If you're putting your home on the market, you're probably aware that staging it properly could set you up for a quick sale. Now you'll often hear that home staging generally comes down to two things -- decluttering and depersonalization. You want your home to appear neat and organized so that it gives the impression of offering more space, and you want to create a neutral environment so that any buyer can imagine living there.
Hitting either of these points, however, becomes more difficult when you have children living in your home. Kids tend to come with a lot of stuff, and they tend to make messes -- big messes that are hard to contain. With that in mind, here are a few tips for staging a home with kids.
1. Carve out easy storage spaces for your kids' stuff
You may be used to seeing your kids' toys piled up in corners of your living room or shoved against their bedroom walls. For everyday living, that may not be a problem, but for home staging purposes, it screams disaster.
A better bet? Invest in a few storage solutions that enable you to quickly do a sweep of your home and stash toys away in five minutes or less. That could mean buying bins that tuck under your kids' beds for quick bedroom cleanups or buying a comfy living room seat with storage underneath so you can gather small pieces and quickly dump them into what looks like an ordinary piece of furniture that belongs.
2. Invest in bathroom organization
If you have a kids' bathroom, it probably looks something like this: toothbrushes thrown on the countertops (with toothpaste particles stuck to said countertops), toppled rinse cups next to the sink, hair accessories scattered all over the floor, and shampoo bottles knocked over into the shower. That won't do for a home staging, because while it may be clear to you that the bathroom in question is a children's bathroom, buyers without kids may not give you a pass.
Thankfully, getting your kids' bathroom in order could be a simple matter of buying a shower caddy and some countertop organizers. If you make it easier for your kids to put their toiletries away, they'll probably be more likely to do it.
3. Designate a single play area, and ban toys elsewhere
Many homes don't have a dedicated playroom. Rather, the kids bring their toys into the kitchen, living room, and dining room, and just about everywhere else. When you're staging a home, it helps to have those toys condensed into a single area, whether that’s your family room or a section of your basement, because let's face it -- even if you put them away or store them neatly, there's no reasonable way to make them completely disappear. But if you limit them to a single area, you won't run the risk of a stray Lego or two making its way into your kitchen, only to have a prospective buyer step on those pieces -- and get annoyed -- while viewing your home.
4. Make cleanup a game
When you're trying to sell a home, you'll often have to get it in shape with very little notice. When that's the case, you'll need your kids' cooperation to get things tidied in a flash, so come up with creative cleanup games that motivate your children to bust a move. Have a race to see who can stash the most blocks in the under-bed storage bin, or pit your kids against each other in the battle for the neatest bedroom. The more help you're able to get with last-minute cleanups, the better.
Staging a home with kids can be challenging, but it's not impossible. And the more successful you are at it, the greater your chances of finding a buyer for your home -- and possibly getting top dollar in the process.