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Keeping Your Home Show-ready

It’s challenging enough to work, raise a family, cook meals and keep your home clean and straight, but it’s crucial that while you’re selling your home that it’s show-ready at a moment’s notice. You could get a call anytime that there’s a buyer or an agent for a buyer who wants to tour your home. 

Life is messy, and cleaning your home in time for an unexpected showing is never convenient, but you can cut down on the stress by getting everyone in the household on board.  Start good habits now so there’s less for everyone to do daily or in a hurry if you get a showing.  That’s not to say you can’t relax and enjoy being yourselves at home - just don’t let messes accumulate.  

Have a plan to present the best image for your home, especially if you can’t get back in time to do a little speed-cleaning before a showing. Make sure you have somewhere you can go and take the kids while your home is being toured. Board the pets or take them with you, maybe for a run in the park. 

1. Team “Sell The Home.” Selling your home is a team effort, so be a good delegator. Assign each family member a room to pick up besides their own bedrooms, maybe 10 or 15 minutes each evening before bedtime. Once they’re in their rooms, their job is to put their toys away, hang up their clothes, and pick anything up off the floor that doesn’t belong. In the morning, have everyone make their beds so you at least know their rooms are good to go. Once you get everyone in the habit of putting things back where they belong, you’ll be surprised how much easier life becomes. 

2. Reward the team. Keep a star chart of who gets a reward for doing their cleaning assignments well. Look over each room before going to bed, and as you kiss everyone goodnight, tell the kids how many stars they earned. Then put the stars on the chart for all to see. With their star earnings, they get to pick a treat such as a trip to get ice cream, a new game, or go to a movie or the water park on the weekend. 

3. Clean litter boxes daily. Pets contribute a lot of dirt and odors to homes, so make sure cat litter boxes are sifted daily. Dog beds can be washed weekly. Pick up debris in the back yard dog run daily. Don’t forget to give your dog frequent brushings to cut down on shedding and baths to make them smell nicer, too. 

4. Keep the kitchen and baths clean. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. Make sure countertops are clean and not sticky to the touch.  Not all foods can go into the garbage disposal, so take trash out frequently. If you have athletes in the house, teach them to wash their sports uniforms as soon as they come home. Don’t let laundry pile up, but wash towels and bedding more often. Keep a plastic housekeeper’s caddy loaded with toilet bowl cleaner, bleach wipes, paper towels and glass cleaner. Be ready to go for a five-minute once-over on counters, mirrors, etc. 

5. Create a fun “Last Minute Showing Drill.” Design a five-minute clean up drill similar to a fire or tornado drill.  Give each household member a basket. Blow a whistle to begin and then a quick pick-up drill becomes a fun race as they pick up what doesn’t belong in their assigned areas. Baskets can be stored under the bed until the showing is over, and then the contents can be put away.