The process of moving is one of the more stressful things a person can experience in their lifetime. Doing this with toddlers in your home may push you over the edge.
We are experiencing the craziness of listing our home, showings and open houses now. My boys, who are four and three, love all things boys…balls, cars, trucks, Legos, etc. They also love leaving these items all over our house, in every room, in every couch crevice. I knew I needed a major clean up to get this house in showcase condition. Here are a few tips to keep a picture perfect listing that I have found worked for our family.
Rent a storage unit.
I truly believe that all toddler boys end up with a Little Tykes plastic basketball hoop. Adorable, but not adorable in your fancy pictures that will be posted on every realtor site in town. A storage unit (which you can rent a 5×10 for well under $100 per month) is a great place to store items like this. We also put in our outdoor water tables/toy, picnic benches and any old or seasonal items not needed right now. Surprisingly, the boys don’t even miss the items that we put in storage.
Storage bins. Lot of storage bins.
It is amazing what you can cram under a full sized bed! I have found that wicker storage bins not only look cute under the bed or coffee table, they hold A LOT of cars and balls! My younger son is in a toddler bed, an under the bed shoe organizer was a perfect fit for his numerous stuffed animals, fire trucks and books.
Ask your kids for help.
I know, it sounds crazy, but toddlers are smart. They know when a change is on the horizon. My boys are excited to live at a house with a basketball hoop, so I work that angle every chance I get…”You want to move to the basketball house? Then please clean up your room!” It works!
Hide what you can!
Honestly, the thought of strangers walking through my home and analyzing every inch of my house gives me an uneasy feeling. Who are these people walking off the streets for our open houses? I have to assume the best in people, but you still need to hide your valuables or take them with you when you leave for a showing. I put my boys piggy banks in drawers then covered them with clothes. Another great aspect of this if there is a last minute showing, then you can easily throw toys into any drawer in the house. Organized? Not at all. But a clean floor? Absolutely. Plus it will be a fun game the next day when your kids ask you where their favorite toy went and you truly don’t remember.
Those pesky fingerprints…
We have a good amount of windows and glass panel doors that our boys love to put their grimy hands and messy faces on. Constantly. A big hand print on a clean glass door is a pet peeve of mine, but you have to let it slide until the last minute. If I cleaned every piece of glass with a handprint on it the second it happened, I would literally have Windex in my hand all day long. Right before we have a showing or open house, my husband will put the boys in the car and drive them around to play “I Spy” while I run around my house a million miles a minute cleaning windows and running the last minute vacuum. I call him when I am ready to be picked up, and I run to the car looking like a disheveled mess, but I was able to accomplish a lot without little toddler tornadoes following my every step.
In the end . . .
I wish I could say there was an easy solution that would help you keep your sanity during this process of selling your home, but there really isn’t. I am tired, cranky and my back is constantly hurting but coming home to a clean and tidy house is an amazing feeling. Knowing how much love and effort we have poured into our home makes me excited to see what family gets to make memories here next as we move on to start the next phase of our lives. Take a deep breath and pour yourself a glass of wine, the brief moment of craziness will be worth it in the long run.