Most staging advice involves deep cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing, but this can be challenging if you have littles and loads of their toys. If you are also looking to sell your house this spring, read on for ways to make the process more manageable with kids around.
Start organizing early
Having kids makes it nearly impossible to spend long, focused hours working on a consuming task like organizing. Instead, you find small windows of time to work on something here and there – so you have to start early on it if you want to get it done!
If you try to start organizing once you’ve decided you’re going to start looking at houses – which is a task that can literally take months – working on it an hour here and an hour there will really add up. Add this time to your calendar and block it out so you already know that this is your declutter time.
Pack away the messy toys and big eyesores
This is where you can really release your inner Marie Kondo and start boxing up the less played with toys and moving them to a storage unit or shed. When packing away toys, try to do it a little at a time so that it won’t be too upsetting to the kids.
Invest in nice storage solutions for the toys you are keeping around
Obviously, some of the toys have to stay though. Little Timmy WILL NOT stand for toyless rooms! The toys to keep around should be the clear favorites that your kids are actively playing with. Unfortunately, some of their favorite toys are are going to be the big eyesores or clutter-producers, so they’ll need nice storage bins to keep them contained.
Wicker baskets, cute fabric bins and wooden chests can be strategically stored throughout the house so that you can quickly tidy up clutter throughout the rooms before a showing.
Come up with mess-free meal ideas
Before the house is listed, have one big final prep day so that you can minimize the constant cycle of dirty dishes. Focus on preparing meals that can be baked or microwaved or put in the Instant Pot or slow cooker — basically, avoid the stovetops and the messy splatters that come with it at all costs! Pre-bagged salads also work during this process.
Make a list of free or cheap things to do out of the house
Once you get the house clean, try not to mess it up! It’s nearly impossible to hang around the house with kids and have it NOT get messy, so one of the best solutions is to try to be out and about as much as possible. Come up with a list of free or inexpensive things to do out of the house. Also, if any gift-giving holidays or birthdays are coming up, ask for experience gifts like a membership to a museum or gift cards to favorite restaurants.
Involve the kids in cleaning and organizing
Have them help with small and manageable cleaning tasks and organizing their toys. Not only does this help with the productivity factor – anyone can grab a Magic Eraser and scrub, no matter how old they are – but getting them involved in the process can help get them excited about the new house if they are feeling wary.
Tackle the projects you can
It’s okay to be realistic about what you can and cannot get to in terms of time, skill, and finances. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the advice you’ll receive about home staging. It can be intimidating to think about the amount of time it’s going to take and if it will even be something you can execute without a design background.
Breathe, and remember that you don’t need to do ALL of those things in order for your house to sell. Pick what you think will be most impactful and dedicate the time and money you have to that.