So, you did a deep clean of your entire house before the first buyer came to see it. You scrubbed and swept and even got on your hands and knees to wipe behind things that no one will ever see. Now comes the hard part: keeping it that way.
Anyone who has ever sold their house will tell you there is a big difference between “clean” and “show-ready clean.” A show-ready home is supposed to sparkle. And if you are looking to sell, your home might have to sparkle for several weeks or even months.
Don’t worry, here are a few simple ways to ensure your house is always show-ready without driving yourself too crazy.
Pare Down What You Don’t Need
It will be much easier to clean your house when it’s not full of a bunch of junk you don’t want anyway. If you haven’t used something in the past year, what are the chances you will use it next year? If you can’t stand to part with it, find a place to store it where buyers can’t see it.
Pro tip: Since you’re about to move soon anyway, try to get as much packing done as you can. Buyers will appreciate seeing a closet full of boxes more than a room full of clutter.
Clean Smarter, Not Harder
The easiest way to keep a house clean is to create a routine and stick to it. Split the week up into chunks and do small cleans every few days and a big clean just before the weekend. You can focus on 1 room for a few days or spend 5 minutes cleaning each room every day.
If you are struggling to keep the whole house sparkling, focus your energy on the kitchen and bathroom. These are the most important rooms to keep clean because buyers will consider any mess to be unhygienic. Remember, buyers are already anxious about being in a stranger’s house, and the whole point is to make them feel at home.
Pro tip: Make sure all the visible garbage cans have lids. Hiding your trash is one of the easiest ways to make your place look and smell cleaner.
Designate “Dirty Rooms” & “Clean Rooms”
The more space you need to clean, the longer it will take. So, don’t use a room unless you have to. Then, all it will take to make these “clean rooms” sparkle is a light dusting, sweeping, and maybe a quick wipe with a rag.
If you have more than one bathroom, designate one to be a “dirty room” that everyone uses. If you have kids, make them keep their toys in their room. Also, try to pack certain toys like Legos away for a while if you can. If you have pets, keep their dirty paws out of as many rooms as possible.
Pro Tip: Place bins or bags at the entrance of every “dirty room.” This way, if a buyer wants to see the place on short notice, you can gather up all the clutter in that room and store it away instantly.
Make Cleaning Fun
If Marry Poppins was able to make those English kids clean their room with a spoonful of sugar, why can’t you do the same? Go ahead, blast your happy music, and turn your cleaning routine into a dance routine. Keeping your house clean is only a chore if you make it that way.
You can trick a competitive partner into cleaning by making it seem like a game. See how quick you can clean a room, then challenge them to beat that record. Or start the first annual “cleaning Olympics,” with special prizes for the winners.
Pro Tip: You might not need to give your kids much of an incentive to help out. Often times you can get your kids to clean up after themselves just by making them feel needed and appreciated for their efforts.
Stay Somewhere Else
When all else fails, and you need a break, you can always pack your bags and stay somewhere else. You can take a real vacation and get some much-needed relaxation, or you can book a night at a local hotel where you don’t have to clean up after yourself for a little while.
In the end, you’re probably not going to have your house as clean as you expect, but the longer you can get the buyer to focus on the space and not your mess, the quicker you can make the sale.