Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Declutter Before Moving

By: Samantha and Emilio - KW Professional Organizers

We want you to have a stress- and anxiety-free move. Here are the TOP SIX benefits for why you should declutter before moving homes:

* Getting rid of the clutter will allow you to relax and feel great!
* The Home Staging process will be faster and more effective.
* Your home will look inviting and it will attract more buyers.
* Save time, energy and $$ by not moving unnecessary items.
* Less time spent unpacking in your new home; arranging only the items you love.
* Sell and/or Auction Unwanted items to get $$ back.


1. WHAT’S YOUR WHY? What do you want? Why do you want it? How are these goals going to make your life better?

2. CAN YOU PICTURE IT? Visualize your ideal space. What does it look like? How do you feel when you are there? Having a clear vision in your mind that motivates you will make the process of decluttering and moving way easier. You will also have a better understanding for what items to take with you and what to leave behind. What kind of activities would you like to do in the new space? Make sure to set up the spaces according to your needs.

HELPFUL TIP: Are you moving into a smaller space? Having detailed measurements of every room can help you decide if an item will fit in the space or not. Measure and play with the layout before you move in.

3. PICKING A SPACE TO START. What is your first priority? What space can you benefit the most from? It’s very powerful to be able to start and finish one area. You will be able to experience a functional and inviting space. This will empower you to keep going with other areas.

4. ACCEPT HELP. Yes, it is true. Getting help makes the decluttering process much faster and more fun! Having someone else will help you feel supported, give you extra hands, help you keep the motivation going and keep you accountable.

5. SCHEDULE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME. Be realistic. This is a tough one. It will depend on how fast you make decisions, how much help you have, and how many items there are in the space. Don’t try to do it all at once. Take whatever you estimated and add 2 more hours ;)

6. TAKE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS. Pictures are not just for professionals to build their portfolios. Taking photographs will help you see your accomplishment and will be motivation you for future sessions.
“When you understand what drives you, what truly motivates you, you are then able to create an environment that facilitates your goals. It frees up space so the new you can step in. There is purpose in how you live.” - Lanna Nakone, Organizing for Your Brain Type.

7. SET UP A STATION. If possible set up a folding table in the space you are working. Only deal with the items on the table. Keep focused and use a timer if you need to. Under the table, have a few bins (donation, recycling, garbage, shredding, belongs in another space, to give to someone, to sell). Every situation will require some or all of these bins. If you have clear space in the room or close by in another room you can make piles there.

8. THE ‘WAVE’ PROCESS. Start on one side of the room and do a “wave” touching every item in the space: Do I need this item? Is it going to help me achieve my goals? Put the item in the proper pile. If you are unsure make a pile of unsure items and go back to it later.
HELPFUL TIP: Taking a photo of an item can help you keep the memory of it without having the physical item. Keep working with the items you know for sure what to do with them.

9. MESSIER BEFORE IT GETS BETTER. Don’t panic. Things will look messier during the beginning of this process. Allowing time to clean up and place things where they belong at the end of the session is very important.

10. GIVE EVERYTHING A ‘HOME’ Every item that stays in the space needs a permanent spot. No excuses.

11. KEEP A TO-DO LIST. As you sort through your items write down every task that comes to mind as you work. It will help you get things done and make smarter decisions. At the end of the session make sure to schedule all the tasks in your calendar.

12. UNWANTED ITEMS. If you know for sure there will be a lot of unwanted items to go for donation, auction, consignment, and/or recycling make sure to arrange for transportation.

13. STORING ITEMS FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Give them a deadline and make sure they are gone before the end of the session. Move them to another space if that’s an option. They need to understand that you are dealing with clutter and working really hard to get your space back. Their stuff is not helping you accomplish your goal.

14. PAPER. Dealing with paper can take a very long time and you won’t see immediate visual results. We recommend putting the paper aside and deal with it in a future session when you have a clear space to tackle it. If you are dealing with paper you may benefit from reading Tips to win the constant battle against paper clutter.






Decluttering your home will allow you to make the process of selling your home and moving seamless.

It will also allow you to get a fresh start. It’s a new chapter in your life and you can decide what that chapter includes.

Don’t want to tackle decluttering on your own? We love working with KW Professional Organizers. Call them today at 226-606-3233!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Dos and Don'ts of Hiring a Designer

·      Provide information regarding your style
o   This may be magazine photos, Pinterest pins, or physical samples – you don’t even have to know what you like about something, but the more information that you can provide to your designer, the better
·      Provide Samples
o   If you have already selected any renovation materials, be sure to have samples of those items available for your designer
·      Provide Creative Autonomy
o   This is something that many homeowners struggle with – remember that you hired your designer for their expert, professional opinion, and there may be times where you will need to trust them to take you outside of your comfort zone.
o   Our goal is to integrate your style with our expertise to create a design plan that you will love for years to come. The more autonomy that we have, the easier it is to create this, but we want to ensure that we do so with your trust and understanding – if at any time you do not feel that you are being heard, or are not comfortable with a decision that has been made, be sure to address it as soon as possible to avoid any issues or unnecessary costs.
o   It’s all in our head - we understand that you may not always be able to see what we see! Sometimes, you may simply need to take a leap of faith and trust, but if this is something that you are not capable of, ask, and we will do our best to provide a visual representation of our vision.
·      Understand what your roles are
o   This is important to address in the beginning, to ensure that there is no confusion.
o   If you are uncertain, ask questions.
o   Your designer should provide you with a contract outlining the scope of the project and any fees, payment schedule, etc – this is intended to protect both you, and your designer

·      Rush
o   Quality takes time! Plan for your design or renovation project – by allowing the proper time needed, your designer will have more flexibility in negotiating the best quality and price for each product/finish selection.
o   Allow sufficient time for create the proper plans for any renovations PRIOR to beginning construction.
·      Be afraid to speak up
o   It’s your house, and your money! The role of a designer is to create a space that fits your style and needs – if you do not like something, be sure to address it with your designer.
o   You get final say, but remember that you hired a designer for a reason – sometimes you just need to trust us and our final vision.
·      Withhold your budget
o   I cannot stress this one enough! Be sure to communicate where your comfort zone is, and plan for a contingency (as a general rule, we recommend allocating approximately 5%-10% of your total budget for design services, however this can vary by project and designer).
o   We often find that clients are afraid to reveal their budget, for fear that we as designers will spend every dime of it. Our role is not to maximize your budget, but to maximize your dollar. The most effective way for us to do this is by ensuring that we can purchase quality products, and have the freedom to explore low-cost options when available.
·      Keep things bottled up

o    All relationships take some element of work, so it may take a little bit of time initially to work out the kinks of understanding, and setting, appropriate boundaries. Be sure to clearly communicate with your designer to ensure that you are on the same page.

Contact Beyond The Stage Homes today to find out how to get your property sold!

Phone: +1 (226) 240-0766

Monday, January 9, 2017

Understanding Flooring Options for Selling Your Home

Many of the decisions made regarding flooring, in terms of what buyers will prefer to see, will be market specific. Often the price-point of the house will dictate the extent of upgrades required for flooring.

Updates and Repairs

  • Replace worn, stained, or outdated carpet
  • Stretch and tack down loose carpet
  • Check grout for condition, and re-grout cracked or recessed grout (clean stained or discoloured grout)
  • Touch-up minor floor scratches
  • Refinish worn hardwood
  • Upgrade as necessary

Types of Flooring


  • Most often used to replicate wood, this versatile and durable flooring can also mimic the look of tile
  • Available in a range of quality – a good quality laminate can be much more durable than hardwood (not as sensitive to temperature and humidity changes)
  • Not easily scratched or dented, and therefore ideal for use with pets and kids
  • Easy to install, and may be installed over most types of flooring
  • Good for medium to lower priced homes – considered an inexpensive upgrade by buyers
  • Not ideal in areas prone to moisture (i.e. bathrooms, laundry room, or kitchen)
  • Works best in living rooms, bedrooms, and basements

Hardwood Flooring

  • Has a natural pattern and colour, and the pattern will have variations
  • Some woods are not actually “hard” woods, despite their name, and have a low level of durability
  • Will expand and contract depending on temperature – should be installed in rooms that experience a fairly consistent temperature and humidity level
  • If hardwood floors already exist in a home, consider refinishing to update colour and remove scratches
  • Engineered vs Natural
    • Both are great products, very durable
    •  For comparable quality, the pricing for either is generally relatively similar
    •  Engineered:
      •  Less sensitive to humidity and temperature changes
      • Not recommended to be sanded and refinished
      • Available in wider plank sizes than natural
      • May be installed on any level of the house
    • Natural:
      • Will expand and contract due to temperature and humidity changes – should be installed to allow for this without buckling
      • May be sanded and refinished numerous times (approximately 10 times on average)
      • Recommended in above-grade rooms only
  • Works best in living rooms and bedrooms, but great for any room above grade
TIP: Avoid distinct or trendy wood features for the purpose of resale


  • Travertine and natural stone tiles have a varying texture and colour
  • Natural stone tiles should be re-sealed regularly
  • Porcelain tiles are harder and more durable than ceramic, but often more expensive
  • Ceramic tiles often mimic porcelain tiles but are less durable and may crack or break if items are dropped on them
  • Tiles should be installed on flat surfaces, otherwise grout will crack, as could the tiles
  • Tiles can be a cold surface if heating is not installed with it
  • Good for installing as an upgrade from linoleum
  • Works best in bathrooms, entries, and laundry rooms


  • Once considered a luxury item, carpet is now considered an inexpensive flooring option, and is much less appealing to most buyers
  • Considered less hygienic – people with allergies often opt for a home that is carpet-free (if carpet is being removed from a home, consider replacing it with a non-carpet flooring alternative – i.e. hardwood)
  • Varies in heights, known as “pile” – a higher pile generally reflects a higher cost as well
  • Always ensure a high-quality under-pad is installed to maximize the value of the carpet
  • Works best in basements or bedrooms
Contact Beyond The Stage Homes today to find out how to get your property sold!

Phone: +1 (226) 240-0766 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

As we say good-bye to 2016, and hello to a New Year...

Wow, has another year gone by already?! I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support throughout this past year, and thank my incredible team here at Beyond The Stage Homes, for making this one of our best years yet! With homes selling for higher prices than ever, home sellers are as savvy as ever, and certainly kept us busy with as we helped them to showcase their home to receive top dollar for the sale! With our expanded design team, we are better equipped to manage all of our client needs.

So what made this year so fantastic? Here are just a few things that happened at Beyond The Stage Homes - thank you for being a part of it!

The year began with another outstanding Home Seller’s Workshop, and Beyond The Stage Homes continues to draw crowds to these informative seminars, providing useful tips for preparing your home for sale.

January - Shauna Lynn Simon and Jennifer Roth attended the RESA Convention in Las Vegas, where Shauna Lynn was featured as a guest speaker. This is the largest industry event in North America.

January - Shauna Lynn joined the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre as a volunteer mentor to local entrepreneurs.

April - Shauna Lynn joined Roger’s Daytime as a regular guest, sharing tips for around your home each month.

May - BTSH sponsored the KW MS Walk once again, and helped to raise much needed funds for the Grand River MS Society chapter.

June - SLS Academy, the training division of Style Corporation, took their training online, and has been building a strong community of home stagers ever since.

July Received 1st place Diamond Award for the Waterloo Chronicle Reader Awards Interior Design/Furnishings Category 2016

August - Shauna Lynn Simon and Jennifer Roth attended the RESA Canada Convention in Toronto, ON, where Shauna Lynn was featured as a guest speaker again!

October - Received 1st place Diamond Award for the Record Reader Awards Favourite Interior Decorator 2016

September - BTSH was proud to sponsor the Inspiring Women’s Event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce

November - Shauna Lynn was announced as the Canadian Representative for the National Board of Directors for the Real Estate Staging Association.

November - Shauna Lynn and Jennifer returned to Conestoga College and Sheridan College to speak to students about the exciting field of Home Staging, and how to pursue a career in this area.

November - BTSH was proud to sponsor the Sleep Tight PJ Party for the second year!

December - SLS Academy announced as a Finalist for the RESA Awards Most Innovation Product/Service

What does 2017 have in store?

The Beyond The Stage Homes' story continues in 2017 with bigger and better adventures. We will continue to create beautiful spaces, and provide clients with answers to the questions that they didn't even know that they had! 

In January, Jennifer Roth and myself will attend the 2017 RESA Convention at M Resort in Las Vegas where SLS Academy will be exhibiting. 

We look forward to what the upcoming year will bring. We are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to share our passion for the home with Waterloo Region, and hope to continue to for years to come.

We wish you your best year yet!

All the best, from Shauna Lynn and the entire BTSH team!

Monday, August 8, 2016

10 Low Budget Home Staging Hacks to Use in Everyday Life

Our home staging clients often tell us how much they wish that they had brought us in sooner, before they decided to sell the house, so that they could have enjoyed some of the changes that we made! They especially love seeing some of our home staging tricks and hacks first hand, so we’ve decided to share some of our favourites with you! You can put these low-cost ideas to use in your home, regardless of whether or not you are selling.

1. Use baskets to hide cables
It’s not a fancy trick, but it can be incredibly effective. Hide routers, cables, and other messes using baskets. NOTE: some items (such as routers) need room to vent, so be sure to account for and allow for this.

Consider adding a shelf under your desk to get the cords and cables off of the floor.

2. Zip tie your lamp cords (and other electronics)
In staging, there is nothing worse than seeing a long dangling cord behind a table. By zip-tying these, they can be cleaned up and out of site. Wind up extra slack in the cable or cord not needed and tie. You can bundle the cord close to the table top and tie, or tie the cord to the table leg at the top and bottom, and bundle the cord at the base. It’s easy for cables and chargers to become a bit of a mess as well. Group your office or tv cables together and zip tie in a few spots to keep them from getting tangled. It’s also a great idea to label your cords (close to the plug) so that you can easily unplug one when you need to without needing to do serious detective work to find the right one to disconnect. There are a variety of cord labelling systems available for sale, but it doesn’t need to be fancy - you can these create with any labels or tape that you have in your household already.

3. Use painters tape or masking tape to hang art on plaster walls
This will prevent the wall from splitting when you puncture it with the nail. Simply place a small piece of tape (approximately ½”) where you want to hang the nail before hammering.

4. Disguise your everyday products
Hat boxes are an attractive way to hide your everyday toiletries, and come in sizes large enough to fit your lotions and sprays easily!

Blue and white round hat box with brown decorative suitcase

5. Freshen your furniture with touch-up markers
While it’s not the most glamorous fix, this is a trick that is often used in home staging, and works great for giving furniture a quick touch-up from nicks and scratches. When you’re selling your home, even though you are not likely selling your furnishings, showing care of these items will help to show pride of ownership in your home.

6. Get rid of your fireplace's brass trim
One of the biggest things that can show a fireplace’s age is a brass trim! Pick up some black barbeque paint and cover the brass for an instant update!

7. Fix outdated backsplashes
Have an out-dated backsplash but can’t afford to replace it? Painting it will give it a fresh new look! This is intended as a temporary solution, but with the right paint, it can last for a few years. Not recommended for floor tiles.

white kitchen backsplash painted tile with white cabinets

8. Yes, you can paint brick!
Paint brick to give an instant update, whether on the interior or exterior of your house. Again, you’ll want to ensure that you are using a paint designed for this type of surface; you’ll be amazed by the finish.

9. Need a table runner? 
Create a “make-shift” table runner from an old drape with a few tucks and folds (if you don’t intend to use the drape again, you may wish to cut it and add some hem tape to create a proper seam).

10. Get a custom closet for less!
Hang all similar colours together with matching hangers and add baskets to your shelves. Use space saving hangers for best results – your closet will look and feel much more organized and spacious!

Contact Beyond The Stage Homes today to find out how to get your property sold!

Phone: +1 (226) 240-0766

Monday, July 11, 2016

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

If you have outgrown your house, and are considering moving in the Waterloo Region (or surrounding areas), you may be intimidated by the extreme seller’s market. Reports have indicated it will not be shifting any time soon! With the increased demand due to a growing population, homebuyers are finding it challenging to find the perfect home that fits all of their needs within their price-point. Then, if they do find a home that works well, it’s often met with a bidding war. Perhaps you have already put yourself out there, and have lost several bids on ideal homes. You may be frustrated that you'll never be able to find what you need, for the price that you want. If you’ve considered the option of staying in your current home, and taking on some renovations, you are certainly not alone! You might be wondering if it’s better to stay in your home, and what your options are, should you stay.



There are a number of considerations to make in order to help you to make the best decision for you and your family:

Step 1: Create a list of what you “need” in a home.
Step 2: Create a list of what you “want” in a home.
Step 3: Assuming that budget is not an issue, evaluate whether or not your home is capable of providing you with what you need. For example, if you are on a narrow lot, and need a double car garage instead of your single, it’s likely not possible to create the home of your dreams.

On the other hand, it might just be a matter of utilizing your current space better. You may need to approach a designer/contractor for this to fully determine what you can and cannot do (HINT: anything can be done, but are you willing to spend what is needed to achieve what you want). A designer can help you to determine how you might be able to better utilize various spaces within your home. If renovations are needed, a contractor can help you understand the considerations and implications for this.

Another alternative you may want to consider is expanding your current space. Evaluate if your property lot is large enough to add additional space. If you think it can, consult with a designer and contractor to create a plan for adding space, and maximizing not only the new space, but the original rooms in your house as well. This will create a smooth and consistent design and flow throughout your home. As well, a contractor can help you to determine what can be done, and how much it will cost you.



Iain Kent of Eagleview Construction has noticed an increase in homeowners opting for additions to their home this year. “We’ve heard over and over again from homeowners that they love their current neighbourhood, but have run out of room in their current house and can’t find anything in the area that meets their needs and budgets,” says Kent. “Additions can be a great way to add that much-needed living space, but can come with a hefty price tag. A typical addition can run anywhere from $75,000 to well over $200,000 depending on the amount of space being added, the types of rooms being added (kitchens and bathrooms tend to be more expensive than other rooms) and the types of finishes desired.”

Now, before considering a renovation of this magnitude, you should always consult with your mortgage professional, real estate agent, and financial planner. Stephen Green of RBC Financial has seen this option weighed a number of times, but sometimes it is simply better to sell to get what you need. “If you do you have sufficient equity to draw from in your current residence it may be worth pulling that out towards the renovation, provided the final value actually does increase. This is where both your mortgage professional and your real estate agent can come in the play. If both your real estate agent and your mortgage professional deem it not to be a good decision to renovate, it might be the right time to list it and find the home that does everything. Sometimes the time and effort of a renovation is far more tedious than simply buying the house that is already what you want,” says Green.

Kent has noted that, despite the effort, many are still finding an addition the more desirable option. “With the growing trend of families wanting to live more centrally, many of the homes in the older areas of town are smaller than what modern households might require, and to find a bigger house in the same area might either be completely out of the budget or simply non-existent, says Kent. “Whatever the case may be, many clients are choosing that renovating and adding an addition to increase their livable space is the best option.”

Now, if you have deemed that you are ready and prepared to take on the renovation, you may be looking at your bank account, and wondering the best way to fund it. We asked Green about this, and he said, “If you are looking to do a large scale renovation, first ask your mortgage professional if there is an option to withdraw equity from your current home. Any line of credit that is secured against a property is always at a lower rate because there is security against it. If the value goes up from the work you have completed, you could then possibly move those funds into a mortgage portion to work at paying down principle. Another option is to go with a regular unsecured line of credit and then wrap it into your mortgage after the fact.”

Any renovation, large or small, should be given careful planning consideration in order to ensure a successful execution. In addition, local qualified contractors are finding themselves booked months into the future in order to keep up with market demand. Once the decision has been made, you’ll want to start the planning process and consult with a residential designer to help you to plan your renovation, and secure the materials that you need in order to keep the project on track.

As a bonus, we’ve provided you with some tips to help you to live through the renovations:

  • It will get messy – There is no sugar-coating this! You might think that you’re prepared for this, but most people are creatures of habit and a disruption like this can be difficult to cope with at times. Despite best efforts to maintain a level of cleanliness, you will need to be prepared to lower your daily standards of clean.
  • Backup plan – With any renovation, there is always a margin of unknown and this could mean delays. If you have a tight timeline for when you expect things to be finished, ensure that you have a backup plan in case things go wrong.
  • Find off-site storage – Review long-term versus short-term storage options and consider purging any items that will not be included in the new design instead of storing these unnecessarily.
  • Protect your valuables – No matter how professional and careful your hired contractors are, accidents can happen. We recommend moving valuables off-site, to a secure facility such as your off-site storage, safety deposit box, or a trusted family member or friend.
  • Find a safe haven for your pets – Change can be stressful on your pets, not to mention that the dust and debris throughout the process can be dangerous if accidentally ingested. If possible, find a temporary home for your furry friends.
  • Consider finding a temporary residence – While this may seem like an added expense, it could mean savings for you in the long run. By finding a temporary residence, you will enjoy a more convenient lifestyle, allowing you to be more comfortable and productive, while allowing your team of workers the freedom to come and go from the work site at their discretion. When living in the home during renovations, your workers will ensure that you have as comfortable of a living space as possible at the end of each day, but this takes time to tidy and clean, and those are billable hours. If you have any allergies or sensitivities, regardless of how clean the home is kept during renovations, you may find that your body will react adversely to the presence of dust, fumes, and other renovation materials.

Contact Beyond The Stage Homes today to find out how to get your property sold!

Phone: +1 (226) 240-0766