It’s done. Our house is on the market for sale (it only took us four months!) but hey you live and you learn. We have got the house quite empty which makes daily family life a little bit difficult. It’s funny how we miss certain things like cooking dishes and spare blankets now that everything has been boxed up and packed away. But the most difficult challenge of all? The cleaning. OH my the cleaning. At the drop of a hat potential buyers can arrange a viewing, so our house must be showhome ready all the time. When you have kids – that is stressful! I don’t know if it’s just my kids, but I’m sure they are from outer space – they don’t understand that the chaos and destruction they cause can give their parents a heart attack. When you turn your back for five minutes to find bread packets peanut butter jars, CRUMBS and spillages on the freshly painted counter top. A trail of chaos from one side of the kitchen to the other. What is wrong with these little critters! Why now, of all times do they feel the need to suddenly become sandwich artists? I’m sure as soon as the sign went up out the front they thought right, time to test this earthling and see if we can actually make her crack…it truly is the definition of madness. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So you don’t feel like you’re some part of a science experiment when you try to sell your house with kids and toddlers in tow – check out these hints first and adapt&survive!
1. The emptier the house the better – Less clutter to pick up on a daily basis and it means the kids have less ammo. Get rid of the toys. If your toddler needs them to keep occupied during the day just a small container with wheels (we have a little inexpensive plastic wagon) with a few of their favourites will keep them busy. And it’s a cinch to roll away under the bed if you need to tidy in a hurry.
2. Box it up – Our little one can get into the cupboards and likes to pull everything out, so we have boxed everything up and only have the essentials for cooking family meals. This includes one pot one pan, cups, cutlery, plates and bowls. It kind of feels like we are camping, in our own house. He still pulls them out, but it’s less stuff to put back away. I’ve thought about installing those cupboard hinges, but honestly I can’t even open the cupboards when they are on and what if the new owners don’t have children? Best to stick with picking up after the lil one – it’s a great workout! Eventually he will get bored of it right, how exciting can a pan be?
3. Which brings me to meal times, one pot meals or going out to eat are your best choices! There are only so many packets of instant noodles one can tolerate. Half of me wants to cancel dinner all together for the simple fact that it looks like the Swedish chef from the muppet show has been let loose in my kitchen every time. We try to cook simple one pot meals on the stove top to keep the mess to a minimum but often eating out seems a more appealing and convenient option. It’s either this or buying paper plates and making everyone eat outside so I can hose them down afterwards. It’s not until you have to keep your house presentable that you will realise what a bunch of messy little creatures you live with…in the most loving way of course. Also once you have scrubbed your oven from top to toe you probably won’t want to use it at all – ever again! Unless you enjoy cleaning ovens, in which case I ask “are you from outer space too?”
4. Get out of the house whenever you can – If you’ve just spent the day slaving away in preparation for a viewing or open home get the kids outdoors. Keep your buggy handy and go for a long stroll and let the little ones run around like crazy. Constantly nagging and being on their cases and having to be mindful of not making a mess (well trying not to make a mess) gets draining for everyone. Getting fresh air will boost your mood and let you get some perspective if your life has been revolving around selling your house. It gets frustrating at times so get outdoors and run around with your kids, get those endorphins pumping and have some laughs and giggles with everyone. It will keep you focused on the task at hand but not worked up over whole experience.
5. Go easy on yourself and try not to get too stressed – Easier said than done right? Some days will be harder than others. Being a parent you will already know the unpredictability of day to day living. With working, school commitments or it could even be school holidays which in my view can make everything that much harder as kids like to lounge around and relax – yeah like where did that idea come from? Outer space I tell yah! One moment everyone is fit and healthy the next day your eldest gets sick and will only let you comfort her. Be prepared to say you know what we have done the best with what we have and today that will be good enough. Like for example today with a viewing scheduled in our vacuum cleaner decided to fall apart, usually I would head straight for the broom however the broom head snapped clean off and then the shovel to sweep up the mess didn’t work. It’s brand new but the lip on the edge is too thick – utterly useless. I felt like throwing in the towel then and there. But don’t get discouraged, as long as your house is clean and tidy, and you yourself would want to buy it if you saw it then you are golden. If not and you are still noticing little jobs that need completing write a list and work on them for next time. You will feel good, and have a sense of accomplishment as you work your way through.
Have you recently sold your house? How did you manage to keep everything in order with little ones around? Share your best cleaning tips and organization hints!
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