All the world’s a stage

My homeowner got a phone call that a house she liked was up for sale. Because of the provisions of the sale, she would need to list her own home soon. She asked for my help to stage her home as we were organizing it.

I’m using these pictures because they illustrate some good staging principles and also because I forgot to take “before” pics of these spaces (oops!!)



In this basement great room, we made sure to clean off the counters to show how much counter top space there is, we also added something to the walls above the counter to take up the dead space. (I think the homeowner eventually put something else in the place, but this illustrates the concept.)


The treadmill was originally perpendicular to where we moved it. The reason we moved it was to clear a space in front of the windows. In a basement, it is important to have as much light as possible so that it doesn’t look dark or cluttered. The homeowner also moved out a big couch and rearranged the two chairs so the space is more open and gives more of a theater look (the wall they face has a projector screen on it)


This space was just a storage area and the home owner wanted to use it as a craft space. Since the room itself is long and narrow, it was important to keep the furniture light and towards the back and left of the door. This helps the eye to widen the space of the room instead of the optical illusion that it is not big enough to be a functional. Again, lighting helps to increase the size and appeal of a room.




I LOVE the way the homeowner made an all-white room for her daughter. It is so elegant. The only thing I had to do with this room was to make sure the walkways on either side of the bed were clear so that it doesn’t look cluttered.



If you are going to put toys into a basement closet, leave room to play in the closet and to get to the items in the back. If you fill the space from side to side,  it will seem shallow.


If you are thinking about staging the rooms in your house, or even just rearranging your furniture, I have an exercise for you. Go to the door and stand in the hallway and look through the open door. Don’t look at it as your space, but as if it was in a home you are visiting.

What is the first thing you notice? If the first thing you notice is in the foreground, then you might think about moving it further into the room.

Does the room feel short? Don’t stack things over your head.

Putting heavy things on a high shelf and small things on a lower shelf gives it an inverted appearance. Large things on a lower shelf will anchor the look of the piece.

Notice how your eye is drawn to color and what impression the negative spaces make. If a drawer has something sticking out of it, it will appear overstuffed and small for the space. If you want to hang pictures, make sure they are proportional to the size of the wall you are putting them on.

Try new setups and see how they make you feel.


closet pretty

Most people who know me personally know that after bookcases and craft rooms, my favorite thing to organize is a closet. And it can be your favorite too, because it doesn’t really require a lot of expertise. If you can sort and hang, then you can have a pretty closet too.

My homeowner happened to have a really neat closet! It has a his and hers side. I’ll use it to illustrate the basics of closet organization:


1. Clear the visual clutter.

Hanging storage is great, but nothing should obstruct your first view or it will visually shorten your closet. This one was relocated. Also, try to keep your floor clean as this will also make your closet seem smaller.






2. Use your hanging rods.

If you don’t have that many clothes and you want to use your shelving, use the ones on the bottom. This will make it easier to see and reach your clothes.






3. SHOES!!!

I’m sure most of you don’t need any help organizing shoes, but I knew you’d love to see the shoe storage in this closet. If you have the space, sort by the type of shoe and keep your favorites where you can easily get to them.






4. Don’t let your closet turn into the laundry room.

Things that can help: don’t unpack in the closet, put a clothes hamper in the closet or nearby, and make a habit to pick up your dirty clothes daily.








5. Use the same hangers.

Try it and you will see what a big difference this one change makes. Even if you don’t have a lot of the same hangers, you can use one type of hangers for short sleeves, one for long sleeves, etc.





6. Sort by same style and then by color.

This seems OCD, but it really helps you when you are dressing. Being able to find your favorite shirt or decide which pair of pants to wear is easier when they are all grouped together.





what do bathroom drawers and coat closets have in common?

The answer is one of my #1 tips: when you have a contained space it is so much easier to


than to root around and try to sort things without a clear picture of what you’re dealing with. This was the guiding principle in these 2 spaces: the master bath and the downstairs closet:








Also try using little drawer inserts to keep your items separated. These will not stay clean (guaranteed!), but it will make it easier to put them back in order when they get messed up.







basement blues



I haven’t posted in awhile, so I decided to put my summer project into several posts.

In this situation, I actually begged the homeowner to let me help her with her basement, so we started there.

Most of us start with some sort of organization in our storage areas, but between sicknesses, letting the kids put stuff away, visitors that need a room fixed quick, etc….they usually end up wrecked. So I’ll give you a few tricks that work for me.


1. Start with your pathway:

You’re going to be carrying stuff from one end to the other to put items away into your original systems. I started on this pathway before I took a picture so the “before” is more of an “in between”






2. Dress it up:

Most spaces are going to be storage spaces, but I’ve always maintained that if you don’t designate a purpose to an item of furniture, then it will turn into a junk holder.  Sometimes we have extra furniture and it lives in the basement. My tip is to turn that furniture into a seating area, or craft area, etc…so that it becomes a functional space instead of a stacking space.





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3. Label and coordinate:

Most holiday décor  gets put away quickly in the same boxes we got them out of, and with no thought about the convenience of setting it back up the next year. We even buy new cute containers most years and just put our “new” stuff in them. It will save a lot of hassle during the holidays to go through your décor just once and take them by areas they will be put in, what kind of décor they are, etc. THEN, put the different décor in coordinating boxes for each location/use and LABEL. My homeowner really showed me how convenient a label maker can be! Here’s our “for instance”. The homeowner had a Christmas village collection that was displayed some years and stayed stored some years. We put all of these into matching containers and labeled them “village”. We also had matching and labeled containers for the mantel décor, the tree ornaments, Christmas books etc.






4. Rubber bands and baggies are your friend:

Over the years, I’ve accumulated some different tactics for household items. For cords: I love to use rubber bands. You don’t have to coil them too tightly and you don’t have to try and make a twist tie fit. Another useful tool is the baggie. When you have a lot of small pieces and it would be easier to have them on hand than to sort through a big tub of them, baggies of all sizes come to the rescue. In this instance, her spouse works with a lot of computer items and had a lot of cords of all different kinds. Separating them became a big game and a running joke…and the silly labels are just to keep it a fun experience.




fun with baggies and rubber bands:


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I'm a stay-at-home mom of 3 who likes to organize, craft, & read (among other things)