SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Friday, April 20, 2012

House for Sale - Keeping Order with Young Children At Home | Family Economics

By Erin

For the past few months, we have been getting our home ready to sell so that we can move back to Texas. It has been a lengthy process that I have thought long and hard about … how in the world am I going to keep our home clean, tidy and “show ready” with three little tornados running around?

These tornados are my three young sons. They love to play hard and make big messes. Thankfully, they enjoy helping to clean up too.

moving boxBut what about when the realtor calls and someone wants to see the house in an hour and it looks like a hurricane just hit the den? You can’t say no, we’re not ready because these potential buyers could be “the ones.”

After some trial before our home was on the market and while it has been on the market, I’ve learned a few things about how to keep your home “show ready” with little ones running around.

1. De-Clutter. Spend an hour in each room and closet in your house deciding what can be packed up for the move, what can be sold and what can be donated. Also, take inventory of the larger pieces of furniture in the room and see if you can remove one piece of furniture to store before you move or sell if you don’t see a future need for it. One less piece of furniture is one less thing that has to be cleaned, dusted or kept free from additional clutter.

2. Stage. Read through a book about staging your home so that others looking at your home can see their belongings in the space and not yours. Staging requires decluttering and removing of all personal items and photos. Once your home is de-cluttered and staged, you’ll find that there is much less to clean up and fewer piles to keep up with.

3. Ask for college fund contributions and fewer toys. If you have special occasions (birthdays, holidays) while your home is on the market, ask doting grandparents, aunts and uncles for contributions to education or vacation funds, rather than piles and piles of toys.

4. Morning clean-up, evening clean-up. Set aside time in the morning and evening to do light dusting, vacuuming, as well as put things away where they belong. Start the dishwasher and the laundry, doing a load each day so it doesn’t pile up. This way, when someone wants to see the house in an hour, you don’t have to go crazy loading your car with eight laundry baskets of dirty clothes, or spend time scrubbing the bathroom floors.

5. Laundry Basket Trick & Assign “Out the Door Tasks” – Someone wants to see the house in an hour but Hurricane Ryan just blew through. That’s OK. Make it a game and have the kids put all the toys that are “out” into laundry baskets and take the baskets with you when you leave for the showing. Older children can help with sweeping, turning on lights and younger kids can close toilet lids, do last minute dusting, and help pull loaded laundry baskets to the car as you are all rushing out the door.

What other tips do you have for keeping your home clean and tidy while it’s on the market? What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome when selling your home?

1 Comment so far

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On Friday, April 27, 2012, Amy wrote

I love the laundry basket trick, Erin! We have sold houses 3 times with small children, and we have actually rented a storage unit and packed up 1/3 of our things, so that our home and closets look very tidy! Also with less toys in the house, it doesn't get messy as easily.


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