Usually, we aim our posts at homeowners that are looking for some tips and tricks of the trade. But not this time! If you have ever dreamed of a career in home staging (in Canada), here’s your chance to get a glimpse behind the scenes.
If you live in Canada, then you understand the true meaning of being prepared for anything, especially when it comes to the weather. But you can’t let a little rain/snow/sleet/wind/extreme heat/humidity or other natural weather challenge stop you, or you would never leave the house! The same applies in home staging - similar to the old mail courier adage - "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” and so goes the home stager to meet and greet clients, delivery beautiful staging furniture, accessories, and more to provide homeowners with peace of mind, and a swift home sale.
During some of the greatest weather challenges, when I hear of my friends hibernating inside to avoid what the outdoors holds, my amazing team and myself are braving these conditions. If given the choice, I’ll take wind over rain, and snow over wind, and extreme heat over extreme anything else. Since we seem to experience more cold snowy days than anything else, we thought we’d share some experiences of what this actually entails.
It was a cold January morning, that started before sunrise (because in January, the sun likes to hide until later in the morning). On this particular day, sunrise occurred at 7:52 am. As the lead stager that day, I arose at 7 am, dressed in my long-johns and layers, and left to pick up our moving truck just before 8 am. My layers are cleverly chosen to include standard socks topped with thermal socks (pink of course), plus black legging style long-johns over my black leggings, plus a t-shirt, long sleeve thermal shirt, a wool dress, and a sweater (I don’t mess around). Then, the real bundling begins with touque, scarf, mitts, jacket, and boots. By the time I’m done, I’m a few sizes larger, but ready to brave the world. Of course, once we arrive at the house and the truck is unloaded, I spend another half an hour unbundling and removing layers before the staging can begin.
The cold and snow may slow us down, but we make the most of it with laughs and gags, and the occasional snowball fight. That day, we found ourselves approximately an hour behind schedule all day, we almost dropped a beautiful ceramic stool in the ice, a couple of graceful slips and slides, but we made it through. The results? A beautifully staged home, some very happy clients, and a long overdue appointment scheduled with my massage therapist.
In addition to the need to keep warm, winter stagings present a number of other challenges. We face frozen storage locks, unplowed roads, driveways, and storage yards (oh my), not to mention icy driveways and dangerous roads. We travel with our salt bags, our shovel, a mini torch, and extra blankets (just in case). But my biggest annoyance? The rented moving trucks do NOT have heated seats.
Luckily, our BTSH vehicles do have heated seats, but that doesn't mean that the stagings using those vehicles go any smoother. Remember last week’s snow storm? I hitched up a trailer to our trusty SUV, shoveled my way to our storage units, loaded it up, and arrived at my client’s home ready to stage. Unfortunately, the townhouse complex they lived in wasn't as ready for the snow as I was, and it hadn't been plowed. A little creative thinking, and some help from my clients, and we got the job done before the photographer arrived. Luckily I had lots of practice climbing snowbanks as a kid, those skills certainly came in handy!
The truth is, I wouldn't trade these staging challenges for any other career. These stories just make you appreciate the “easier” staging projects that much more, and at the end of the day, we always get the job done. If we manage to grab a great story along the way, even better. But, if you’re considering a career in home staging, you may wish to consider relocating to a more comfortable climate.