I just spoke with a client who is in the middle of touch ups, repairs, de-cluttering and a long list of “To Do’s” while we prepare his home for sale. While he and his wife both know this process is necessary in order to get maximum value for their home, living in a home staged for sale can be intimidating, especially when you have kids to consider.
From a buyers point of view, a home that is lived in has a whole different feel than a vacant home. Even if the vacant home is fully staged and furnished, the animate quality of the home is entirely different. While the vacant home will stay beautiful, it is stagnate while the lived-in home has movement.
This movement is natural, and to minimizing your stress during the time your home is on the market, the following ideas can help ease the strain on your family.
1. When it comes to bathrooms, if you have small children, delegate just one or two bathrooms for use. This way you’ll minimize the areas that need to be kept clean. Keep a storage bin under the cabinets with Clorox Wipes, Windex Wipes, and Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Also, keep a stack of your folded decorative towels nearby. When everyone’s washed in the morning, take the bin out and go over the surfaces, mirrors, and toilet. Throw used towels in laundry, and quickly hang the decorative towels over towel bar. For older children, teach them to take out the bin for a quick clean-up in their bathroom each morning.
2. The kitchen is always the busiest, and messiest room in the house. Do the same as in the bathrooms and keep a storage bin close at hand with cleaning wipes and dishwasher soap. It will also be helpful during this time to stock up on paper plates and cups. This will minimize the dishes that need to be cleaned. After dinner, and after breakfast is eaten, just throw paper items away, and do a quick counter and table wipe up. Leave appliances used daily out, just quickly wipe them down. Throw any dishes that need to be washed in the dishwasher.
3. For the living areas and outside, in the evenings pick up toys and stash them away. Give the kids a box to gather everything at once, and put away. With little kids make it a game and set the timer. (This works with the big kids too.)
4. For the beds, tuck the kids in at night in a tidy bed with the sheets and comforter made. Teach them (and yourself) to scoot in from the top like a sleeping bag. When they get up in the morning all it takes in a quick pull up of the comforter and pillows placed. (Once you try it, you may be keeping this idea for good!)
Don’t worry about clothes in the dryer, just make sure laundry is not out to be folded. And don’t agonize as your driving away that there might be a fingerprint on the sliding glass door, or a shower door left open. These are things that will not hinder the sale of your home. It’s the big “picture” of open, spacious, clean and livable that makes all the difference.