You’re ready to put your home on the market. It’s a bit of a juggling act to balance working and parenting, and when you add another complex logistical challenge into the mix, it’s a tad overwhelming. This checklist may help.
Clean… and then clean again
Hire a cleaning service to do that first deep clean. You’ll need to tackle the house from top to bottom and ceiling to floor, hitting every surface, nook and cranny that’s attracted apple juice, crayon wax, and worse. Follow up with regular, weekly dusting, mopping and vacuuming so all you need is a moment’s notice when your realtor’s ready to show your home.
Now is also the time to invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Running a vacuum is a quick, painless way to clean dirt, crumbs, pet hair, and other debris everyone drags in from outside. That said, you’ll want to get the job done right the first time, so if you’re working with an old, worn out machine, spend a minute to find a new, high-quality vacuum that fits your budget and needs.
Declutter the kids’ stuff
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a few of your kids’ favorite toys, but round up the toys scattered throughout the house and confine them to one spot that’s a designated toy area, like your kids’ bedrooms. Aim to keep toys out of the common living areas. Put larger toy items—like Batman’s cave or Barbie’s dream house—into storage until you’ve moved.
Help kids part with beloved items
There’s an interesting article on the psychology of stuff, and psychologists know that between ages two and four, children begin to understand ownership. By age six, they become quite attached to certain items. If your kiddos struggle to identify which possessions to part with, try these ideas.
Ask everyone which items they absolutely want to keep, and reassure them that you won’t toss them. Give choices about whether to keep this or that. Encourage them to decide which of their possessions to donate. Pack away toys a little at a time, and gradually weed out forgotten toys while keeping the ones your kids still play with. Show your kids that you’re also trying to figure out which of your things to keep, toss, or give away.
Declutter your stuff
Pare down your belongings and personal items to a bare minimum. Plan to spend several days sorting each room and identifying which items to keep, donate, or toss. Pack away as much as possible from the “keep” pile. Move any outdated, bulky furniture, decor, decorations, souvenirs, family photos, sports memorabilia, and collectibles into storage, too. Your goal is to create a simply-staged model house that invites prospective buyers to picture themselves living in the home.
Repaint to refresh
Alas, not all potential buyers will appreciate the finer points of a Spiderman-themed bedroom. Stick with neutral colors to appeal to a majority of buyers. And while those growth measurement lines hold fond memories, it’s time to say goodbye with a fresh coat of paint.
Cancel the carpets
Kids—and pets—are rough on carpets. You’ll get about five years of wear out of carpets before they start to show their age and begin to look a little shabby. It’s less expensive to replace carpet yourself, and neutral colors appeal to a wider audience. On the other hand, you might opt to feature your home’s wood floors if the hardwood’s in good shape. Take time to give floors some love with a good cleaning and conditioning to make them shine.
Stage your home for maximum effect
Your home needs to look its best when it’s time for open houses and showings. Entertain your children outside of the house on those days. But first, when an appointment nears, get all hands on deck to declutter, hide evidence of pets, move toys to their proper places, and do quick spot-cleanings. Add a vase or two of fresh flowers, open the blinds to let the light in, make the beds, spray some air freshener, put the toilet seats down, and head off with your kids until the appointment ends.
Humor—and a glass or two of wine—helps ease this stressful transition. Visit your new home or simply look at pictures of it when your current home is being shown, and invite your family to imagine the new adventures they’ll have once you’ve moved in.
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