Sheron Cardin's Input...: Why Don't You Take A Picture Of It Then!

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

Why Don't You Take A Picture Of It Then!


What would really be the difference between looking at a picture of a sentimental object and looking at the actual object(s)? Not that much really. The experience can be very much the same with one very big spaces. Using this technique to help clients clear up their clutter also works because it disarms their objections. 

Awhile back I wrote a blog about cleaning out my closet and letting go of my favorite outfits. Some I had hung onto for years and years just because of the memories I had while wearing them. What I discovered was...with the new digital camera era, it is the easiest thing to do and it really works. You can actually organize your photo's in files specifically titled to find them anytime you want to.

A walk down memory lane on your computer instead of you spare rooms or your tabletops can make sense if it is presents in the right light. 

Even the "I don't even know how to turn that thing on" generation can purchase a digital camera and a 1G memory card for under $100, point and shoot, then slip the memory card into their computer or their children's computer. A perfect 'gift' would be a digital camera and printer if that is what is holding back the sale of a home too. camera

If you have clients that have serious trouble with letting go of their sentimental possessions but need to for obvious reasons, it would be worth giving them a sample demonstration by showing them what you did yourself (it will be good for you too) and putting together a small photo album demonstrating what one would look like.

One of the real benefits of having photos of one's treasures is being able to share them with family and friends.

What to do with the actual objects? For an older person, offering family to help themselves to a few mementos can be appreciated. Then storing securely in air tight containers for safe keeping and stacking also helps put their minds at ease. 

I feel people in general already know that they need to do something about the stacks and boxes of stuff but they really do not know how to go about it. Taking pictures of what they are emotionally connected to will actually help them let it go.

This technique is the only one that has worked for me to let go of things I never considered letting go of but needed to. My closet is still clean and organized and another layer is going again. I can continue peeling away the layers until everything I have serves me and supports me and my goals.  





Comment balloon 29 commentsSheron Cardin • July 23 2007 03:07PM


Deborah - you bring up an angst that I have too. I lost all my photo's when my laptop crashed last year and it makes me sick. I miss all my paintings too because I did not take pictures of many of them. In the old days, camera's needed film and I remember finding cans of film in my glove box, junk drawers, old purses, etc. Half my pictures didn't get developed! Love the digital era!!! 
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

This is a great idea!  I have some stuff I need to do this with.  You could store them on flash drives in case of fire or computer crashes.

Posted by Michelle Ewing, Riverside, CA (Trademark Realtors) over 12 years ago

There was a 13 year old girl, who had 100+ stuffed animals she couldn't part with, but were taking up her room.  So an organizer took pictures of each of them, posed, looking like they were doing something fun, gardening or hugging, or playing.  She put them in a scrapbook, and they gave the bears to the police officers for kids when they were in situations that might need a "friend".  I thought what a great idea, she kept her memories of each one, and helped others out.  

Thanks for reminding me through this post!



Posted by Lexa R. Montierth, Real Estate Sales Agent and Marketer (NextHome Complete Realty) over 12 years ago

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Posted by Christina M. over 12 years ago

WOW Christina - let me go make a pot of coffee and I will get started. I don't have a Web-Cam but I will have a reason to get one now. Thank you and I will be contacting you.

I will forward this on the Shell at RESA too. Knowing her she may already be a customer but this sounds great. 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
OMG Sheron, I have an entire house full of things that belonged to my parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents, son, grandchildren, etc.  I just can't get rid of most of it because its all thats left to represent they were here on this planet, other than the memories I have.
Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) over 12 years ago
Terry - sounds like you need to open a museum for the family and have them all pitch in on the $$$. just kidding.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Sheron, this is such a good idea.  I think clients who are reluctant to pre-pack items might do it if they have this picture reminder.  These would be things they don't need to get rid of permanently, but do need to remove in order to showcase their home.  Thanks for such a great post.  Betty
Posted by Betty Haney (Haney Consulting) over 12 years ago

80's karen Here's an 80's version of myself and one of my BFFs going out clubbing. I have let go of all but the necklace here and have done what you suggest - photos make great memories and bring you back to a certain place and time that only you can relate to - it's really not that hard letting go of the past when you're looking ahead to the future and fun!

Thanks for the memories Sheron!

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 12 years ago
OK Karen...which one is you? You two look too innocent to be clubbing!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
This is a great idea.  For pictures, you can also burn them to a disk and then store in a bank safe deposit box.  You can usually rent a small box for under $50 per year.
Posted by Lori Hakeem Oxley (Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.) over 12 years ago

so well spoken ;)



Posted by Cindy Lin, Host, The Home Staging Show podcast (Staged4more School of Home Staging) over 12 years ago

Sheron, I remember that blog and used that suggestion with a client who had a difficult time letting go of large, bulky but beautiful handknit sweaters her mother had made.  She kept one, took pictures of the rest and found a wonderful charity to donate them to.  This was her particular hurdle and once over that, was able to start letting go of many other clothes, books, and things she didn't use. 

Now what's this I read about your unbelievable amount of emails? You KNOW you have to clean out your computer, I found  it on another person's blog comment.  Start cleaning; don't you do work on line?  Didn't they just fix your links so you could get orders and get paid?  You don't want to leave clutter there!  (And I would appreciate it if you would stop sneaking around behind your Feng Shui Consultant's back, dear :)

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 12 years ago

Lori - I think the safe deposit box is a great idea. We never think it is going to happen to, theft, flood. I am starting to think this is a proactive way of saving all precious memories. Mine are in a box. I better take my own advice, huh.

Cindy - nice to see you. I know you have been very busy in the Bay Area...I see your name everywhere in the news. great job.

Carole - my email issue is teaching me to rethink the way I think about the importance of information. Famous Amos wrote to never touch a piece of paper twice. I try to live by that, but now I am thinking I should never read an email more than once. And I confess, not all my efforts are about improving my environment but it sure seems like it these days. Its all good!

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Wonderful ideas!! Thank you!!  Photos are a great idea and such a lovely way to help the clients remove too many personal items without feeling that they are betraying their attachment to the items! Regards-Kathleen
Posted by Kathleen Garvey, Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales (HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver) over 12 years ago


You make a very good point!  When I sold my house 2 years ago and was going through boxes and bins, we 'unearthed' all kinds of 'treasures' and photos which we hadn't seen in years!  I remember being thrilled to see these things again, but then wondered if I would be that excited if I saw these things on a 'normal' basis?  I think not.  You are so right - a picture is just as good and can invoke all kinds of memories...and speaking of memories - we always carry them with us in our hearts.

Another idea, and one I started to do but then never had time to finish...all those old family pictures...the ones you would be crushed to lose in a fire or flood...why not scan them onto the computer and store on CD's.  Give one to each family member and you will always have a copy!


Posted by Val Allocco, HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island (Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island) over 12 years ago
Good morning Val - my sisters and I do scan our family photo's and share them. The quality can be a problem but it doesn't seem to restrict the emotions at all. I have been scanning all the pages I have torn out of magazines too. Picasa2 makes it easy to straighten them up and trim the edges or crop a section to save. I love Picasa2. 
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

OMG Sheron, you're my hero!  Are you honestly telling me that a picture of just the leather skirt I once wore for the nano-second that I was thin enough to fit into it, is going to do it for?

Meanwhile in Widgetbox land, I have managed to get it onto my Google home page, but not on my AR site.  I emailed the Widget dude who said, I don't know, please find out how to do it so that I can tell other AR-ers how. I told him to bloody well join and figure it out for himself, but I'm not sure that was terribly well taken. Please advise.  I'm telling Sher - I need AR for Dummies!

Posted by Juliet Johnson, Jacksonville Photography & Digital Marketing (Vizzitopia) over 12 years ago
Sheron - I'm wearing the hat.... and we were legal I swear.....  ;)
Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 12 years ago

Juliet - for the widget, just copy the code, and you know where you wrote your ditty in your profile that shows up under your picture? Just go there and after the last word and period in the window where you typed your profile, click paste. That should do it. The you want to save it.

Karen - you are too cute for words! 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

I remember the suggestion of taking a picture of a treasured item on "Mission Organization" and thought it was a great idea.  Believe it or not the treasured item was a very old vacuum cleaner.  I'm glad you brought it up again because my mother will be moving soon and has sooooo much stuff.  I will give her the idea of taking picture of all her treasures!!



Posted by Leanne Zumbrunnen (Showhomes of Kansas City) over 12 years ago

Sheron - i do this with the kids artwork.  I know moms that save every stick figure their kids have ever made.  I just snap a pic with the kid and the artwork.  No clutter and the best part is you can see how old the kid was and what they looked like when they made the work.

As for you missy - we could make a real estate show entitled Ode to 80's fashion with a guest appearance by Karen.   

Posted by Maureen Maureen over 12 years ago

Leanne - you mean someone thought of it before me??? Shoot, back to the think tank.

Maureen - that is a great idea for everyone, selling or not. You can add Photo Shoots to your services. Isn't Karen and her friend cutie patuties! 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
I have never thought of saving all my treasures that I can't part with, but really don't want, on digital -- what a great idea!  Just what I need -- another project.  ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Posted by Karen Dembsky, Atlanta Home Staging (Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA) over 12 years ago
Great idea!  Flash drive is a good idea too.
Posted by Dawn Selman-Schwieger, ASP, IAHSP, AARC, ids (Home Squad, LLC- Minnesota's Premier Home Staging Co.) over 12 years ago


Thanks for moving this concept from the "organizing side" of my brain to the "staging side" of the brain. I've used this technique when purging in an organization project, but hadn't yet crossed it over to helping families that are staging as I am usually so focused on getting it out of the room without offending the client. I was focused one language not skills!

I'll be coming back to read more about all the storage suggestions in the comments! 


Posted by JoAnn Eiman, Interior Solutions, Home Staging in O.C. (Interior Solutions by J.D. Eiman) over 12 years ago
Great ideas!  Pictures are a wonderful thing since it takes a small fraction of time and freezes it forever.  
Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) over 12 years ago
Digital has come a long way. I remember when Costco said the picture is instant and viola, there it was on the back of my card looking like a dot was awful.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Sheron, This idea of yours has helped more clients then I can tell you!  They can lighten up so fast and feel so much BETTER!   Everyone loves it.
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 12 years ago