To translate an old saying, when it comes to preparing your home for the market, an ounce of staging is worth a pound of regular old cleanup.

Forbes magazine says that homes that are staged sell for about 17 percent more, on average than non-staged homes—and much faster, to boot. That ought to tell you all you need to know about the value of investing in a little staging before potential buyers show up. Here are a couple of pointers:

Bare only the essentials. When it comes to presenting your home to buyers, art and science join to present a home that looks lived-in, cheerful and fantastically neat. That means more than cleaning up though. It means placing flowers, books and even throw pillows either centered or symmetrically on tabletops, shelves, countertops and furniture. And keep it simple—no clutter, everything in a certain place for a reason. It’s about visual simplicity and completeness. You want to create a mental picture of peace and harmony in every corner of your house—kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Make a path. Be a good guide and create a clear pathway through your home, even if people think they’re wandering about. You want furniture and even visual cues to guide people through your home in a way that feels natural and uncluttered. That way, they get through seeing what they want to see without ever feeling like they’ve intruded or had anything but a smooth journey through your house.

This and other staging tips can help you sell your home faster and for more!