5 Items You Should Hide Before Showing Your Home

Selling a home can be a stressful process, but selling it while it's still occupied brings it up another level. You want to show the house as a clean, spacious, and attractive place for buyers to potentially call home and make an offer. At the same time, a property that is still occupied is filled with, well, things that make it a home. Getting your place ready to sell entails decluttering and cleaning to make it feel as big as possible.

Opendoor actually suggests removing 50% of your items before showing the house to potential buyers. That's a lot! If you take a look around your rooms right now, what takes up the most space? Toys? Kitchen items? Photos? Before getting overwhelmed, we came up with five items you should hide before showing your residence. That way, instead of cramming everything into the closet and closing the door, it gives you a strategy for multiple showings and hopefully relieves that stress.

1. Family photos

This one is easy, as the first rule of preparing a house for a showing is to make it as de-personalized as possible. The goal is to have the potential homebuyer imagine themselves in the home, especially if it's a family looking for a starter home. Take down the staircase gallery wall of baby and wedding pictures, as well as the ones on shelves and dressers. Let the potential buyer see themselves in the space instead of walking into someone else's (even if that's the case).

According to Staging & Styling, it's also an issue of security. While those pictures of last summer's trip to Disneyland or Lake Tahoe are memorable, you don't want potential buyers, who are strangers to you, to know who your kids or parents are. So instead, put up pictures of beautiful landscapes or sunsets to create a sense of tranquility and warmth. Popular paintings like Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh are a good choice, as well as abstract art that blends with the home's colors.

2. Kid's items

That Barbie Dreamhouse or LEGO Galaxy Explorer takes up a lot of room in the house, distracting and making a room look a little "too lived in" to buyers who want to imagine themselves in the home. The same goes for baby items like bottle drying racks, activity mats, and nursing pillows.

A family with kids (especially small ones) collects an insane amount of toys, from Polly Pockets to Hot Wheels, games, and crafting supplies. But take the time to organize and remove those items from the house before a showing. You'll be amazed at how clean the place looks after the toys are removed, and as a bonus, it allows your family to go through the items and see which ones need to be donated, thrown out, or kept. Homelight suggests having a secret storage spot under the bed that can hide clutter, as interested buyers will open all the doors but rarely look under the bed.

3. Valuables and medication

Just like when you go on a trip for a long period of time, and you know the place will be empty, you'll want to hide valuables and medication for security. Jewelry, watches, and even electronics can easily go missing when house showing, given that homebuyers are walking around every room, sometimes with the owner away. So, put it all away in a secure spot that you know visitors won't easily find (another vote for under the bed).

Medication has personal information that is of no interest to a potential homebuyer. Watertown Public Opinion suggests locking them up when leaving the home for showings, or better yet, taking them with you on open house days or showing appointments. Leaving medications out in the open can be dangerous, not only for security purposes but also because they could be stolen. This includes drugs for children and pets. Instead, have a medicine bag that you can pack them all in and keep in one place until the house sells.

4. Cleaning supplies

We all know that cleaning takes place before the open house, but be sure to put away the broom, mop, dish rags, vacuum cleaner, and dusters before potential homebuyers enter the property. This is all part of staging your home to make it look as clean and clutter-free as possible. Cleaning is also not everyone's favorite part of owning a place, so anything that reminds the buyer of that should be avoided as it can be distracting.

While a broom shouldn't be shown in the corner of the kitchen, there are certain spaces in a home that are traditionally ideal for keeping such things. Luckily, a garage or shed can be an ideal place to hide these items, according to MHM Professional Staging, as long as it's not cluttered. So while they're out of sight in the home, it's sometimes a good idea to give the buyer an idea of where these cleaning supplies can go; just make sure the space is neat and tidy.

5. Religious or political décor

This last one may seem a bit obvious, but it is worth noting. You want the homebuyer to imagine themselves in the house and not be walking into your home. Therefore, any kind of religious or political décor, which includes photos with political figures, or décor showing support for a particular party, should be avoided. The last thing you want to do is to turn off a buyer because of a difference in political opinion.

The same idea goes for religion, although this can get a bit tricky when it comes around to holiday time. According to Henderson Properties, decorating a bit during the holidays, like Christmas, can actually give the buyer an inside look at what the home would look like during that time of the year; just keep it secular. Also, opt for minimal décor, an example being a tabletop tree instead of a big Christmas tree, as it takes up space.

We hope these tips on the five items you should hide before showing your home ease the stress of selling your home while still living in it.