Keeping The House Clean to Sell
Perhaps the hardest task in preparing your house to sell is keeping the house clean once you have done all the decluttering and little fixes. Despite the fact that you are trying to sell your house, you still have a million other things to do, and your 'normal' life still goes on. If you have kids or pets, and many of you likely do, that makes it even harder.
There are two key times of the day that cause the most frustration; bedtime, and 'getting out the door in the morning'. These are the two times when everyone is rushed, and things are the most likely to be left lying around. Let's start with bedtime.
Evening Routines to Help with Keeping the House Clean
These routines can be used by everyone, at any time, but let's be honest. Most of us can't keep them up for long. (except for those few well-organized people, and we all wish we were you!) However, your house is for sale now, and it has to be done until you have a buyer's signature on the dotted line.
1. Always do the dishes and wipe down the counters. Simplify your cooking if that would help. If necessary - use paper plates to reduce the work.
2. Do not let anyone leave anything lying around. You will have to become the clutter police! Remind the family that this is only until the house is sold if they dare to complain. Your house belongs to the entire family, and everyone has a part to play in keeping the house clean.
3. If you find clutter accumulating, collect it in a basket. Family members can put them away at the first opportunity. A basket of stuff by the door or in a discrete corner looks better than the same items strewn across the house. If it's appropriate, these items can be made to 'disappear' for the duration as the price of laziness.
4. Pack lunches, school bags and briefcases in the evening to reduce the morning mess and stress.
5. Once all the children are in bed, do a quick 'walk-around' to take care of items that are out of place. Vacuum, and wet-mop the floors as needed.
6. Go to bed!
Morning Routines to Help with Keeping the House Clean
As you are going out the door in the morning is the absolute worst time to have to deal with messes, especially if you are not able to be home during the day! If only we could be sure that all our viewings would give us at least 24 hours notice. Unfortunately that's not the reality. Sometimes there is only 15 minutes warning - not nearly enough time to run home from the office. Here are a few strategies to help.
1. Encourage as many people as possible to have their baths or showers in the evening rather than in the morning. This will reduce the amount of morning bathroom pick-up. As a matter of fact, discourage baths and encourage showers if you can. Baths leave those tell-tale rings, and who wants to deal with those every day?
2. Keep breakfast simple,even if you are normally a 'hot breakfast' family. Make an exception. Stick to granola bars, fruit, cereal and toast. Have boiled eggs instead of fried. Eat cold sliced ham instead of cooked ham or bacon. Everyone who is old enough washes and puts away their own dish. Once breakfast is done, wash, dry and put away any remaiing items.
3. Deal with any toys and books your kids bring out in the morning. Have a spot ready to put them before they go out the door. Best if they can go 'away', of course, but if they can't, anywhere they can be neatly stacked will work. They can go away as soon as their owners get home from the day's activities.
4. As you leave, someone should do a quick walk-through of each floor of the house to do a quick pick-up or wipe-up as needed. Carry a damp cleaning cloth with you. Make sure you check the bathrooms.
If you keep up with your evening and morning routines, you should be able to stay sane enough to keep things together until the house is sold.
Keep reminding yourself that your home is your largest investment, and you are doing this to get the best possible return.
You will sell you home, and this pain and suffering will come to an end!