The last three weeks trying to sell this house have been an absolute tornado of business! My homeschooling has been all but shelved for the time being and packing came to a halt while showing the house. I wasn't quite expecting the heavy turn out, since it's been just sitting on the market for the past couple of months. But, tax season approached and with it a stampede of showings!!!
If I would've known months ago that tax season brought buyers, I might've waited to start showing the house. In the two weeks previous to our current offer, I showed the house at least every other day, and a few days, twice! It was like running a museum while trying to live there. But, along the way I learned some "tricks of the trade".
Tricks to Showing Your House:
Choose your least desirable room to stash your packing mess--but still keep it as neat as possible. Ideally, you'll be finished with the majority of your packing before you start showing your home, but there's always something still to pack.
Move all of your heavy-mess chores and family activities to your low-yield showing days. Do any packing on those days, too. Mine were home-schooling (big-time mess), laundry, de-cluttering, and multi-pot meals. Your life can't stop happening while you show your home, but your focus does change. You may just love to cook Chicken Parmesan, but a skillet with grease leaves the room smelling of strong fried food and day old tomato leaves a not-so-pleasant aroma that contradicts your Mulberry Yankee candle. Save those meals for the night before a low-yield day, such as Monday or Tuesday were for me. However, baking cookies or home-made pancakes leaves a more pleasant smell and can be used to greater advantage on high-yield days. Same goes for activities and chores. Cleaning out the closet or laundry room cupboards needs to be saved for days you're far less likely to have drop-ins, where big chores with low mess, like dusting or mopping can be done on days that you may have to quickly stop and hop in the mini-van.
Packing, at this stage, should be well contained and tidy. Only do one open box at a time and seal each one as it's finished. Stack them neatly and not in high-traffic areas that will block the flow of your home (like hallways). Each night that you have move than one box packed, go ahead and move them to the garage or other out of the way storage area. Boxes can really take up space and make the biggest of rooms and houses look smaller! Slow and tidy will still make progress.
Get your time-consuming jobs and the kitchen finished first thing every morning. These include dishes, laundry, kid's bedrooms, and any other high-traffic areas. Have your home an hour away from perfection as soon as possible after breakfast. Nothing at all should be done until these are out of the way--not even school. Then, work on little things through the day that can chip away at the rush once someone calls. Clean all the toilets, or sweep every floor, maybe make the beds extra neat or shine your kitchen sink. Little pieces of perfection add up fast.
Invest in some popular candles and get the same scent for multiple places in your home. Light them at least every other day to allow the scent to really soak in. Think high-class smells. What do you smell in the model homes? Vanilla? No! Cookies? No. Most of them are Mulberry or Cranberry type smells. Or, if your home smells older and musty, you might choose a laundry or lavender smell to cause it to smell fresh instead of old. But, whatever you do, stay consistent throughout most of your house. You don't want to walk through your rooms and smell vanilla in the guest room and mulberry in the living room and lavender in the master bedroom. Smells are important and you don't want to leave a confused feeling. Consistency is peaceful and that's a really good thing. If you really need to save money, there's a really easy trick. Orange peel in a bath of water on the stove with some whole cloves and cinnamon smell wonderful!! Just keep it full of water and don't ever leave it going without you there.
Live in as few rooms as possible!! Leave vacuuming and full room tidies until you're ready for those rooms to be "closed". After you're dressed and ready, for instance, you can make your bed and perfect your room and then vacuum it. Close the door on your way out and don't go back in unless you have to. By about noon, we tried to have all the bedrooms and all but one bathroom closed for use. We lived mainly in the living room and kitchen. Then, when the call came in, all I would have to do is walk from room to room turning on all the lights, opening all doors and blinds, and double checking for forgotten items. Then the living room could be cleaned up in ten minutes, the kitchen checked and candles lit, and we could leave in about 30 minutes notice. In the evening, all rooms were "opened" for use, but a daily clean-up quickly put it back in shape.
Accept for the time being that your job is house-keeper. I know--it stinks--but that's life.
Don't assume that they won't look into your closet and pantry doors and peek into your fridge if it's staying or not. People are really curious! Don't make these your top priority, but don't forget them either.