Lessons Learned From An Open House


A couple of weeks ago a house in my neighborhood went up for sale. It had an open house that day so I checked it out.  There are some lessons we can learn from going through an open house. Since most homes that are up for sale are decluttered, at least temporally, it can be inspirational to see how a clean, simplified home can look.

I’m also curious what other people have done when remodeling and decorating their homes. It’s especially helpful when the house is similar to mine.

I love coming home after visiting an open house to start working on my own house. It gets me in the right frame of mind to start clearing out some of my own clutter.

When you do go to an open house keep some of the following questions in mind. It will help you get a better perspective of what your home could look like.


Staging a home for sale usually requires a homeowner to remove and store a large percentage of their things. That makes the rooms look bigger. It also makes the rooms look less cluttered and messy. Plus the house is easier to quickly clean up when a realtor calls at the last minute to show the house to a potential buyer.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself while going through an open house and when you get back home.

  • “Do my walls have photos and other decorative items covering them from top to bottom?”
  • “Do I have so much furniture it’s hard to move around in the room?”
  • “Do the flat surfaces (table tops, shelves, mantel) have way too many nick-knacks and other decorative items on them?”
  • “What can I declutter to make my house look cleaner and less messy?”

If your answer is yes to any or all of the questions it’s time to start getting rid of a few things. Even if you aren’t moving any time soon it helps to look at your furnishings from a prospective buyers viewpoint.  It can help you see what is worth keeping and what is not.



As you go through a open house do you notice if there are any magazines or books on the tables or floor waiting to be read?  I doubt it.  Are the bookshelves overflowing? Probably not. Most realtors recommend packing up most, if not all the books, magazines, and other things that fill the flat services or shelves.

Now think about all the magazines, books, and other small items you have laying around in your home. Here are some more questions to keep in mind when visiting an open house and when you’re back home.

  • “If I were to move, what books, magazines, DVDs, etc. am I willing to pay money for to store while trying to sell my house? Which ones am I willing to pay money to move?
  •  “Which nick-knacks, decorative items, plants, lamps,  or other misc. items are worth paying money to store and/or move?”
  • “How many of these things am I keeping just because there is an empty space for them to occupy?”

The biggest question to ask yourself is; If you wouldn’t move things to your new house then why are you living in your current home with things you don’t want? You deserve better than that.


Updating and Remodeling

You may be at a point where you’d rather remodel and update your home than move. If so, then checking out the open houses for sale in your general area can give you a lot of ideas.  You’ll see what remodeling projects are being done in your area of town.  The decorating magazines may show remodeling projects that are popular in a different part of the country but could be a turn-off to future buyers in your area.  That could make it harder to sell your home when you decide it’s time to move.


Visiting some open houses on a weekend is just one tool to help you get inspired and motivated to declutter, decorate, or remodel your home.  You’ll be able to see your own home’s potential in a new light, especially if the open house is similar to your own house.

Clearing out the clutter and excess furnishings can make a house look totally different. Some fresh paint on the walls or cabinets can freshen up a room and your attitude at the same time.

To a lighter load along the way.


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