When staging your property you need to focus on the overarching goal, to get this property sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time! All personal feelings and preferences have to be put aside. Remember that once you decide to sell it is not your home, it is a property.
First and foremost, buyer’s look for this in a home, open concept and how rooms flow together, as well as neutrality in design selections. For that reason it is imperative to start with decluttering/depersonalize each room, so they do not distract the buyer’s eye. Keep in mind the half rule. You have a bookshelf, leave half the space empty. Closets, keep at least half clear, they will appear to be more spacious. The more items you have out for buyers to see, the more they are going to focus on those items, rather than the space your property has to offer! An example, your family photos left out cause buyer’s to focus on the subject of the photos, rather than the potential for this property to be their home!
Do not be afraid to have an impartial friend come in and comment on what is distracting in each space. Start on the exterior and walk through the house like a buyer would, through the front door. Is the color of the front door appealing? Is the handle in good condition? This is the first and last thing a buyer sees. Go room by room thinking of, what do I notice when first entering this space and is it the best feature that will help showcase it? For example, if you have a fireplace and a beautiful view out the window, keep your furniture positioned to emphasis the best feature. Think about why you fell in love with the property when you purchased it and focus on making those areas shine. Potential buyer’s will not be able to help themselves from falling fall in love with those same things!