For St. Cloud homeowners who are simply coping with the challenges of daily living, keeping the place clean when your small kids are in the house is one of those “trying” situations. If a real estate showing is added to the mix, it can become something close to a sanity-testing situation—“trying” in the same way that brushing your teeth while eating peanut brittle would be “trying.”
For veterans of the real-estate-showing-while-parenting situation, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There is ample evidence that prepping your St. Cloud place with kids underfoot can be accomplished without the loss of parental sanity. This word comes from survivors who have lived to tell the tale—and sold their houses, too, no less!
Here are five key tips that are cited most frequently—
1. Involve ‘Em! This is the advice we also hear from psychologists commenting on housework in general. Rope the little ones into activity at a level that fits with their age level and attention span. Think ‘game,’ and you’re halfway there. Since there is no way you can stop kiddy messes from developing in the first place, create a “new normal” where the end of an activity is always cleaning up afterward.
2. Reduce Overwhelm. For little ones, help right-size a big job (like “let’s clean your room” into a series of doable ones (“let’s put the books away”). A corollary is to limit any tidying job so that it doesn’t last longer than max 15 minutes (this will work for you, too—once you’ve let go of the idea that every task has to be finished once it’s started).
3. Construct a Visual. Crafts are fun—so make a connection with cleaning. Tasks can be assigned via your own colorful chore wheel (a Wheel of Fortune with tasks), or a chore grab-bag. Be sure that after task completion comes a reward.
4. Everything has a Place. Learning where things go is only possible when there IS such a place. It’s good news that kids usually find that returning things to where they belong is sort of fun all by itself. When the job is done, point out how nice everything looks!
5. Schedule. Since real estate showings happen at unpredictable intervals, there will be much less to do if cleanups are part of the everyday schedule, anyway. For moms and dads whose goal is to avoid turning into The Hulk every time they want to prepare their St. Cloud home for a real estate showing, the central key is to involve the kids in a steady-as-she-goes, continuous low-key cleanup system.
Many post-sale adults report that the benefits turn out to be long-lasting. In addition to being able to put the house in top real estate showing trim, they establish ongoing juvenile involvement in household chores—one that travels well (right into their new house, in fact)! If you are going to be listing your St. Cloud home when small children are part of the equation, the upshot is that it can be turned into a decidedly positive educational experience.
Give me a call for other ideas about how to navigate these and other pre-sale waters when it’s your time to list!