Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Open House Prep


So with our house not selling immediately we’ve had our fare share of open houses and viewings. Thought I’d tell you of a few of the things we’ve done to prepare for them besides the endless cleaning.

Fresh flowers. Nothing over the top but making sure all plants (two ivies and two orchids) looking fresh and a bunch of crispy tulips to welcome everyone.



This wasn’t my idea but our realtor’s actually. He switched his regular container for shoe covers to our galvanized bucket which I thought was a nice touch.



The booklets and interest sheets were laid out on the counter in the hallway towards the living room.



All laundry baskets and hampers received covers of clean towels. The ones in the laundry room to disguise the dirty laundry inside and this one in my closet …




… to hide all those personal toiletries and every day items that you need but don’t want to show. I got the idea from Sherry and John who did this when they were showing their house. Like they said, people will open your cabinets and look inside but they won’t be likely to dive into your hamper. Wise words.

We also did stuff like hide away the kitty litter box, remove the cube stools from the window in the living room so people can look out properly, remove the dish rack & co, empty all trash cans, remove as much cat hair as possible with a lint roller just before leaving and fill the fruit bowl.

Our open houses and showings are a thing of the past now (will tell more next week!) but I know that some readers are on the move like we are so what are your best pre house showing tips for them?


  • Messy says:

    Ooooh, you must be holding on to some good news… 🙂 I hope you got all you wanted!

  • Hxx says:

    Oh fantastic ‘clue’ there, I am so pleased for you all! I can’t believe how quick all this has happened – although I bet it felt like an eternity to you!
    Great top tips – I love the shoe covers, I had to scrub the carpet twice after viewings at our old house, grrr!
    Can’t wait to hear your ‘packing’ tips.

  • Leena says:

    Amazing news, congrats! I also can’t wait for your packing tips

  • Peta says:

    No more open house etc! That’s great news!
    I wish the previous owners of our apartment had prepped it before we saw it. We really had to use our imagination, there was so much personal stuff everywhere. Also when we saw the place with the agent, the owners were there too so it was kind of embarrassing. You had to keep a neutral face and you couldn’t comment on their questionable taste in decorating etc.. It was like we were invading their private space. Anyway, we won’t be buying another place for a very long time!
    ps – love the white tulips. My fave!

  • Sarah says:

    My favourite thing to do when selling our homes was to open as many blinds and windows as possible to let in as much natural light and fresh air as we could (weather permitting). Also to light a candle with a subtle not overpowering fragrance or bake something yummy just before the open house.

  • nicolezh says:

    Hope everything is now “in trockenen Tüchern” (“in dry towels”, we use this saying if something is on its good way now). Love the laundry baskets, where are they from?

  • Magdalena says:

    Hi Benita! I found your blog a few weeks ago and I really like it. Your house is fab and I hope it sells soon.

  • Jo says:

    I could not be more delighted to hear that open house and viewings are a thing of the past… and I can’t wait to hear all the details next week.
    I’m sure you were very calm about the whole thing Benita.. but now I can confess I was fretting for you when the house didn’t sell on day one.
    Totally unnecessary but there you go.. ;o)
    As far as staging tips go.. my advice is always the same..
    Kitchens and Bathrooms should be hospital clean.
    Remove anything dead.. [flowers,leaves,fruit etc]
    Fresh, plump [brand new if possible] towels in the bathrooms.
    and introduce every single ounce of light available.
    I like to squirt Fabreze on the cushions and curtains too.. gives a fresh smell, without being air freshnery.
    Jo xx

  • Yvonne says:

    You’ve sold the house??? That’s great news – I hope it made you rich so you can go for that Smeg fridge 😉

  • Terhi says:

    Were Mini and Bonus in the house when people came to see it?
    I’m so excited for you, I can’t wait to see your packing tips and follow the transformation of your new house in real time.

  • Judith says:

    Ooh, exciting! Can’t wait to hear details about why the viewings are a thing of the past 🙂

  • Amycapdet says:

    ‘Our open houses and showings are a thing of the past now’ Phew, Benita ;-D! I guess I can congratulate you and your family and, silly as it may sound, I feel pretty relieved.
    I was really very worried for you, because that has been the case with so many families here in Spain before the housing bubble exploded and the financial crisis showed its worst face: so many people had accepted enormous mortgages from banks for a new house before selling the old one and when the crisis began they just couldn’t afford two mortgages at the same time -since they couldn’t sell for the inflated price they paid for it- and lost both of them. You should have seen me smiling when I read that sentence of yours 🙂

  • Monica says:

    Sounds like congratulations are in order, but I will wait until you officially announce it. 😉

  • Älvan says:

    Oh, I can’t tell you how I envy you for being done with it! Our apartment will go up on Hemnet today and the open house is scheduled for next week.

  • We closed the cat flap during the evening showings and kept them outside but during the day the patio door was open so they could technically go inside but didn’t because they don’t like strangers much :).

  • How exciting(and stressful) for you! 🙂

  • The laundry basket was left for us in a previous apartment where it was used for fire wood. No idea where it’s from I’m afraid.

  • Rebecca says:

    I have lived in many houses for sale, both my own and landlords’. Here are my tips: Spotlessly clean windows – they should sparkle! All marks taken off white walls with Jif (creme cleanser) which cleans but is also like a white coat of paint over -nice! I would also burn a fresh oil (such as peppermint or rosemary) in an oil burner. If the house is very clean, the scent reinforces the cleanliness but never use it to hide or mask uncleanliness or bad smells because it will be obvious. I used to leave an old towel at the front door. After I’d mopped the floors I would have something to traipse back over the wet floors with for the inevitable forgotten last minute thing. If you have a fireplace, light a fire.

  • Petra from NL says:

    Ah, towels in the hamper, I remember that from when I had viewings 4 years ago. The very 1st day we had been so busy with the last few chores that the hamper was almost overflowing. We then hid all the laundry in the tumble dryer. Next few viewings we did the towel trick…
    We also drove around with some ‘clutter’ for 2 weeks; took half of the goods from the pantry to make it look more spacious. DH had those items in the boot. Some loose items out of the hallway, like umbrella’s some extra coats etc. Those were in my car.
    I also programmed the heating to make it nice and warm at the time of the viewing.

  • Pia says:

    Exciting, congrats!
    What I would do if selling our place would be what most of the people have already mentioned here:
    organize the clutter (skis, winter sport items) that is piling on the yard, try to get the entrance hall nice and emptier (reduce our piles of shoes, our numerous coats…), clean the WC and the bath very well and hide the hair brushes etc., let fresh air and light in, remove personal photos, get nice flowers. But I would not bake, I think – here it is a trick too well known and may raise the question “are they hiding some smell maybe…”
    The advice with “hide the clutter in the car” is actually a good one (if you have a car and it is big enough). Maybe one could also drive the clutter directly to the recycling place so one wouldn’t have to take the clutter back home again.

  • Caro says:

    We say there’s ‘Family Clean,’ and ‘Company Clean’, and then there’s ‘Real Estate Clean.’
    It looks like this won’t apply to you because you seem to have everything well organized, but the best advice about moving that I ever got was from an Army wife who had moved 20 times in 15 years. I had two small children and we were making a 1500 mile move. I was stressed out trying to make everything go perfectly. She put her arm around my shoulder and said ‘I’ve learned one thing about moving. It’s 2 weeks of Hell, then it gets better.’
    I have found this to be good advice for any stressful event in my life, not just moving house. I don’t know where she is now. I don’t even remember her name, but I think about her often.

  • Where can one buy those shoe covers? I love the idea of having them by the door. It isn’t customary for people to remove their shoes on entry to someones house, but after we move overseas, I’m going to start implementing that policy. For those who don’t want to – I’d love to have those shoe covers to hand out!

  • Jen says:

    I just can’t get over how beautiful those catalogs your realtor made for your house! Wow! And it’s a nice keepsake for you.

  • Monica B says:

    Grattis! Jag antar att det betyder att huset är sålt. Hoppas att ni fick riktigt bra betalt. 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Advice given to us years ago when we sold our first house:
    remove as much as possible, cut belongs by two thirds
    keep only sets of four (plates, cups, bowels, etc) in the kitchen cabinets
    clean, clean, clean kitchen and baths
    We owned a vacant (at the time) house next door so we would take the cats and litter box over there during showings.
    I am in America and it is amazing what people did while in our house. One family brought their children who ransacked our bathroom, using my hair brushes, soiling the toilet, pulling the towels off the racks, etc.

  • devil says:

    Congratulations, Benita!
    Why do we have to wait a week for any info? 😉
    I think the best advice (that you don’t need) for good house-showings is decluttering mercilessly. Just throw out anything that you don’t absolutely need because it’s probably not worth moving it. Clean is important but neat is vital.
    A messy house never looks really clean and a neat house never looks really dirty.

  • Giulia says:

    That seems to be great news Benita!
    Along with the cleaning and flowers I made sure the fridge was pared down to necessary and hopefully pretty items (North American fridges being so big). I also made sure the dishwasher was empty (people look!) and I added pillows to our master bed to make it look more like a hotel suite.
    We also removed anything small that was easy to steal such as ipods, cell phones, extra car keys.

  • strikkelise says:

    We removed a lot of our stuff into storage when we started the process of house hunting. I strongly recommend this as it sped up the purging and packing process which is very time consuming anyway. It also made it easier when the time came to show our apartment to potential buyers. It meant that we could quickly move daily items away, like from the kitchen counters and into the cabinets, without the place looking like someone had been “panic tidying” the minute before people came in.
    As for open house tips, we actually removed the TV set (at one time my husband drove around with it in the car) because it was big and black and really didn’t do our limited living room space any good styling wise.
    Another tip: Ask your neighbours for small favours if you can. Were we are living now, we used to help out our neighbours when they were selling their house. They moved their bikes into our yard whenever someone was coming to look at their house, and they even moved some other sports gear and a small cupboard over to our house now and then. Good karma we figured. 🙂

  • strikkelise says:

    And btw congratulations, I read some good news between the lines!

  • strikkelise says:

    Scented lights would have me running for the door. It’s up there wit cigarette smoke and really loud music. Just saying 🙂

  • Älvan says:

    We’ll go out to my parents summer house together with the cats and hire someone to do the cleaning, so there’s not much work to be done (and I did lots of it for the pre-viewings) but still…

  • I’ve never seen them old anywhere but I did see a machine at the trade fair in Hong Kong where you stuck your foot in a hole and when you pulled it out there was a shoe cover on 🙂

  • Nancy says:

    An early congratulations, here’s hoping that the final, niggly details get worked out soon. It’s been a number of years since we moved, but I remember stressing over shining our stainless steel kitchen sink and making it spotless!

  • Chris says:

    I’ve got a question out of curiosity: did you tell potential buyers about your blog? If so, did it bother people, that their house was made “public”?

  • r8chel says:

    Yay! I can’t wait to hear more about the sale of your home! Whoever is buying it is very lucky!

  • Christine says:

    Clean and declutter. My husband and I can’t believe how many people didn’t do that with the houses we looked at.
    Also, smells. Air out the house and put out a light non annoying scent like vanilla etc. Don’t do perfume or air freshner.

  • Tina Slocum says:

    It sounds as if you have good news!
    Well I will wait for the announcement to be completely sure~
    So happy for you,as I went through this process in January and I know the feeling of relief!
    You and Willie deserve a fresh start and I am looking forward to enjoying the prcess here on your blog.
    All the best,

  • Maddy says:

    After 8 months of being “For Sale”, our place has had an offer.
    What we had to do all this time:
    Lock up the dogs, pick up their doodoos, mow the lawns (if you have some,
    and they are not snow-covered), clean showers ans shower screens, toilets… Put dishes, racks, etc, away, polish the stainless steel sink flylady style, also put everything away from the kitchen benches, it makes the kitchen look bigger…
    One thing I have noticed though, after many home sales, is that due to internet listing with photos, etc, there seems to be a lot less people who come through just to have alook. Genuine home searchers look online, then look in person, I guess it is the same the world over?

  • I was reluctant to but Martin insisted and our realtor thought ist was a good idea too. Don’t know if it helped or hindered though…

  • Ooh- sounds like you’re about to spill some great news! Our fingers have been crossed for ya, so we’re waiting with bated breath. And thanks for the link love of course – glad your open house adventures went off without a hitch!
    Sherry (& John)

  • Shoe covers, and a gadget that dispenses them? I might be in love. 😉 Ha ha.