Save Your Sanity: Create A Hide-Away System

The phone rings. Someone wants to see your house at 4:00. It’s 3:30 now. You look around and see little messes everywhere. Your son’s homework project is spread out on the coffee table, a bunch of spotted bananas and half a loaf of French bread sit on the countertop, and your credit card bill and bank statement are lying open on your desk. Quick! You have to hide everything and clean up fast.

In the rush, it’s very easy to misplace things. After the showing you begin searching for that credit card bill and can’t find it. You locate the French bread three days later, rock-hard and useless. And the bananas? You may have forgotten about them completely¬† — until you smell something coming from the bottom shelf in your pantry, behind the cereal boxes… “Oh yeah, that’s where they went!”

The way around this home selling frustration is to create a hide-away system. In every room of your home, establish a place where you can quickly toss things, yet know exactly where to find them later. It can be an empty drawer, a hatbox, a big plastic bin, a trunk or even half a shelf that you can assign as your dedicated hide-away spot.

If you have valuables that usually sit out in the open, such as jewelry, an Ipod, or other electronic devices, create a checklist of these items that you can refer to before each showing, reminding you to hide them away in a safe place.

By implementing such a system, not only will you find your ripening bananas and save your credit rating, you’ll be better able keep the peace at home by not losing your kid’s homework or someone’s precious jewelry.

How about you? What shortcuts have you found to get ready for a home showing?

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I try to stay away from the house as much as possible so it stays clean. If you’ve got other family members or friends around, stay with them as much as you can. Saves a lot of cleaning time. But you still have to water the plants.

Joan, first I have to say thank you for this great blog! I have been a real estate agent for 1 1/2 years, but I was also a frustrated homeseller from 2006-2010 – yes, that’s right, it took FOUR YEARS for me to sell my home!! So if anyone can relate to your blog, it’s me! I loved this entry about the “hideaway system.” You can imagine the number of times I had to hurriedly clean up for a short-notice showing – and let me tell you, getting a 5000 sq. foot house that’s home to two kids and two dogs who like to shed a lot in showing condition was no easy feat. I cleaned like mad–I called myself Cinderella on crack – and my shortcut was to take anything that wasn’t put away and throw it into a laundry basket, which would then go in the trunk of my car! Sometimes, I will admit, more than was laundry basket was required. But it took off the immediate stress and got me ready for my showing!

Stephanie, I’m glad you like the blog and that you found your own “hideaway system”. The one positive note that came out of all the cleaning was that I got a lot of exercise, as I’m sure you did when cleaning up your 5,000 sq foot house! Congratulations on selling your house this year! I hope you had a nice celebration. – JGFrank

Now that’s one way to keep the house clean — stay away from it. I knew another seller who did that too. She lived close to her mother and spent most meals over at her house, which eliminated having to always clean the kitchen – JGFrank

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