We are going to talk about showing off your home’s best features through staging. I know we talk about this every couple of months, but if you are new to the column, this is vital advice.

Get rid of all the “stuff” you don’t need to actually live in your home. Some of this you can’t live without and will make it to the new home once you sell. That’s perfectly fine and it can be stored in a box and labeled for the move. All of those extra books, magazines, photos, magnets and other knick-knacks should be put away. Remember your goal is to allow the potential buyers to envision themselves in your home. They don’t want to have “wade” through all of your stuff to get there.

Although I agree the family room is a place for relaxing and taking in the latest season of Game of Thrones, it doesn’t need to look that way during the showings. Ensure your blankets are folded up neatly and any games, extra pillows, slippers and dirty plates are removed or put in their place.

Our downstairs living area has a fireplace and tends to always smell like ashes. I would encourage you to clean out the fireplace and not use it until you sell. You may even need to get the rugs washed in that room to eliminate that pervasive smell. It’s awesome to have the fireplace there, you just don’t want the smell to be the buyer’s first impression.

Along the lines of “clean and simple,” tidy up your bedrooms as well.

“One of my favorite strategies in the bedroom is to remove half of the clothing from the closets,” Badger Realty agent Bernadette Donohue says. “It makes the closet look larger and aligns with the idea of letting potential buyers imagine their own stuff in the home.”

Since some bedrooms tend to be on the smaller side, make sure the shades are open and the windows are clean. Any extra light in these rooms will be great. Hiding or removing valuables is also just good, common sense.

I think everyone has a junk drawer, and some of us even have a junk “room.” This is where out-of-season clothes, holiday decorations, and even luggage are stored. My recommendation for these rooms is to simply accept their role in life, but make it as tidy and organized as possible.

Shelving is an invaluable way to organize those areas, and making sure items are not just strewn about. Nobody will fault you for having a spare room full of stuff, but make it as presentable as possible. This is also a perfect spot for those boxes of “clutter” that you cleaned up from throughout the home.

Since, for many of us, the basement tends to be the room of choice for the above-mentioned storage, make sure you have a dehumidifier down there and/or have taken care of any errant odors. I’ve always enjoyed keeping the cat’s litter box in the basement. If that’s your spot as well, make sure it doesn’t smell that way when the buyers come calling. Some fresh litter and the cleaning up of the litter around the box (why are they so crazy with the covering up!?) will make a big difference.

We mentioned opening blinds and cleaning windows up above. One of the best (and most cost-effective) ways to brighten a home is with increased-wattage light bulbs. A fresh coat of paint would be great, but is likely not in the budget or the timeframe. Brighter bulbs throughout the home can make rooms feel lighter and larger to the potential buyers. It is also a great way to liven up that spare room that is never used. I’m all for saving electricity and conserving energy, but those rules go out the window when you are trying to sell your home. Get those lights shining, but make sure to confirm the maximum wattage of your lamps before you go too crazy!

Nobody expects your house to be empty when you’re showing it. We all understand that you do actually live there and you do actually have some “stuff.” The goal of staging your home is to simply minimize that notion and have the home appear as close to a model home as possible. With a few of these tips in mind, you’ll make your home much more attractive to buyers and — who knows — you might even realize you didn’t need some of that stuff after all!

I’ll see you in the thrift store drop-off line.

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