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Realtors know from experience that a cluttered, messy, slightly shabby house is tough to sell. Signs of neglect send a message that the house might not be in stellar condition, and will scare off prospective buyers who can’t see beyond the clutter and the overgrown shrubs. For this reason, Realtors often come prepared with a list of Things to Do to make your home more salable.

While there’s plenty of sound advice for sprucing up a property with a professional carpet shampoo and house cleaning, fresh paint and some minor maintenance, keeping the property clean while it’s on the market is also important. Without hiring a maid service to come in once a week, how does one keep a house clean during the listing period?

We are a country of collectors. We have junk cluttering up closets and cabinets, furniture jammed in every corner, toys lining the floors of kid’s bedrooms, and shelves stuffed to the gills with stuff. Simplify your life while the house is on the market, and put half that stuff in storage.

Getting the non essentials out of your house will make what’s left so much easier to clean and will make your home much bigger than it really is. A prospective buyer will ooh and aah at the spacious garage, closets, and storage space and wide, open passageways throughout the house. Best of all, when the house finally does sell, packing up the rest of your belongings will be a snap.

Clean bathrooms are a must. Get in the habit of hanging up towels and dumping dirty clothes in the hamper. Invest in some cheap plastic baskets to contain cosmetics and other counter top toiletries, which should be stored beneath the sink. In between Saturday cleanings, wipe down counters, sinks, and faucets with Windex to keep them looking sparkly clean.

Kitchens are probably the most important room in the house for prospective buyers and should be kept as clean as possible. While your home is on the market is not the time to let dirty dishes pile up. Keep the counters clear, empty the cabinets of old food and unused dishes and cookware, and use Windex everyday to keep the counters, sink, and faucet sparkling.

There’s no magic solution for keeping your house totally spotless while it’s on the market. However, by keeping it free of clutter and removing things you can live without for a while, will make the task of cleaning for unexpected customers so much easier.

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