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20 Minute Time Saving Tips to Get Your House Ready for Showing!

how to get a houseOnce your house is show-ready – it needs to be kept in pristine condition. This may seem like a daunting task – I have provided some tips below. You can also check out my blog on “6 Simple Steps to Declutter Your Home before Selling”. Part of the challenge with keeping the house clean is access to the cleaning products; to make the process easier we suggest you keep double supplies in a variety of areas throughout the house (suggestions are at the end); you don’t have to do all the tasks at once – use odd minutes to do a task – waiting for the kids to leave the house, talking on the phone –use a mobile so you can dust as well.

Just remember short-term pain = long-term gain. The way you live in your home is different than the way we need to market and sell your house. Keep a positive frame of mind – the work you do now will secure the equity in your house + help you move on with your lives.


  • Open all drapes, blinds.
  • Turn on all side lights –agents will turn main ones on
  • Make sure all beds are made
  • Garbage emptied in kitchen, bedrooms and baths
  • If you have a good sound system – play music –ask your stager for suggested styles of music.
  • Pick up and put away clutter.
  • If you haven’t arranged for your pets to visit a relative or day care, you will need to crate them, away from the main showing areas.
  • Shake the front welcome mat and sweep any dust, debris, spider webs, etc.
  • Clean the bathrooms, check that toilet seat lids are down
  • Fresh flowers are fabulous – only if you keep them looking great. Same with fresh fruit – check for wilting and bruising.
  • GREAT flower areas: Foyer, master bath, powder room, & kitchen


Always start with the sink. – keep it empty and shiny.
A sparkling sink sets the tone for the house – a benchmark for hygiene and tidiness.


  • Wipe the sink after doing dishes
  • Wipe down the stove top
  • Clean the counters
  • Sweep the floors (or swiffer)
  • Mop the floor if possible every day or two


  • Wipe the switch plates and phone
  • Wipe the inside of the garbage can – keep a spare roll of garbage bags to save time


  • Empty and clean the refrigerator
  • Empty and clean the cupboards
  • Clean stove
  • Use the shiny sink method to deep clean the sink
  1. Fill the sink with very hot water- add one cup of bleach
    2. Soak for an hour
    3. Drain and rinse thoroughly


  • Scrub with Ajax or baking soda
  • Rinse again – very well
  • Shine with Windex
  • Dry thoroughly


Cleaning the bathroom should take no longer than cleaning your teeth – if you keep it up every day.


  • Wipe out the sink
  • Wipe toilet seat, rim and lid
  • Swoosh toilet bowl with brush (either the throw away type or keep

a cup of bleach and water in the bowl of toilet brush)

  • Wipe mirror and faucets
  • Squeegee shower door
  • Spray entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist after every use.


  • Scrub the tub
  • Scrub the tiles
  • Mop the floor
  • Wipe switch plates, doorknobs, doorjambs
  • Empty and clean wastebasket


  • Do the shiny sink process on sink and tub
  • Empty, weed and clean the medicine cabinet
  • Launder the shower curtain as per directions
  • Best cloth for cleaning is microfiber – densely woven, it attracts dust like a magnet – holds it instead of moving it around

Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses!



  • Make the bed – it will inspire you
  • Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry
  • Straighten out the night table items
  • Dust all surfaces – include windowsills, tops of doors, remove all cobwebs.
  • Dust or mop floors – or vacuum every other day
  • Throw out old magazines
  • Wipe switch plates, doorknobs, doorjambs
  • Wipe and disinfect the telephone
  • Empty garbage
  • Vacuum the heating and air-conditioning vents and the inside of a closet


Wash the window frames


  • Keep pledge mitts or microfiber cloth in the night table so you can quickly dust bedside tables, headboard and dresser.
  • Use a blow dryer to remove dust from lampshades and drapes
  • Suggested handy aids to speed the cleaning process:
    • Pledge mits for dusting – keep stashed in every room so you can do at moment notice
    • Total duster – microfiber with extensions for dust and spider webs
    • Handheld vacuum
    • Clorox ready mop – kitchen and baths
    • Clorox disinfecting wipes for spot cleaning
    • Windex Glass and surface wipes
    • Squeegee for shower and tub area- last one out does the work
    • Soft scrub with bleach for tiles
    • Green alternatives for wipes, chemical free cleaners check
    • Stainless steel cleaner – a new olive oil based cleaner promises to reduce finger marks –
    • Quick way to disinfect kitchen items is to put them in the dishwasher
    • Burner grids and knobs
    • Brushes and combs, toothbrushes
    • Plastic utensil organizer
    • Refrigerator drawers
    • Drain catcher
    • Sponges, dish rack, plastic toys, dish wipes.


Start with the sofa; if it looks tidy it motivates you to keep going. If you pop in a CD you should be able to dust the whole room by the end of third track.


  • Zip around with the handheld vacuum for crumbs and dust bunnies
  • Fluff cushions and fold throws (try to get family to do this after use – saves a job)
  • Straighten any items on the coffee table
  • Wipe cabinets, doors – or fingerprints anywhere they are
  • Put away CD’s and videos
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Mop the floors – or vacuum with mini vacuum
  • Wipe and disinfect telephones


  • Vacuum the upholstery and heating vents
  • Wash insides of windows

SCREENS: If it is not the season for screens it is a great help to take them out and store them in the garage or basement – labeled. Windows will appear cleaner and sparkling without them.

FOYER: Most important area for setting a great first impression – inside and outside areas must be kept clear and clean.
80% of all dirt comes in through the entryways on people and pets’ feet. A great mat
to get to trap dirt outside is made from AstroTurf ( $8)

Keep outside and in entry free of clutter – shoes need to go in closet or covered basket. Same for dog-walking items – perhaps family can come in the back entry during the selling process to keep the work to a minimum.

© 2005, Certified Staging Professionals TM