If you're staging your home, the sooner you get your ducks in a row, the better. Here's my shortlist of what those ducks should look like. These are the tools and techniques that work best for me.

Your binder is command central. It will give you a sense of control and confidence.

A basic binder

I don't care if it's old school. For me, nothing beats a no-frills binder for organizing a project from start to finish. I love a good ole looseleaf notebook with some pockets to hold receipts that will help with record-keeping and at tax time, and in case I have returns. I usually set up one section for my initial budget, adding update pages as the project progresses. 

I keep a ledger-like section for itemizing actual expenses. I like a section of blank pages for sketching ideas whenever they come to me, and for taping pieces of fabric, color samples, catalog pages, and tear sheets from magazines. Finally, I keep plenty of lined paper for to-do lists.

Acetate sheets to protect some papers, and tabbed dividers with pockets are frills you might like adding to your big binder. But, even a simple, small notebook will do if you are a true minimalist or prefer to keep everything on your phone.  

As your collection of staging supplies grows, you'll get new ideas and be inspired. 

Some indoor space

Never has the phrase "staging area seemed more fitting. You'll need someplace to keep your staging stuff all together. I like to be able to see samples and acquisitions at a glance. You can call it a life-size sample board. Sometimes it seems there isn't room for storing all that's necessary until the time is right to begin actual staging. I always try to make room. It's only a temporary mess.
You never know when you'll need to measure a bargain or see if it's the right color. 

Your shopping kit 

Doesn't that sound like fun? I always keep a small notebook in my purse for shopping lists as the project moves along, and I keep a thrifting list of what I need to look for when I am at second-hand stores. 

The notebook includes measurements of rooms and windows. The kit should always contain small bills and coins. When you show up at an early morning tag sale with just a checkbook and credit card, you are not making friends with the seller. Second-hand sales often require cash. 

A tape measure is also an essential in your shopping kit. That's the best way to determine if those curtains on sale are long enough, that lampshade is the perfect height, or a table is going to crowd your dining room.

Fabric stash

Textiles are an important element of successful home staging. They should be coordinated so rooms easily "cross pollinate" each other. One of the reasons I like to paint a house on the market all one color on interior walls is that furnishings are interchangeable from room to room. 

Sometimes a shower curtain becomes fabric for pillow covers, or a blanket morphs into draperies. 
Placing fabric remnants, towels, curtains and other soft furnishings in one place keeps me on track, reminds me what's missing, and spurs creative uses for them. Keeping the fabrics near the staging area is ideal.
When your fabric is visible as a group, you'll get a sense of your overall colorway. 

Keeping all your color chips handy will save you from making purchasing oops.  

Color chips 

Whatever your palette is, you need to keep it handy. Color chips from your chosen paint supplier are the only reliable way to go. You cannot count on a fabric swatch or a phone photo or magazine clipping to be the exact color that is going to translate into a paint color. No one can remember colors exactly. Carry those chips. 

These paint samples are my references when I'm out in the world. If you match a color chip to a countertop or flooring material, you will then have a portable sample of these immovable items with you at all times.


Large frames

Many a room's staging has begun with the artwork on the wall. It could be the one thing that sets the mood, or defines the focal point, or even determines the furniture arrangement. Large picture frames solve many problems. They fill space and can make small art, matted or enlarged, look important. 

I keep these frames all in one place. They wait there for the day when they can be matched with the right artwork. I always have a selection of simple and ornate frames.  

Your phone/camera

Where would we be without our smartphones? Of course we need to communicate away from a  landline. Everyone you work with on your home staging expects to have immediate access to you by phone conversation or text.  

Sometimes inspiration strikes when I see a particular retail display or someone's garden. I might see an idea worth hacking in a store or home. Photographing a room helps you see what needs tweaking. And taking photos will help you see how your home will appear in your MLS listing. 

Your photos might be better than your Realtor's, in which case you can ask that they be used in your listing. But, it's best to convince your listing agent that a professional photographer needs to be part of your team. 

Get the look, get the book

Arm yourself
with the appropriate tools and you'll not only do a more creative and thorough job of staging your home, but you're more likely to be on schedule and within budget. You might even have fun!

To make the task of staging your own home more rewarding and less stressful, download my $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips To Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. It comes with my money-back guarantee.