It’s difficult to maintain a clean house throguhout all of the chaos of having children running around and if you lack a consistent approach to cleaning. Things become even more difficult when you’re trying to prepare your home for rent or sale. If you take a piecemeal approach to cleaning, you can be assured of having to revisit the same areas of the house again and again, every time the realtor wants to drop by with a new prospective homeowner. You can avoid that state of affairs with a few common cleaning and staging strategies.
A clean sweep
Do a deep and thorough cleaning before you begin showing potential buyers around. Your goal should be to simply pick up and straighten before showings, not to shampoo the carpet and deodorize the entire house each time you have visitors. You want the place to be as show-ready as possible on short notice. If your schedule is jam-packed, consider bringing in a maid or housekeeping service, which can help you keep your house clean and tidy from top to bottom. The average national cost for hiring a maid service is $165.
Everything in its place
It’s a given that kids will leave trails of toys, shoes, jackets, school papers, backpacks and more from day to day. Use bins and baskets to keep the kids’ stuff organized and out of the way. Make it a condition for them to place all objects in their proper place before going out to play or turning on the video games. If you have a predetermined place for each toy, book and personal item, it’ll be easier for the kids to clean quickly and efficiently. Label each storage bin to make it easy, or organize based on the color of each one (e.g., red for books, green for stuffed animals).
Of course, it’s easier to keep everything in its place when you’ve eliminated as much clutter as you can. Our homes are packed with things we once thought we just had to have. As you look around and assess the mess, you probably feel differently now, wondering where it all came from. Decluttering is an essential first step when staging a home for sale. Purge yourself of all the excess toys the kids don’t play with anymore. Put your seasonal clothes and holiday decorations into storage while the house is on the market (the average cost of a 10’x20’ unit is $100). You’ll probably be surprised at how much can be eliminated, and delighted at how much easier it’ll be to keep the place in good condition.
Restrict play space
Consider restricting your children’s play space to a single room to prevent a cluttered mess from radiating throughout the house every day. Restricting play space to a single room may be hard to get used to, but the kids should like not having to patrol the entire house every day. Few rooms take as long to clean and keep spotless as a bathroom, so consider restricting the family to just one bathroom for the same reason until the house sells.
Prepare your house to sell in ways that will make it as easy as possible to keep clean. Eliminate clutter, and organize the kids’ rooms and belongings so tidying up doesn’t take long. It’ll pay off on those days when you’re rushing home from work to get ready for a last-minute showing.