Anytime I hear someone mention listing their home for sale, I hear the same thing. “Groan… I have to keep the house clean!”. Everyone that we have told our house is for sale says the same exact thing to us…”man! how are you going to keep it clean with all those kids?”. Once again, we only have three kids.. not 15.
I have never been called a neat freak in my entire life. In fact, my dad used to lovingly refer to my car as the rolling trashcan. I was really dreading keeping our house clean but with a few simple steps, I’ve been able to keep it spotless and ready for showings. Someone please go check on my dad… I think he might have just fell out of his chair after reading that.
So what have I learned so far in getting our house ready to sell and prepared for showings?
1. declutter… declutter.. declutter. I know you’re heard this before but it’s true. Take out all the little things. Anything smaller than a basketball should be removed. If you love it and can’t live without it, pack it up and place it in a safe place. However if you have no feelings towards it or can live without it, now would be a good time to go ahead and donate it to a thrift store. The less small things you have, the less chance for a mess and the less small things you have to step on in the middle of the night.
2. Downsize the Toys. I know that some of you don’t have kids but I know that most men do have a few toys tucked around. It’s time to hide those. Tell them that batman called and he wants his car back. All our kids toys are stored in Rubbermaid totes that stack in their closet. We had a talk with our children about what they would want in a new house. After they were very excited about the new house we talked about how we need to keep the house really clean in order to get to that new house. Finally we talked about how they could help us with this by putting up some toys for awhile until we sell the house. We stacked all the tubs in the closet with a “do not touch” order in place. We did leave them one small tub of toys and one basket of Barbie’s. Now it’s simple to put up and can be done very quickly. If I need to clean the room quickly, I can. I also left one small empty basket that I occasionally toss toys into until I have time to go back and find their home. This works great for when you only have thirty minutes until a showing and your kids room looks like a tornado of Barbie heads, and only the heads.
3. Before you leave your room for the first time in the morning make sure that you are fully dressed and your bed is made. Many stay at home moms hang out all day in pajamas, myself included. However the one morning you choose to do this might be the one morning that you only have thirty minutes until a showing. Pajamas and stained college T Shirts might work for the Walmarts but it’s not good for your realtor. Trust me, mine showed up with no warning this week. Pick up your room before you leave your room and it’s one last room you have to clean that day.
4. Take extra time throughout the day to pick up after yourself and kids. It seems like something your grandma told you many times growing up but as we get comfortable in our homes, we don’t always do it. Be more aware of the little things you put to the side and say, “I’ll do it later”. Pick it up and put it up right away. Then if you need to leave for a showing, you’ll have time to wipe down the counters and sweep the floors. This can be hard when you have toddlers that do the “walk and drop” method of play (like mine) but take a few minutes every 30 minutes or so to pick up and you’ll be fine.
5. Finally, if you have too… hide it. This week when I had only thirty minutes to leave before a showing I knew that my dishwasher was full of dirty dishes but I had more in the sink and nothing to do with them. So I just stacked them on top of the ones in the dishwasher. I know there’s a chance someone might check out the dishwasher since it’s staying with the house but I’d rather them possibly look at my crazy packed dishwasher than to definitely see my sink full of dirty dishes. Other great hiding places include the dryer, under the sinks, and backs of closets. If you got it, hide it.
Keeping your home ready to sell at all times isn’t impossible, even with kids. It’s very possible if you keep your goal in sight. A clean and organized house gets your home sold and into a new one in no time.