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Prepping for Home Opens with the Kids

18 January 2013
Having small children or even teenagers roaming around while preparing your home for sale adds another level of complexity.

 

For many of my clients, the thought of preparing their home for sale with kids under their feet feels an insurmountable task.

Many ask how they can de-clutter with children around - and stay clean and organised for selling?

These tips should get you well on the way.

1.  Have a plan

 

Time is precious, so work effectively. Break the job down room by room, starting on your own space. Don't leave it to happen on its own. Like everything else in your life, it needs a regimen.

2.  Get the kids involved

 

Have them help to sift through your wardrobe, under the beds and book shelves.

Sure this may mean it takes you twice as long as it would if you were doing it on your own but it has the benefit of giving the kids some ownership of the moving process and not having to wait until they are in bed to start. You could make it a game if you're creative.

One exception to this rule is when you want to sift through, donate, trash and store some of the children's toys. This is often best done at night to save on any tears and arguments!

3.  Clean on the go

 

Get a spare washing basket and each night walk around the home collecting all the clutter that has accumulated as part of everyday living with children such as school shoes, school notes, left out toys, etc.

Before bedtime or before everyone leaves the house in the morning, work together to empty the basket. Doing this means you will always be ready for an impromptu home inspection. At worst you can throw the basket into the car with you when you leave before the inspection.

Make sure you keep kid related smells under control.

4.  Be clever

 

As much as possible, set the kids up for success.

Make sure that there are minimal toys, art and crafts available to make a mess with. Encourage the kids to put things away by making it easy for them. You can do this by making sure that everything in the home has a place it "belongs". 

Keep them occupied and off site during inspections. The perfect chance for a visit to a relative or friend.

5.  Choose wisely

 

When working on those final touches for your home, use child-friendly accessories and avoid things that are easily broken or that soil easily.

Shag rugs are fantastic as they wear really well and over the short-term, the difference between a cheap and more expensive version is not that obvious.

Due to the nature of the pile, daily marks and dirt rarely show up!

6.  Bag it up

 

Soft furnishings are a great way to dress up your home for sale. However as a mother of four I am well aware of the torture that my cushions, ottomans, towels and linen are exposed to on a daily basis! Within hours they can end up looking like they need refreshing.

Minimise the children's exposure to these items and hence their ability to damage them.

Get some bin liners from the supermarket and store all the “good” linen, cushions and towels in these in the corner of your bedroom.

On days of open inspections, lay out and position soft furnishings so that you won't need to wash or replace them during the sale campaign.

 

These six simple methods can really make a difference and help you overcome that seemingly insurmountable task of preparing your property for the market with children in tow. Make sure you talk to your kids throughout the selling process about what's happening. It can be confusing and distressing for adults, let along little ones. Bring them on the ride with you and they'll be less likely to act out because they're worried.

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