After making the decision to sell our home, we learned (very quickly) what it would take to get our house into showing shape. A lot of work! We knew right away that we needed to do some yard work, deep clean the whole house, declutter, etc. What we didn't know, was how much work it would be to keep it in viewing condition for more than a day or two.
It was quite the chore to have the house spotless for the two weeks that it took to get an offer. It definitely complicated things that we have a three year old, 7 month old, mini Aussie, and two black cats. Needless to say, I had to sweep/mop every morning. I began each day cleaning, making our bed, and dusting our bedroom and bathroom. Then I would move on to Liam's room, and vacuum the whole upstairs (stairs included). Then I would barricade it from the kiddos and pets, so that they wouldn't cause me to re-clean.
As for the downstairs, we made our office/Liam's playroom into a no-go zone from the beginning. We cleaned it very well once, then stayed out of it. As soon as breakfast was over the kitchen/dinning room were cleaned top to bottom. Next came the downstairs bathroom and the living room. At this point, I had to make sure that Nolan was well-fed, changed, and contained to either the pack n' play or his bouncer, and Liam had also eaten, gotten dressed, recently emptied his bladder, and was entertained with a movie or show, so that I could sweep/mop.
Maizy and the cats were locked outside for the duration of the cleaning session, but when we were ready to leave for the day, I would go around and get Maizy through our gate, so that the house could stay pristine. The cats were not so lucky; they spent their days outside. To clarify something I mentioned above, I tried my hardest to be out of the home as much as possible while we were showing the house. The thought of having to get Maizy and the kids out, while leaving the house at it's best, all within the hour notice that we would get, made me panic. So we spent most of our time either at my mom's house visiting, or just out and about.
This was my life, everyday, for two weeks. I'm glad that it was summer break and I was home all day, because I don't know how I would have done it if I would have been working as well. Because Joe works so early (5:30-2:30), he was unable to help with keeping the house clean. He did as much as he could at night, but because we still live here and use our things every day, there were many chores he just couldn't help with.
Another complication was Maizy. She is a talkative puppy, so we didn't feel comfortable leaving her home when people came to take a look at the house. We were sure she would annoy them, which is not a good way to get people to feel comfortable in the house. Because I had her in tow, I couldn't go just anywhere. It had to be doggy friendly. I was hard!
I don't know how people do it long-term. Two weeks really isn't that long to have your house on the market, but it was the longest two weeks ever!
My tips for being ready to show your home, especially with kids and/or pets are:
- Keep it clean: Put dishes in dishwasher right away, do laundry as it comes, pick up after kids often, etc.
- Sweep/Mop/Vacuum daily
- Clean once in the morning, and then get out!
- Create/keep a cleaning schedule: we really cleaned the bathrooms every other day, cleaned the kitchen nightly, mowed the lawn once a week, watered the lawn nightly, etc.
- Attend to all kids' needs, then make sure they're entertained when you clean
- Brush the animals nightly
- Turn on Scentsy (or the like) air fresheners in the morning, then turn them off before you leave for the day
- Declutter/Lightly pack the things you don't use
- Pack away a good portion of toys (kids don't even miss them, and then there isn't as much for them to scatter throughout the house)
- Plan ahead- a place to go, your daily cleaning schedule, etc.
- Pack a bag for the kids/pets and leave them in the car (one less thing you have to remember in a rush)
I'm so glad that I worked so hard to keep the house at it's best, but I'm also so glad that this stage of the process is behind us (hopefully)!