From watching HGTV, you’d get the idea that staging involves spending your life’s savings at a florist and living like a lonely Mad Hatter, with your table perpetually set for a tea party that never happens. But really, staging can be anything you do to make your home more appealing to a potential buyer, especially things that aren’t part of your normal everyday routine. So if you usually leave your socks standing up in your gym shoes at the foot of your bed but decide to toss them under it while your home is for sale, congratulations, you’ve just staged your home.

As a long-time magazine writer, my instinct is to rattle off an alliterative list of tasks that makes you feel vaguely scolded if you don’t do them. (Yes, magazines know that’s how those “must” lists make people feel.) But while that might be how Anna Wintour works, it’s not how Jake works, and I urge you to take this list only as seriously as you want to – and as seriously as you can. If you have kids, pets, no free time, or one of million other reasons why these ideas don’t and can’t work for you, leave them right here where you found them!

That said, if your home is on the market during the grey days of late winter, here are five things to consider adding to your routine, in order of commitment level.

Use Fresh Greenery

Place a few large healthy houseplants in sunny spots in your home – you can always borrow plants from a friend or neighbour.

Keep Entranceways Clear

Winter gear takes up a lot of room, but find a way to streamline yours. Make sure there are available coat hooks or hangers where people come in to the house. If possible, use a side or back door to come and go on your everyday business so your main entrance stays clear.

Provide Slippers and a Seat

Provide a place to sit near the front door where potential buyers can take off their winter footwear, and provide a basket of Dollar Store slippers in a few different sizes that they can borrow.

Don’t Just Shovel, Sweep

Obviously, keeping the walkways and driveway of your home clear of ice and snow is important, but once the ice has melted, consider sweeping up the de-icing agents left behind. It feels gross underfoot, and gets tracked inside.

Wipe Down Doors and Windows

Snowplows and other heavy trucks kick up a lot of dirt and dust that winds up leaving a grey tinge on your street-facing doors and windows. Wipe them down weekly or as needed – for example, right before a showing or open house.

– Stephanie.

NOTE: This is part of a new blog launched by the Caldwell team. I’m Stephanie, and I’m a writer sharing some of my own thoughts as a homeowner, but mostly working with Jake and Anne to get their thoughts and expertise out into the world.