Skip To Content

How to survive selling your home – while living in it!

You’ve decided it’s time to put your house on the market – great!  And then you look around at your adorable tornadoes (AKA children/pets)  and wonder, “How will I ever get this home pristine enough for last minute showings? Somehow I have to maintain that for weeks or even months?!”

I’ve been there.

Even though I have been working closely with sellers for the past 7 years, the idea of of listing my own house with two small children and two furry dogs gave me a bit of anxiety.

Here are the tried-and -true tips that helped me get through it:

Things to do in the month before listing (even if you are just thinking about it) :

Organize your closets. Commit to donating at least 20% of your clothes and other random stuff, or at least pack away off-season items. Store away special occasion wear or items that you don’t use regularly. You want to have only the essentials in your closet to make it more spacious. Doesn’t matter if it is a small closet or big closet – you want it to shine!

-Pre-pack. Invest in a variety of storage totes or nice boxes and start packing up other non-essential items around the house (extra linens, decor, photographs, games, knick-knacks, memorabilia, etc.) Your home will show better, be easier to clean, and moving time will be that much easier!

Change out hangers for all matching hangers in your closets. It will make everything seem more organized.

Edit your kitchen. Store any seldom used or seasonal items – that will be the easy part. Also pack all but the essentials- not just the rarely used items but also extras. Can you survive with 4 mugs in the cabinet for now? Do you really need 10 plastic cups? 8 wooden spoons? Keep the nice stuff in the cabinets and pack up all the little “extras”. Keep just enough out for your family to use in the course of one day. Once you are on the market you’ll probably end up running the dishwasher every day anyway so that no one sees your dirty spaghetti plates. Your family can dine fancy for the next few months – what a treat!

-Small appliances need to have a home off of the counter. That may mean emptying a cabinet in order to make room for storing them. Or packing them in the garage. The coffee maker stayed out in my house, but the toaster oven and pressure cooker got demoted to the garage. The goal is to have kitchen counters as empty as possible.

-Organize the pantry and make it a goal to start using up what you have before listing/moving! Commit to buying no more canned or dry goods until everything is used up! The worst thing is to have to pack up cans of food to move….they are heavy and take up valuable box space.

-Pack up 75% of your kids’ toys and only keep the ‘pretty’ ones out. I whittled toys down to the essentials to make clean up easier. Wooden toys tend to look nicer than plastic ones, so they got to stay. I also packed up 90% of their books (I kept out the favorites and got a couple of new ones at the library every other week for variety). I organized the art supplies to look classy, but functional. I actually replaced the markers and crayons with a brand-new set of each. The kids loved the new supplies, and it looked cleaner without a million mis-matched markers jumbled together. My children definitely did not suffer through this process.

Have a yard sale! Let us know and we can get you some yard sale signage.

Contact our team for a walk-through to make sure there aren’t any simple projects that can make the home easier to sell or to potentially increase sales price. Our team can also give you an idea of what other homes similar to yours have sold for so that you can have an idea of potential listing price.

-Finish up any big landscaping projects, if needed.

Do any paint touch ups or minor repairs. You’ll be too busy to do these in the next few months.

-When in doubt – donate! Do you really want to move unused stuff to your next garage?


A week or so prior to photography:

-Confirm listing plan with your listing agent. You know who you can call! Link Properties Group 208-661-4749

-Landscaping– make everything neat and tidy. Mow the grass the morning of photography (or plow depending on time of year)

-Get a new doormat. First impressions matter! While you are at it, get a new plant to put next to the front door to give the buyers something to look at while their agent figures out how to open the door. You might want to scrub the front door and threshold clean too.


Day of photography:

Find someone to watch kids if they are not in school, otherwise you will go slightly nuts. Today your house will be forever captured in time, so it must look as close to perfect as possible.

-Clean the windows and mirrors.

-Make beds perfectly.

Wipe down stainless steel appliances really well.

-Crunch time! Time to put away anything that is considered clutter or excessive decor in the slightest. If it is something you use on a  regular basis, just put it in the closet for now. In the moments before the photographer arrives, take a look around and shove at least 50 more things into the closet or garage. This is only for the photos, you can take it back out in an hour if you must. All shoes, books, mail, keys, pictures of Great Aunt Mary, etc. need to get put away temporarily.


Listing time!

Pull any and all favors to find someone who can keep your dog or cat for a month – or at least until you get an offer on the house. If you can only do one thing – do this! It will make having your home on the market 100% easier. No fur continuously accumulating, no worries if a buyer wants to see the house at the last minute while you’re at work. Once I got my parents to take my dog, life got a LOT easier during this process.

If no one can watch your dog, look into doggy daycare. I did this to fill in the gaps. If we had showings scheduled I would just drop the dog off for the day so that she wasn’t in a kennel or in the backyard barking at them. Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort was amazing, I didn’t have to reserve a spot so I could drop her off whenever as needed. If I had back to back showings on consecutive days I would board her there overnight. She loved it there and wasn’t sad about it!

-Buy a bunch of Swiffer dry wipes and wet wipes. You will use these up, trust me. I did a quick Swiffer once over before leaving the house every day, even if I didn’t have a showing scheduled yet. That way I didn’t stress if I got a last minute showing request, I knew the floors where dirt-free.

Also buy mess-free breakfast items for those busy mornings. That way you don’t have to clean pans and countertops in a rush. I relied on microwavable breakfast burritos to keep my husband from making eggs and bacon every day. There will be time for that in the new house!

-Some families rely on paper plates/cups to stay ahead of the mess. I chose to run the dishwasher every morning but either can be a big help.

Refrain from smelly foods! Avoid cooking fish, curry , or other notoriously stinky foods. The smell can linger through the next day – and longer if it’s in your fridge or trash.


What did I forget? Comment below or email me so that I can update this list!

Trackback from your site.

Leave a Reply