Waconia resident Kristin Campbell has organization in her blood. For the last decade, the home stager, redesigner and professional organizer has transformed hundreds of homes through her business, Organized Homes & Staging by Kristin.
“I believe that when your space is organized, you function better because you’re more settled and at peace internally,” Campbell says. “Disorganized space can feel very chaotic … If you have things in place and the area is neat and organized, you feel a lot calmer, and that can transfer into other areas of your life.”
Chaos in any home can make it difficult to know where to start organizing. Campbell remembers one particular client, who was very overwhelmed. “She hadn’t gone through her stuff in years. We did a top to bottom, entire house purge and organization,” she says. “We went through it step by step, mostly together, at least to a point where she would let me know what she wanted to keep versus what she didn’t."
The whole experience was eye opening for her client. “I could see, as we were going through the process, her demeanor changing and her mood lifting from feeling overwhelmed,” Campbell says. “She went from, ‘Oh my gosh, how are we ever going to tackle this?’ to, ‘Oh my gosh, the office is done. Let’s move on to the closets.’ I see that a lot. People aren’t excited to start, but then they dig in and start seeing the results, and that keeps them motivated to keep going.”
Campbell calls the organizing part of her business Staging to Stay. It’s paying homage to the other area of her company that deals with home staging, which is setting up a house with current décor and trends to prepare it to sell. She says both require the same first initial step: deep cleaning and decluttering. “When you’re living in your home, you’re not really objective about it. You may be overlooking things that fresh eyes see instantly, like a cracked switch plate,” she says.
Campbell provides those fresh eyes and will visit homes for a consultation, after which Campbell will write a report that details everything that needs to be done. While some people do the work themselves, Campbell will also do it for an additional fee. “My goal in working with my clients is to try and be as cost effective as possible,” she says. “I use as much of what they have as possible and sometimes supplement it with a few new key purchases, like decorative pillows, new towels [and] slipcovers on sofas that are dated.”
Campbell says one of the most frequent missteps in staging is leaving family photos on the walls. “That’s a big no-no,” she says. “You don’t want people looking at your pictures and thinking of the family that’s currently living there. You want them to imagine their family living there.” While Campbell no longer stages vacant homes, she does say staging is important if you want your home to sell. “If there’s a room without anything in it, it’s hard to tell the size of it,” she says.
She also recommends some key updates, such as stone kitchen countertops. “Today’s buyers have high expectations. Even though the house may not be new, they want it to feel new,” she says. To that end, she suggests deep cleaning and decluttering the home in addition to adding a fresh coat of paint and updating light fixtures. “You don’t have to spend a ton of money, but an updated kitchen or entryway chandelier really goes a long way,” she says.