Having a home open for potential buyers is a stressful experience, and more so with kids! Here’s what I learnt from my experience.
Preparing your home for sale is both an exciting and daunting experience. Once you’ve done all the renovations or improvements that may be needed, it’s then time to put it on the market and present it in the best possible light to buyers. This can be a testing experience even without kids, so you can imagine what it’s like when you have 3 under 6! Argh! Needless to say it’s not something I want to be doing again in a hurry.
The key thing about having the home open for sale while there are rugrats is to be super organised. I’m not claiming to be the most organised person in the world – far from it – but just taking a little time to organise and declutter during the home open phase of selling takes a little bit of the stress out. This is not to say there weren’t frantic midnight cleaning sessions, but by being a bit more organised there weren’t that many of these 😀
Only have the kids’ favourite toys out
In an ideal world our kids would only have a few toys that they love and are happy to play with day in and day out, but in reality: grandparents. They LOVE to shower the kids with toy after toy after toy. And while it stresses me out big time, I realise that this gifting comes from the heart. Having all the kids’ toys on display is an obvious sign of clutter, so I would suggest quietly removing any toys that they don’t play with anymore – or if they’re older, they can engage in the process and help re-gift their old toys to children in need. Any toys that they still like/remember but don’t play with every day can be packed up and stored away. Whatever toys that are left can then be quickly tidied and hidden for the open home.
While you’re at it… declutter, declutter, declutter
Let’s face it – having less stuff in general means less stuff to clean and put away. For example, the kids used to have 4 plates each (hai, grandparents!) and because they knew this, they would use a plate for eating an apple, for example, put that in the sink (if I was lucky… most of the time leave it on the table)… then half an hour later get another plate and eat something else! The same would go with cups – we’d end of with 6 cups at the end of the day! WTF. I got rid of most of the plates and cutlery so that they only had 2 plates each, 2 cups each, and 1 set of cutlery each. That way they either had to reuse, or ask to have it cleaned to be used again.
Follow a cleaning schedule
Man I wish I had started this earlier! A cleaning schedule means that rather than spending hours on the weekend slaving away cleaning the entire house, do some chores every day (eg clearing countertops, wiping down surfaces etc) and then focus on a room or task on different days of the week. For example, I followed the weekly cleaning schedule created by The Clean Mama and this helped so much in making sure the big tidy before the open home wasn’t as huge because some chores were already completed during the week. Once the house was sold I have to admit the cleaning schedule wasn’t adhered to as stringently, but I really want to get back into doing something like this once I’m in our new home. Another great cleaning schedule to check out is by The Organised Mum, but always make sure it works for you and your lifestyle!
Have a Japanese “genkan” (entrance)
While not strictly Japanese (it’s common throughout most of Asia), having a “genkan” or an entrance way where people can take off their shoes before entering the home is one of the easiest ways to keep the floors clean. We’ve actually been doing this for many years now, and while I wouldn’t profess to have the cleanest carpets, not having shoes in the house meant they couldn’t get much dirtier. We all know the treasures children can get on the bottoms of their shoes, so doing this ensures these stay in an area that can be easily cleaned rather than on thick pile carpet.
Discover parks you’ve never been to
A challenge for us was to make sure the kids didn’t mark the freshly painted walls, or tramp through the house with dirty feet… so this was an opportunity for us to discover parks and playgrounds that we didn’t normally go to. It meant getting extra energy out on the play equipment, getting fresh air and sunshine, and letting them run wild in an environment where I wasn’t worried about them wrecking the house while we had it open!
These are just some of the things that helped when we had the home open… a bottle of wine didn’t hurt either! What tips do you have to help prepare your home open for sale while you have young kids?