6 Secrets to Keep Your Home Spotless for Showings

6 Secrets to Keep Your Home Spotless for Showings

  • 12/30/18
Keeping your home immaculately clean while it’s on the market is exhausting. Sure, you can hire help, ask your housekeeper to go the extra mile, or run through the house like your hair’s on fire as soon as you get word a prospective buyer is coming – but you don’t have to go to all that trouble if you use these six secrets to a spotless home for showings.

6 Secrets to Keep Your Home Spotless for Showings

Nobody – seriously, nobody – can keep a home clean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But people whose homes always look tidy have six secrets that most of us don’t even know about:

  • They know how to make space
  • They keep surfaces clear
  • They use systems to clean
  • They clean as they go
  • They have a place for everything
  • They know how to delegate tasks
The good news: You can do all this, too, in order to make it easier to pick up before a showing.

Spotless Home for Showing - 1

Spotless Home Secret #1:  Make Space

Nobody’s saying that you have to stop collecting the stuff you love – but you do need to pause while your home is on the market. And the stuff you already have? Pack it away and put it in storage to unpack when you move into your new home. The fewer belongings you have in your home, the easier it will be to clean, and the better it’ll look during showings. A good rule of thumb: Don’t keep anything in your home that you haven’t used in the past 6 months.

Decluttering is tremendously beneficial, too. When you get rid of items you don't need or no longer use, you can almost feel a weight lifting. You don't have to throw things out; you can donate, sell or hang on to them for later.

Clean Surfaces - 2

Spotless Home Secret #2: Keep Surfaces Clear

It’s easy to put the mail on the counter, leave your keys on the kitchen table or scatter a bit of a mess on the coffee table. It’s not so easy to look at, though. Be conscious of what you use the surfaces in your home for, and remember that a clear surface not only looks better, but it’s easier to wipe down in a few seconds when your agent calls you to tell you that prospective buyers are coming in hot. Get pegs for your keys, baskets for loose items and organizers for drawers. If all else fails, you can also put together a "Go Basket," which you can use to whisk away items that you don't have time to put away before prospective buyers arrive. Take the basket with you when you leave for a showing, and when you come home, put everything in its proper place.

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Use a System

Spotless Home Secret #3: Use a System to Clean

Houses don’t clean themselves (not usually, anyway, although it’s been done before), but you can set a system in place that makes it almost feel that way. People who successfully keep neat homes often have a cleaning schedule and set up routines so things like laundry, dust and dirt don’t have a lot of time to pile up.

Maybe you sweep every evening after dinner, have your family do the dishes before school or dust as you're settling in for the night. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it works for you (and works around your schedule). The point is setting up a system that you can live with so you won't feel like you're cleaning all the time.

Clean as You Go

Spotless Home Secret #4: Clean as You Go

When you visit someone’s home and it’s clean every time, it’s not necessarily because they spend hours scouring and scrubbing. It’s because they clean as they go – and it’s the little stuff that counts. Wiping down countertops after cooking, putting dishes directly in the dishwasher and folding laundry as they take it out of the dryer is one secret that a lot of neatniks really cash in on. You don't have to deep-clean as you go, but picking up after yourself - and insisting that others do the same - will save you a ton of work when it really counts. And experts say that teaching kids to clean up as they go helps them long into adulthood (and saves them from a frustrated spouse or significant other having to pick up after them, too).

Place for Everything

Spotless Home Secret #5: Have a Place for Everything

Everything in your home needs its own home – that way, it doesn’t end up cluttering countertops or residing in piles that make your house tough to clean in a pinch. Put up pegs for your keys, a shelf for your mail and a drawer organizer for your “junk,” and use them all!

Don't sweat it too much if you don't have a place for everything right now, though, especially if you're moving into a bigger home once you sell this one. You can pack away things that don't have a place for later; when you get to your new house, you can decide whether to keep, sell, donate or trash items that just aren't a good fit. Just make sure you label your box of misfit items properly - that way, you'll know what you're getting into when you open it.

Delegate Tasks

Spotless Home Secret #6: Delegate Tasks

You don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of keeping the house clean. If you live with others, you can delegate tasks by assigning weekly chores. And if that doesn’t work out as well as you’d planned, you can still hire help. Look at it this way: The three hours of deep-cleaning you do each week could be time better-spent with your family, working or doing other things – and if it’s in the budget, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to help you keep your home tidy.

It's a team effort with a team reward, so don't be afraid to insist that other people who live in the same house pitch in and lend you a hand.

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