long as you have a garage - that's what matters. Cub Sweetheart REALLY struggles with this one. His is lined up, labeled and tidy and apparently nobody will care.

At her direction we changed all the bedding in the master, removed anything personalized, and when professional photos are taken there will be nothing on the nightstands beyond a lamp. Because nobody ever blows their nose, reads a book, or sets an alarm to get up and go anywhere. We all just sleep in and play every day. Speaking of photos, none. Especially not on the front of the refrigerator.

The dining room had to have the rug removed, in case we were hiding multiple spaghetti and wine stains. Nothing was to be put on the table because it would not line up with the light fixture.

This area, across from the washer and dryer, was full of cleaning supplies because we actually clean our house; we had to hide all of them, and restage it with stuff to remind people there's a pool in the backyard. She was happy with all the suits and towels and suntan lotion, because anyone who owns a pool just swims all the time; they don't clean the inside of their house. I'm thinking this little 'Relax' sign will be cute on our screened in sunporch at the next house.

At her direction we moved the kitchenaid mixer; she told us everyone wants one, so put it here with some other cute key items. How using a mixer isn't working is beyond me, but ours was not to question. It was just to do what she told us to do.

She was deadright about the office. We got rid of two bookcases, rearranged the room entirely. The painting is of Jesus walking on water but she thought we could get away with it. She told me to get rid of the lamp on the desk, but the realtor agreed with us that it could stay. She also told us not to leave out a single paperback book, so those are all hidden in the boxes on the bookshelves. Only hard backs, with covers removed, were to be displayed. Shelves were to be filled 60% with 40% empty.

Dont' tell anyone, especially stager Debra, that the kids' silhouettes from 2nd grade are hidden next to the file cabinets, behind the door. I just couldn't find another place for them. I decided it was okay to break her rule of files being left out because the stacker is so darned cute.

So all in all, her tips were a big help. I'm not a real detail person, and wouldn't have thought of a lot of what she told us to do. Overall the house looks much better, very neutral, and move in ready. Nobody is going to have to change the color scheme, remove wallpaper (we already did) (most expensive thing we had to do BTW), the pool is beautiful and blue and inviting, all ready for them. And the house will be spotless when they tour it, buy it, and move into it.

However, at some point they are going to have to vacuum the carpets, mop the floors, and scrub the bathrooms. I'm just not going to be the one to burst their bubble and tell them so. 


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