Selling your home can be stressful. So can keeping your home clean. Add to that needing to keep your home “Show-Ready” and the figurative kettle is ready to blow its top. Here are 10 tips to help lighten the load and make keeping a show-ready clean home a little easier.
1. Before you list your home, do a deep “spring”cleaning.
Sort your items to keep, donate, sell, or trash. Find a home for anything that you are keeping. Items that don’t have homes, or designated places, tend to build up on counter-tops and look messy. If a yard sale isn’t your thing, you can still be paid to declutter by selling good condition clothes and items to consignment shops. When considering clutter, one of the largest issues a seller faces, remember that “Less is more”. Anything that is still in good condition, but not good enough to sell, can be donated to a local charity or thrift shops to find love in a new home. Some local organizations can even pickup larger items and you could receive a charitable contribution credit. Any other unwanted item should end up in the trash.
2. Invest in Mobile Storage.
For items that you need to keep but that don’t have a good place, invest in mobile storage such as plastic totes or carts on wheels. Find a designated closet or corner of the garage where these items can be tucked away when someone is touring your home. This gives an impression to potential buyers that you are an organized “well-kept”individual and suggests that you’ve done the same with your home.
3. Keep a Basket at the bottom of your stairs.
Anyone who has lived in a multi-story home knows that they are not going to put away every item after they are done using it if that involves going upstairs.Keep a laundry basket or some other large container at the bottoms of your stairs and train every person in your home to bring items upstairs with them while they are going up. If you have kids, get them involved too. If a little bribery is needed to get them to take up items that isn’t theirs, keep a roll of tickets in the basket and let kids earn 1 ticket per item they take upstairs and put away, letting them cash in these tickets for prizes or treats later. (This also works on adults.)
4. Clean as you go when cooking.
This is easiest to do when the sink is already empty, and your dishwasher is already collecting dirty dishes. Plan out your cooking before you get to the kitchen. Often, we are using more pots or pans or bowls than we need because we didn’t think about everything we needed to cook with before we started. If you clean and load your dishes in the dishwasher, or if you are old school and you have dried and put them away, there is less mess to clean up after the meal is ready.
5. Do the dishes after every meal.
I know it seems like we just covered that, but if you get a sudden phone call that a potential buyer wants to see your house, you don’t want to stop to cleanup cereal bowls or water glasses on your way out the door. Take an additional 30 seconds to wipe down the counters when done for crumbs, dust, etc.
6. Do Laundry every day.
It may seem like a little thing, but dirty clothes can build up and make an otherwise clean room look sloppy, and the associated odors can be even worse than the look of dirty laundry. At the end of the day collect all the dirty towels and clothes and toss them in the washer. Be sure to fold and put away the laundry too, we don’t want baskets of clean laundry sitting around either.
7. Spot Vacuum as you see dirt.
Vacuuming once a week is great for normal wear and tear, but to keep your home show ready, spot vacuum as you see dirt build up. This will also cut down on how long it takes you to do a big clean up later.
8. Do Quick Chores every day
Think about how long it actually takes to do certain chores and try to set aside time to do at least one 5-minute chore each day. Pick one room each day to do a quick dust or wipe down to keep dirt from building up until the weekend.
9. Do a final “sweep” at bedtime.
Before going to bed at night, take 10 minutes to walk around your home, picking up anything that has been left out, dishes, clothes, toys, etc. and return them to their correct place. This is also a good time to do a “sniff-test” for any displeasing odors. A bad smell can be just as big a deterrent to a buyer as a messy room.
10. Do a complete touch up at the end of the week.
At least once a week, do a full touch up of dusting every room and vacuuming the whole house. If you don’t have time for a full cleaning, focus on the kitchens and bathrooms, which are the rooms that get a lot of use and where dirt is most likely to be noticed by home buyers.