Janice Walker's Blog
You’ve spent months scouring home listings and viewing houses. Once you found your dream home, you signed the contracts and successfully closed. Congratulations! It’s time to get started on this next exciting chapter of your life.
While you’re probably eager to move your belongings into your new home, it’s a good idea to pause for a moment and plan to give your new house a deep cleaning. Here are five areas you’ll want to focus on before you start hauling in your possessions.
Bathrooms are a priority because you’ll want to eliminate any potential germs lurking about. Even if everything looks clean, you can’t know for sure if it’s only been surface-cleaned, so you’ll want to give it your own deep cleaning. This way you can ensure any bacteria or other icky germs aren’t lingering. Focus on the toilet, sink, and tub. Don’t forget the toilet seat—ideally, install a new one.
Tip: Change the shower curtain and liner or, if you’re keeping the existing curtain because it matches the décor, give it a good machine wash.
Kitchens are another room where germs tend to linger. To start, clean the interiors of the oven and refrigerator. Next, use disinfectant to wash down the sink, faucet, counters, cabinets and all appliance exteriors. Don’t forget any handles and knobs.
Once you’ve got the kitchen clean, cover the cabinet and pantry shelves with new liner. Not only will it help protect your dishes and other wares, but it’ll give these spaces a fresh clean look and feel when you place your items in it.
3. Floors & Carpets
If you aren’t immediately replacing carpets, give them a deep cleaning with a rug cleaner. If you don’t own or have access to one, you can rent one from a grocery or hardware store. Wash any hardwood floors. To avoid harsh chemicals, you can use water and white vinegar, they’ll eliminate most bacteria and remove most dirt and grime.
Give the bathroom and kitchen floors additional attention by thoroughly washing these floor surfaces with a disinfecting cleaner. Be sure not to miss any nooks and crannies. Clean tile, vinyl or linoleum with a bacteria-killing cleaner and don’t forget any grout—a baking soda paste works nicely.
4. Air Filters
It’s hard to know when air filters were last changed. It’s always a good idea to replace them, just to be on the safe side. Mark the filters with the date, so you know when it’s time to swap them out again.
Tip: Don’t forget the vent filter above the stove if you have one.
5. Door Knobs
Door knobs are easy to overlook but they are a prime area for lingering germs. Go through your home and disinfect doorknobs, cabinet pulls and drawer handles. Don’t forget the handles on sliding glass or shower doors.
Tip: Use disinfectant wipes on doorknobs if you’re short on time
Once you’ve given your house a deep cleaning, you can confidently move your possessions into your home with a fresh, clean start.
One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!
That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.
Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.
Professional Help May Be Needed!
Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.
If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.
Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.
So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!
Whether you're just doing a seasonal cleanup or you're clearing out in preparation to move, sorting through your things might seem challenging. There are, however, several things that you really are going to have to think about. Just get rid of them. NOW!
- Condiments. When your fast food, take-out, or delivery habit leaves your refrigerator cluttered with soy sauce and mustard packets, it's time to do some sorting. And it's not just those pesky little packages that can burst open in unexpected places. You probably have a cache of plastic utensils filling up drawer space too. Find a way to organize them or toss them out.
- Prescriptions. Whether you no longer need it or it’s past its date, keeping old medicine in the cabinet not only takes up space, it poses a risk to family members. Before you just flush them down the drain, though, follow the advice from the FDA on drug disposal.
- Unmatched socks. So, your dryer (or washers) eats socks. At least, that's the theory because you knew you put a pair in and only one came out. The sock monster strikes again. In some homes, this phenomenon results in piles of mismatched socks, and there's no reason to hang on to them. Turn them into dust mittens, cut them up for crafts, or toss them.
- Paint. Saving a small amount of paint for repairs and touch-ups, if stored properly in an airtight container, is a great idea. But keeping partial cans of colors that you probably won't ever use before they dry up is just a waste of space. And remember, paint fades over time, so you may not be able to use a bright color for those patches anyway. Paint is considered hazardous waste, so you shouldn’t just toss it in the trash bin. Contact your trash company for advice on where and how to get rid of leftover paint and unusable supplies.
- Old spices. No, not the cologne. Kitchen spices lose their savor and can ruin a great dish if used after their expiration date. Of course, not all spice jars have dates on them, so a general rule of thumb is two to three years. Spices last longer when kept in a dry environment such as air-tight containers that are closed up properly after each use. Often, you'll find that half the spices that came on that decorative spice rack are not items you use in your culinary masterpieces. If you haven't used them in a year, donate them. If it's been more than three years, toss them.
Even if you're not prepared to sell just yet, including these clutter busters into your routine will keep things under control so that when you're ready to make a move it'll be hassle-free. When you are ready, ask your real estate or moving professional about other ways to quickly bring order to chaos.
When you’re short on space, it can be difficult to see how you could ever possibly declutter your closet. It is, after all, a convenient hiding space for all of your items that you have no idea where to put! There’s a few tips that can help you to get on the road to decluttering your closet and getting organized.
Make Things Accessible
One reason that clutter builds up is that things are not very accessible. As you’re trying to find something, items fall and become misplaced. By spreading out your organization system a bit within the closet, you’re able to see what you have and exactly where it is.
Group Like Items Together
In the same light of being able to find things that you need, grouping like items together makes it easier to find what you need. If you know that all of your haircare items are in a certain bin, you’ll be able to reach in the same spot without thinking.
Find Places You Can “Drop” Things
Closets tend to be that kind of space where we just drop things and forget about them. We always think “I’ll deal with it later.” When later never comes, we end up with quite a cluttered closet. Keep baskets or trays handy in the closet in order to keep things that you may empty out of your pockets or put away at a later time. This way you’ll only have to clean out one basket instead of the entire closet.
Make Use Of Drawers
Drawers are incredibly useful in a closet space. You can place a dresser in the closet if space permits. If you don’t have room for a dresser, you may want to create your own drawer units. For an alternative option of storing things, try installing shelving units and placing baskets across the shelves, giving the illusion of drawers.
Everything that you do to organize your closet should have the goal of keeping tidiness in mind. If the closet is a walk-in, you’ll organize it much differently than if you have a smaller space. No matter the size of the closet, you’ll want to divide the space into zones of sorts. This way, you’ll know where everything goes and how to keep it neat.
Light The Space
Without adequate lightning in the closet, it’s pretty difficult to find what you’re looking for, no matter how organized you are. If your closet doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you’ll need to install some lighting. Whether you put in overhead bulbs, or install touch- activated portable lights, the brighter the better when it comes to your closet. Be sure that there’s lights in key areas like darker corners where the main light source doesn't reach.
When you’re preparing your home for the market, your main goal is to make it as desirable as possible to potential buyers. Not only will this gain more attraction from interested parties, but it can also help you out in a bidding war by making your home stand out among the rest and therefore increasing the final sale value.
Many of the ways to increase the desirability and curb appeal of your home involve costly home improvements and upgrades. However, there are some simple solutions that can make an impact and might just be enough to tip the buyer in favor of your home.
Today, we’re talking about the value of marketing a spotless, freshly cleaned home. The benefits are many. But, among them are the chance of increasing your sale value, attracting more potential buyers, and demonstrating to them that you’re the type of homeowner who has cared for their home.
Read on for some of the most important cleaning tips to help you along the process of selling your home.
1. Decluttering helps in more ways than one
When you’re ready to sell your home, the last thing you want to be thinking about is finding places for all of your belongings that you’ve accumulated over the years. People interested in buying your home won’t want to visit a house filled with your personal belongings, as it will make it harder for them to imagine their own decorating style in the house.
To make this whole process easier, it’s a good idea to declutter and pack away things that you won’t necessarily need until you move into your new home. You’ll also be doing yourself a favor later by packing boxes now that won’t have to be repacked when you move to your new home.
2. Mold and mildew
Bathrooms and kitchens are especially vulnerable to these two culprits that can be a huge turn-off for potential buyers. You’re going to want to carefully inspect these rooms for signs of mold and mildew and eliminate them. Non-streak and bleach-based cleaners are ideal as they can help your glass and tiles shine like new.
Remember to make sure these are clean before you have real estate photos taken or your listing and before having any potential buyers over to show your home.
3. Deep dusting
You know those corners of your home that you always think, “oh well, no one will ever see back there anyway”? Well, people interested in buying your home will likely want to look in those corners and might be off-put by piles of dust.
If you have a hard time seeing because parts of your home are dark, set up some portable work lights while you’re cleaning to ensure you’re getting the job done.
Finally, don’t forget to clean the tops of ceiling fan blades and behind your kitchen appliances, where few seldom go.
4. Gutters are a giveaway
Clean gutters are a sign that a homeowner cares for the long-term maintenance of their home. So, if you haven’t been quite keeping up with gutter cleaning, now is the time to do it.
5. Pressure washing can be worth the cost
If there’s one thing that’s worth spending money on for cleaning an older home, it’s usually power washing. Vinyl siding is low-maintenance, easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. But, it does get dirty from time to time.
Hiring a power washing service or renting a pressure washer can be a good way to make the exterior of your home look like new again.