I've talked to so many people staging their own homes that I've finally learned why people resist staging or have trouble with DIY home staging. 

I'm seeing three common stumbling blocks to getting a home staging project started and finished. In this post I want to offer multiple, simple solutions to each of these three hurdles so that you can stage your home in ways that are efficient, effective, and economical. 

Trouble visualizing staged rooms

Most of us get so accustomed to spending time in our rooms that we become blind to their shortcomings. When that happens, we're not considering what changes would make them function better or look better. Home staging calls for some fresh thinking. Even if you don't think of yourself as an imaginative person, you can tackle this easily by just experimenting. 

Experimenting means you will try a few different furniture arrangements. I'm a big fan of pushing furniture around on gliders to see if there are ways to make a room look bigger or make it easier to walk through. Make the task uncomplicated by first removing things like small tables and floor lamps, and then try some different rearrangements with the larger pieces before bringing back the small things you need and like. 

Live with a rearrangement for a few days to see how you like it. One advantage to staging your own home is that you get to tweak it before listing or photographing it. 

Imagine people coming to tour your home and how a videographer will shoot your home. Visualize how they will enter the house and enter each room. Notice what they would see first in each room. Ideally, it will be some open space and an attractive focal point. 

Keeping rooms simple has distinct advantages. They look
more modern. They look cleaner. They look larger.
And they can be more economical to furnish. 
Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck

Also, go from room to room in your home and ask yourself if there are pieces of furniture that would make more sense in another room. 

As an example of this kind of rearranging, I recently helped a woman stage her home where one bedroom was completely empty. But in her sunroom she had three different steamer-truck-style chests, and her furnished room over the garage housed both a futon bed and a loveseat. We brought the futon bed and the largest trunk into the vacant bedroom, and moved in a floor lamp from another bedroom. We found a dresser and a rug she was storing in the garage, and some framed prints in her attic. A plant from the sunroom was moved to the bedroom to finish the look. Presto!

You can also take advantage of apps that will do the legwork for you. VisualStager is one you can use on iPad, Apple computers, and PCs. Here is a fun, 1.11-minute video that demonstrates the possibilities VisualStager offers. 

While this service isn't free, it can be a huge help if you are staging a vacant property. It will save you the cost of renting furniture for staging. You simply upload and stage photos of empty rooms on the site by dragging and dropping pieces of furniture that you want to add to the photo. You don't have to worry about data transmission or storage security, because there's no software you need to download to your computer.

Check out this list of apps that experienced home stagers, DIYers, and decorators use in this review of apps that help you make paint color decisions

Determining the perfect furniture arrangement, props, and paint colors for a room isn't a talent some people are just born with. It's something anyone can learn by experimenting and by using today's tech tools.  

Difficulty dealing with excess stuff

Most Americans admit to having too many belongings. It becomes obvious when it's time to pack and move. I always advise home sellers begin their staging by deciding what furniture, window treatments, wall art, lamps, and decorative items have the quality look that impresses buyers. 

That's a good beginning to whittling down what needs to be part of staging and what needs to be stored off-site or fixed or donated or sold, or just plain discarded. Besides furnishings, things like clothing, luggage, sports equipment, tools, small appliances, and home gym equipment need to be judged with a critical eye. Often it takes a non-nostalgic mindset to decide what to do with things like collections, trophies, or hobbies of no monetary or sentimental value to any family member.

I've blogged about how to clean a closet, what kinds of unwanted belongings can still be used for staging, and how to maintain an uncluttered home.

Before you get rid of all your unwanted books,
vases, and other assorted tchotchkes, consider
how some of them may be useful when you stage your
bookshelves and tabletops. Photo: Centsational Style

Finding the money to stage

Perhaps the most oft-repeated complaint about DIY home staging is that it requires money that could go towards that next home purchase, or moving expenses, or fixing or furnishing the new home. I've always focused and written about the many ways to economize on staging. 

Besides sticking to a staging budget and spending money wisely, you can look for ways to expand that budget. Now is the perfect time to hunt for sources of untapped revenue and consider ways to make extra income. 

Do you have items you don't need or want that are worth money to someone? Sell them on eBay, Craigslist, neighborhood listserves, Facebook Marketplace, or Letgo. 

Consider cashing in valuables you don't use, like jewelry, cameras, musical instruments, coins, electronics, or sports equipment at a pawnshop.

Host a yard sale. 

Consider skills or time that you have that others don't. Can you sell your services such as a dog walker, housesitter, tutor, or babysitter? To earn extra cash at different times in my life I have cleaned houses, waitressed, made jewelry, and catered lunches. What can you do that other people can't or won't?      

Look for holes in your budget where you can eliminate or reduce spending. 

Don't ignore dollar stores and discount outlets as good 
 places to buy pretty but inexpensive containers and other
props for home staging. Photo:Organizing Junkie  

Older pieces of furniture you've inherited
or that you can buy second hand are 
prime candidates for upcycling with a coat
of fresh paint. Photo: Whimsy and Wood

Do you have unused gift cards you can use or sell? 

Use a credit card with no annual fee and that gives you discounts on things like gas, groceries or home improvements. Don't pay just the monthly minimum. Instead, pay as much as you can, ideally the entire balance monthly. Avoid high-interest cards like those at department stores.  

Have you received your W-2 or your 1099 forms? I have learned from experience that there's a big difference in doing your own taxes and having a professional prepare your tax return. Using a professional means a greater chance of getting all the refund you are due, money that can go towards your staging costs. 

If you received a government stimulus check, perhaps that can support some staging costs. 

Always remember that doing your own staging is going to cost you less than hiring a professional stager. Chances are a legitimate business owner will have costs like warehouse storage, furniture rentals, staff payroll, insurance, taxes, office expenses, and the profit she has to make after purchasing a pricey staging course and joining a professional group. 

Get the look, get the book 

You don't need an expensive home staging course to stage your own home. You'll find all you need to know about getting your home ready to sell in my home staging eBooks. They're designed to make your staging easy and to turn your home into all that it can be in buyers' eyes. Download now and start your staging. It's never too early to plan your home sale.  

Top Photo: At Home in Arkansas