Written by Kris Louis
You don’t have to choose between getting top dollar for your home and your children. With a few clever hacks, you can maintain a beautifully staged and immaculately clean house for showings and keep your kids happy.
If you’re a parent preparing to sell and are worrying about how you’ll manage it all, these staging and cleaning tips are for you!
Reduce, Reduce, Reduce
Reducing what’s in your house is the first rule of staging. It’s also the easiest way to make your home look organized. Instead of meticulously dusting and arranging home décor, pare it down to the bare minimum. The result? Rooms look twice as spacious and you spend a fraction of the time cleaning.
A minimally-decorated and -furnished house also gives buyers’ minds room to wander. Instead of feeling like a guest in your home, buyers can imagine the house as their own.
Start by reducing how much furniture is in each room, then declutter storage areas like the garage, bedroom closets, and kitchen cabinets and pantries. Resist the urge to hide clutter in storage areas, because if buyers look inside (and they will!) they’ll get the impression your house lacks storage space.
Protect the Big Stuff
The next challenge is keeping furniture and carpeting stain-free after professional cleaning. Rather than trying to change your family’s habits, focus on protecting the most mess-prone areas.
Barriers are the easiest way to keep surfaces clean. Lay throw blankets over couches, place machine-washable scatter rugs in high foot traffic areas, and use placemats under table settings. When it’s time for a showing, simply toss the covers in storage baskets.
Watch the Little Messes
It’s not only the catastrophic messes that make a clean home challenging to keep. It’s also all the little messes that make cleaning house with kids harder — the dirty finger smudges on walls and windows, toys lost under the couch, and food discarded around the house.
If you have young children, designate one or two play areas. That way, you know exactly where to focus your energy during clean-up. Choose an open area away from walls and windows if possible and take toys with high mess potential, like markers and Play-Doh, out of the picture.
Simplify Toy Storage
Selling your house isn’t the time to fret over your kids’ toy organization. It’s more important for toys to be easy to put away than well-organized.
Storage bins are your friend here. Whether you opt for fabric cubes, decorative baskets, or under-bed storage bins, the goal is to create toy storage that’s accessible yet hidden. That way, you can quickly tidy up play areas before showings, along with other last-minute tasks like taking out the trash and opening the curtains.
If there are too many toys to store neatly, cull your kids’ toy collection to a more manageable size. Start by gathering toys that are broken or no longer used for trash or donation, then get your kids’ help choosing which toys to put in storage until you’re settled in the new house.
Do Your Chores
The most important thing any homeowner can do to keep their house ready for showings is to prevent messes from accumulating. That means staying on top of chores like washing the dishes, cleaning the floors, and tidying clutter.
If you usually take a relaxed approach to housekeeping, become more regimented while your house is on the market. An easy strategy is using a chore chart or app for the household. Writing out what needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it keeps everyone accountable and ensures nothing gets missed.
Staging your home to sell doesn’t mean eliminating any sign that kids live there. After all, if you’re selling a family home, odds are your buyers will have little ones of their own! However, your kids’ toys or messes shouldn’t be a source of distraction for prospective buyers. With smart staging and cleaning strategies like these, you can create a home any family would be proud to call their own.
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