Selling a home is always stressful, but keeping your house show-ready during a Utah winter can ratchet that stress up to the point that you may consider throwing in the towel. Before you resign yourself (and your home) to hibernating until spring, use these quick, cleaning hacks to keep your home sparkling during the darkest days of winter.
- Clear the Way
The last thing you want is a prospective buyer slipping on an icy walkway. Take meticulous care of pathways and stairs—shoveling regularly, scraping ice, and adding ice melt, salt, or sand to prevent icing overnight. Include all paths a potential buyer may take, such as walkways to sheds, garages, or other outside points of interest. Be sure to keep the driveway clear, along with any on-street parking spaces where buyers may need to park.
- Provide an Open Welcome
Don’t crowd your entryway with piles of mucked-up boots and discarded gloves, scarves, hats, and coats. Whether it’s the front entry or the mudroom, make sure it’s organized. Add attractive bins for winter-worthy protective gear and hooks for coats and hats. Get everyone into the habit of taking off wet boots outside, and add a locker for wet boots outside the door to keep them from cluttering the doorway. If your hooks become crowded, leave the most attractive items for display, and find another closet to store everything else.
- Hide Helpers Nearby
When you only have an hour’s notice before a showing, you need to make the most of every second. Keep cleaning tools like Swiffer sweepers and dusters in hallway closets and console drawers. You’ll avoid a frazzled dash for cleaning supplies and get last-minute tidying-up finished in record time. If you have little ones at home, designate decorative chests for leftover toys, blankets, and the odd bottle or sippy cup,
- Make the Kitchen Sparkle
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for potential buyers, so you want to make a good first impression. Clear the counters of extra appliances (like toasters) that aren’t used everyday. Unload the dishwasher after every cycle so you can immediately start reloading. Wipe down the counters, and use fingerprint-resistant polish on the fridge, oven, and dishwasher. Add a bright bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of winter blooms to brighten the space.
- Brighten the Bathroom
If you have multiple bathrooms, try to limit regular use to just one while your home is on the market. This gives you less last-minute cleaning to attend to. Put toiletries and other items in baskets under the sink to keep counters clear. Stash some polishing wipes for quick wipe-downs of faucets and other fixtures. Create a spa-like atmosphere with rolled up towels arranged in a basket and neatly-folded white towels draped over the rack.
- Get Rid of Garbage
We all know that life comes with garbage, but no one wants to be reminded of that while looking for their dream house. Make sure any exposed waste containers have a lid. If you can’t give up the adorable wastebasket in the guest bathroom, use a grocery bag to catch any hairballs or used tissues, and simply remove it when you get the call that buyers are on their way. Regularly wipe down all trash cans to keep any tell-tale signs of life’s messes out of sight.
- Set Up an Emergency Escape Hatch
Because it’s nearly impossible to live in a house without it looking “lived-in,” give yourself an escape plan. Designate a suitcase or bin where you can stow clutter at a minute’s notice. Clear out the trunk of your car, so that when your emergency plan goes into action, you have an easy place to hide the evidence.
There’s no ideal time to sell your home, but winter weather doesn’t need to get in the way of your plans. With a little planning, you can make your home picture-perfect all winter long—no matter what curveballs Mother Nature throws your way.