Get Your House Show Ready (Cheap!) – How to Fake Your Whole House Being Organized

Get Your House Show Ready & Organized - 4 Cheap & Fast Ways to Make Your House Look AMAZING

We recently had to get photos of our house done, and prep for showings and open houses. It was a whirlwind. And there’s a big difference between getting your house clean and getting your house show ready clean. But the good news is that you don’t need to spend very much to make your house look excellent. These tips will help your photos looks AMAZING in pictures, and wow the people looking through your home.

Take the pictures VERY seriously. Most people will be looking at online listings on sites like There’s a high chance that photos will be the difference between a listing and actually visiting. In our own home buying process, we’d practically decided this house was ours before stepping in the door. It matters. And when it comes time for showings, people will be hyper-critical of your home. It’s nothing against you, but you’ve become “immune” to the little things that may be slightly “off” in your home. So this is intended to give you the best chance at getting the best price for your home.

And if you aren’t selling a home, this will help your home look b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l anyways! If you want to film a house tour, or wow people with your *organization* skills, these tips will do that too.


note: these are the real things we did to prep our home. This post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing but keep the website running. I sincerely appreciate each click. See Website Disclaimer for more about Budgets & Kale affiliate links.

1. Straight lines everywhere

Now is the time to take a HARD look at every line in your house. What do I mean by “lines” ? Any piece of furniture or fabric that can get tilted….make sure it’s aligned. Specifically take a look at all….


  • Curtains - are they even on both sides?
  • Decor - Is is straight on the shelf/wall/bookshelf?
  • Drawers - are they closed?
  • Chairs - are they squared to the furniture or walls? Evenly spaced?
  • Lampshades - are they even?
  • Tables - are they squared to lighting? Walls?
  • Nightstands - Are they evenly spaced off your bed?
  • Shower Curtains - are they fully covering the tub/shower?
  • Bedding - Is there a perfect straight across line where your bedding rests? Are pillows squared?

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2. Arrange by color

Okay honestly, this is not the most practical for living, but looks outstanding in photos and in-person. The most important items here for us were clothing and books.

  • Put all like color clothing together, regardless of item type.
  • Match hangers too. I made sure only white hangers were in our master closet because it was being photographed. The exact types didn't match, but the colors did.
  • Remove any "one off" clothing that does not look cohesive - for us that meant a removing couple of red shirts, neons, and patterned pieces. What was left was mostly earth tones that looked like an intentional color palette. The other items we put into drawers or storage containers. It seems silly, but those one items stuck out and the difference was subtle but noticeable.
  • Organize books by color, regardless of genre or thickness. If a book is significantly taller, put that in a different location.
  • Move any decor that does not match the "color palette' of that room. Use a critical eye.
  • Look at an overview of the room. Would any one item stick out in a photo? Move it (unless you want it featured).
  • Add brighter decor into darker spaces and corners to liven them up. This could mean a pop of color, white, or a lighter metal.

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3. Remove Clutter and Personal Decor

There are two very important reasons to remove clutter and personal decor. 

  1. This makes the space look bigger

  2. Potential buyers can envision their own items & decor in the house.

  • Is the item necessary every single day?
  • Is the item something ANY buyer would use?
  • Is any family or pet in the picture? If yes - remove

In our (fairly large) kitchen, we only had had a white utensil crock, white ceramic canisters, a bamboo knife block, a stainless steel coffee pot, and a bronze fruit bowl (with fruit!). In our large kitchen, this looked like nothing. If you have a smaller kitchen I wouldn’t have any canisters out. These items were neutral in color and anyone would use them.

Examples of things we removed:

  1. everything in our “fancy” upper cabinets that have glass doors and light up. What was there were special occasion wine glasses, our champagne wedding toasting glasses, and an antique ice bucket. 

  2. Anything that didn’t match colors. I love my electric tea kettle, but it’s bright red and didn’t match our otherwise neutral palette (white or metal). I even removed utensils from the crock that weren’t a neutral color. These are subtle, fast changes that make a difference!

  3. Anything that adds clutter: our dish drying rack, paper towel holder, spoon rest, and Instant Pot. I even removed all towels from the kitchen so the lines would be clean – even though we have older appliances.


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4. Storage Containers for Everything Else

Storage containers make a giant difference, and this is where we did spend a bit. Thankfuy all of the medium/small options we found at Dollar Tree (which has an online store btw – click here) Previously a lot of our storage were simply old cardboard boxes. And while that worked, it didn’t look great. Remember those “clean lines” ? Well, matching boxes do that too. The way big storage boxes transformed our storage areas was amazing. They looked instantly organized and HUGE. 

Also, doing this now will help you when you move! Not just for show!

We used four main “types” of storage containers. I’ll analyze why you need each of these for the best results.

  1. Large Heavy Duty – for clothing, books, extra decor, any “big” things. 50-70 quart size is recommended depending on any shelving you have.

  2. Medium Sized Open storage for inside pantries/cabinets 

  3. Shoebox sized storage boxes for inside pantries/cabinets

  4. Small open containers for inside drawers

Pssst: buy more than you think you need. It’s helpful when you get into the last minute freak out of “where do I put this?!” and if you end up with extra, you can return them. Just keep your receipt somewhere safe!

Three of these options are only $1 each! Personally, I would recommend buying the Dollar Tree items online, because store availability can be very inconsistent.


image via Home Depot
image via DollarTree
image via DollarTree
image via DollarTree

Large storage boxes:These were 38-70 qt. boxes that we used throughout our storage areas. We mostly used 38 and 55 gallon size. To label them, we used a paper and sharpie. Nothing fancy. The simple look of matching containers and no visible clutter is what makes the difference here. Out of season clothing, that “non matching color palette clothing” and decor. Extra kids toys….all of them. We got the black heavy duty with yellow lids because 1. They are TOUGH and will last and 2. You can’t see the chaos inside of them.

Where to use large storage boxes:

  • Mechanical Room / Unfinished Storage
  • Garage
  • Any Outbuildings

Medium Sized Open Storage – these will TRANSFORM your smaller storage areas such as closets, cabinets, pantries. I went and BOUGHT OUT my local Dollar Tree. Looking back, I should’ve ordered a case online (you can do that here!) to get the exact style and color I wanted. I’d suggest a neutral color. The idea is to bring a cohesive look. Instead of starting at bottles and labels, potential buyers will see primarily clean lines of simple storage. It makes a world of difference. 

Where/What to Use Storage Baskets

  • Cleaning Products/Bottles
  • Baking Ingredients
  • Any Loose Boxes/bags in Cupboards
  • Baby items (diaper dream, lotions)
  • Hair products
  • Hair Tools
  • Office Items
  • Extra Household Items (lightbulb backups, filters etc)
  • Miscellaneous

Small ShoeBox Storage – I used these for a few categories: anything that looked cluttered, and last minute “oh-my-gosh-where-do-I-put-this” items.

  • Extra batteries
  • Medicine
  • Cords, Chargers etc.
  • Photos/Cards
  • Small office appliances

Drawer Organizers – As the name would suggest, these are great to organize drawers! Think inside your bathroom and kitchen, mostly. Because *hopefully* potential buyers would respect not opening your detached furniture (like dressers) but you never know. Keep in mind that you won’t need these for pictures, but would highly recommend for any showings or open houses!

  • Toothbrushes/Toothpaste
  • Nail Care Items & Polish
  • Hygiene Items: Tweezers, Razors etc
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Small office supplies
  • Kitchen Utensils & Tools

Best of luck in your home selling and home showing process! It can be a bit of work, but it’s worth it.

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