Keeping a house clean, neat, and ready for showing at a moment’s notice can be one of the most frustrating issues families face when selling their home.
Following a few simple rules and using some quick tricks will make your life easier during this challenging and often stressful process.
Being Prepared Is Key
The simplest way to present a sparkling clean house while living in it is to organize it well and keep surfaces free of clutter and personal items like toiletries. This creates an environment where dusting and wiping down surfaces will be quick and easy. You want to make sure your home looks as much like a model home as possible by packing or storing your personal belongings where they can’t be seen.
In the bathrooms, keep your fancy guest towels hung up on the towel bars, but instruct family members not to use them. Offer a small weekly reward to the users who keep the towels in their bathroom looking most pristine. Used towels that are damp should go directly into the washing machine, where it will be the responsibility of an adult to launder them daily.
Preventing Project Chaos
A hard and fast rule regarding large or messy projects for school, church, or recreational activities should be implemented during the listing period.
Before the project starts, a space needs to be cleared out, whether under a bed or in a dresser, closet, or cabinet, where the project can be quickly stashed neatly in the event of a phone call from the listing agent.
Avoid Pet-Related Headaches
When pets are involved, it’s best to take a preemptive approach to be best prepared for a last-minute showing. Any messes and pet hair need to be cleaned up immediately, and picking up the yard or litter box should become a twice-daily habit.
The Fire Drill
Make a game of getting the house ready as swiftly as possible by creating a fire drill scenario once you receive that phone call. Get everyone involved, and you can even do test runs. Make a checklist for each member of the family to complete during a drill. Set a timer and award a prize to the person who gets their assigned tasks done first.
Put kids in charge of getting their bedrooms and bathrooms in order, stowing toys and projects, and making sure that toilet lids are down. Even the youngest kids can be given an easy task or two, if just to keep them busy and out of the way during the drill. Keep moistened cleaning wipes in bathrooms to make wiping down surfaces, mirrors, and fixtures a cinch.
Making beds is something that should be done in the mornings and is easiest to remember if it’s done before exiting the bedroom, leaving one less thing to do during a fire drill. Adults can assign themselves the kitchen and main living areas to ensure these critical rooms are utterly spotless before the showing.
If you’re using scents to help sell your home, run a few pieces of lemon or orange through the garbage disposal to make the kitchen smell clean and fresh. Be sure to take the trash out with you when you leave the house and quickly mist the can with a disinfectant spray to prevent any refuse-related odors. Finally, doing a thorough deep cleaning each weekend will go a long way toward having a sparkling and fresh-smelling house all week.
By assigning responsibilities to each family member and holding them accountable, you’ll find that everyone is more motivated to keep their spaces clean. Offering small rewards can motivate everyone to help make the sales process part of a smooth transition to a new home.