Trying to sell a house is already a huge undertaking—even without the stress and time of preparing to move. Both of these big events together take a lot of time, energy, and work.

One of the trickiest balancing acts, when you’re trying to sell your house, is staging it to sell—while still living in it and trying to move at the same time. You want your house to look like a place for a new buyer to find a home, but not too lived in, which can be a very tough balance to keep, especially in your own home. Because I know staging a home is a difficult chore, especially while you’re still living in it, here are my top seven tips that can help you to stage your house for potential buyers:

  1. Start packing. Don’t try to store everything away that you plan to get rid of later, or put everything aside to organize after you’ve found a buyer. Get rid of everything you don’t need early on, so you’ll have more space to stage and less to do, pack, and throw away during the moving process.
  2. Remove all personal pictures and belongings. Personal belongings and decorations, while they can make a space look homey and inviting, can also make your house look cluttered and lived in.
  3. Keep the décor neutral without a lot of personal touches. Potential homebuyers are always looking for a place they can make their own, and neutral décor is like a blank canvas to add their own personal touches in the future. When they instead find a lot of existing personal touches, they will not only see décor that needs to be fixed, they’ll be seeing immediate items on their new-home to-do list and immediate expenses above and beyond the cost of the home. Making sure your décor is as neutral as possible can help potential buyers better imagine themselves in your home, and can decrease their list of things to fix or change once they move in.
  4. Make sure your home feels light and open. People tend to make decisions based on emotions and feeling, and after potential buyers see your home, they’ll mostly remember how they felt when they toured it. Creating an open environment will help people to feel welcome and positive. One way to make the most out of the natural lighting in your house and create a more open space is to remove blinds and heavy curtains, and instead invest in sheers and other lightweight transparents.
  5. Stage awkward areas such as nooks, junk rooms and basements so they show purpose. Make sure to stage each space in your home, especially the more awkward and multipurpose areas, so they clearly communicate a purpose. Even if potential buyers have different ideas for these spaces, you’ll want to make sure they don’t see these areas as useless, unsightly or unnecessary.
  6. Store away as many kitchen and bathroom items as possible. Kitchens and bathrooms are often the main selling features of the home, and people want to see the surfaces as clear as possible. Not only will this make your most important areas look clean and uncluttered, it can also communicate to potential buyers that there is a lot of open space for future use in these rooms.
  7. Place fresh flowers and living plants around your home to make it more welcoming. Plants can help your house seem more open and light, as previously discussed, and they can almost instantly make it feel more inviting. They are a great, quick way to make guests and potential buyers alike feel welcome and positive while spending time in your home.