5 Do’s And Don’ts For Putting Your House On The Market

The first thing any real estate agent or stager will tell you to do when putting your house up for sale is to declutter.  However, there are a number of ways to go about clearing your home from the cherished possessions you have carefully accumulated over many years. Don’t simply go through the motions hoping that potential buyers will understand that you are too busy to really sort through the piles of mail/toys/laundry/etc, or that they will be able to see beyond your wild choice of wall colors and only notice the great bones of the house.

The number one rule of putting a house on a market is to remember that you are not selling your home but a house.  Your family, possessions and memories that made it a home are coming with you to the new location.

 1. Do ask a friend or relative to store your boxes in their house until you are ready to move.
    Don’t pile the fruits of your decluttering in the spare bedroom or stuff the closets to the brink.

2. Do depersonalize the home by removing family photographs.
    Don’t leave the nails and discolored patches behind.
3. Do try to present potential buyers with a neutral space.
    Don’t cling on to your individualized design choices.
4. Do take care of minor repairs proactively.
    Don’t wait for the negative feedback from the potential buyers to remind you that guest toilet
    doesn’t flush properly or that the kitchen faucet drips.
 5. Do remember that often the curb appeal can make or break a deal.
     Don’t ignore the outside spaces regardless of the season.


Remember to treat every open house and viewing appointment as a first date.  The same exact logic of carefully getting ready and making a good impression apply.  The skeletons from your closet or the basement can be let out during the inspection, if things progress that far.

Online Shopping

While most of us don’t think twice about ordering books or diapers from Amazon, many still bristle at the thought of buying home furnishings online.  Choosing a couch or even a side lamp is often an emotional decision that involves price comparison and “sleeping on it.” Recent proliferation of the flash sale sites, that offer deep discounts on brand name furniture and accessories for only a few days, has made online shopping easier than ever.

I used to love browsing various furniture stores for hours at a time, however, after moving to Lehigh Valley and having children, I realized that I no longer have any spare time to waste on such frivolous activities.  The stores are quite spread out and driving from Pottery Barn to Ethan Allen to Royal Furniture can take a whole day.  Add two small bored (hungry, tired, etc.) children and a fun day of shopping becomes a parenting nightmare in a second.  Browsing the internet with a glass of wine after everyone is in bed, suddenly sounds much more appealing.

I prefer and highly advocate online shopping for the following reasons – it’s convenient, it opens up a wider assortment of products, it saves money.  Let’s consider the convenience factor.  Online stores are open around the clock, there’s no need to drive anywhere, look for parking or deal with overenthusiastic sales people once you get there. You can shop while in bed, on a treadmill or waiting at soccer practice.  Almost every online retailer has a mobile site and many feature apps for Apple and Android devices, so there’s no need to wait until you can get to the home computer.

Another advantage online shopping has over traditional option is the wide array of products.  It is not cost-effective for brick-and-mortar stores to carry thousands of items from around the world.  Online shops, however, do not face such constrains.  Anything from Swedish minimalist accessories to Italian designer furniture to Chinese knockoffs of both are available.  Some sites specialize in a particular trend or product but many more crossover several categories at once.  Since the number of online retailers grows every day, I often simply enter the description of an item I’m interested in into a search engine and then browse through the results.

In addition to convenience and broader selection, online shopping also offers a greater monetary value.  First, price comparison between competitors is a breeze. Simply open several browser windows at once to instantly compare deals between Raymour & Flanigan, Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn.  Many traditional retailers often run online-only promotions.  The easiest way to check for the latest ones is through consolidation sites such as RetailMeNot and Ebates.  Recently my favorite money saving trick has become to shop on sites that offer flash sales featuring top brand names.  These sites offer designer merchandise at a deeply discount price with a catch that the sales are often final and items are available for a very limited time on a first come, first serve basis.  This approach is best for impulse shoppers and those familiar with the brands offered.

If you are a cautious shopper and relatively new to the world of online shopping , it is best to start with online sites of brick and mortar stores that have liberal return policies (such as West Elm).  Then branch out retailers that exist exclusively online (Wayfair being just one example) and slowly progress to the flash sale sites, as you get more comfortable with the idea of buying home furnishings sight unseen.

Some of my favorite flash sale sites that have been around for a few years (and ones I have personally ordered from) are:

Happy Shopping!

Bringing Outdoors In

While this has been a popular topic in the home decorating world for some time, most of the time the suggestions include bringing in greenery and outdoor elements into the home. I would like to concentrate on the benefits of outdoor furniture and décor when used indoors.

Outdoor furniture and décor has been designed with durability in mind. If these items can withstand rain, wind and sun, then they should do equally well in homes with pets and children. Kitchens, dining rooms and bathroom are obvious locations to start incorporating outdoor furniture and accessories. However, even living and family rooms, as well as bedrooms, would benefit from an infusion of a casual accessory from your backyard or porch.

Some of the items designed for outdoor use that would work particularly well inside the home are fabrics such as Sunbrella (generic duck fabric is an excellent budget alternative), which resist mold and sun damage and can easily be wiped clean after a spill. Buy ready-made chair cushions for the kitchen stools or re-upholster dining room chairs in these colorful and durable fabrics. Same can be said about the durability of the outdoor rugs. However, since they generally aren’t nearly as plush underfoot as their indoor-only counterparts, they’re best used under a dining/kitchen table or in the hallway/entryway. You won’t need to worry about spills or dirt soaking through.

House Beautiful has a great list of items that have been manufactured for outdoor use but would look equally elegant indoors.

Outdoor chairs that would enhance any indoor décor,

Backyard pillows that bring style and durability indoors,

Multifunctional metal accessories that add rustic charm,

For more ideas on how to use furniture and accessories traditionally designed for outdoor use indoors, please visit my Pinterest board, Bring the Outdoors In.

Holiday Decorating

Decorating for the winter holidays can be daunting and scary or fun and entertaining. This year dare to step outside of your comfort zone and change the color scheme, simplify the overall effect and include all members of the family.

Christmas doesn’t have to automatically mean turning your house into a red, green and white candy cane. Why not use colorful elements and accessories to create a festive atmosphere.

Perhaps you spent better part of the year carefully decorating your home with tasteful and grown up pieces, in that case a monochromatic scheme of white or metallic will add a holiday flair without taking away from the existing décor. This is also a good option for the multi-cultural or non-Christian households, who want to bring the festivities of the season into their home without using any Christmas references.

Have young children or clumsy family members? Consider decorating with decals. They are impossible to break, go on and come off in minutes and don’t require separate storage accessories and multiple trips to the basement or attic. Children can also participate in choosing placement and adhering the stickers themselves. Decals can also be installed in any room in the home, from the bathroom to the kitchen. Can this be the year of the Christmas tree in the master bedroom?

Another great way to child and pet-proof decorations is to use felt or resin ornaments. They are fun and whimsical and will add a casual and stress free atmosphere to the space. Many can even be customized by color or with a child’s name.

There’s also no need to stress over the cost of the decorations. Many of us already have items around the home that can be repurposed for the holidays. Any clear glass container, from a canning jar to a hurricane holder to a wine or water glass is a perfect receptacle for a candle or a pinecone (or several depending on size). Spray paint pinecones from a local park or your back yard with metallic paint to add a designer look to them. White candles and colorful glitter or bath salts can be found in many dollar stores. Already own worn out ornaments, wrap them in holiday themed cocktail napkins and tie with colorful ribbon. The possibilities are endless.