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Showing Tips: Where can you hide clutter to keep your house tidy?

What do you do when your Realtor calls and wants to show your home in say, half an hour?  Jump for joy first, since someone wants to look at YOUR home, right?  Then, panic.  As you hang up the phone, you notice that your teenagers have been at it again…your house is CLEAN, it’s just not TIDY.  Now, what do you do?

Since we all know that the first impression is important, especially if you want to sell your home in the next decade, we have a few tips that will help you quickly hide away “stuff.”  But first, you have to know where the buyers are going to look, and ensure that these places are constantly tidy.

Places that buyers will look include the oven, any closets, kitchen drawers, laundry room, and the kitchen pantry.  Think about it; these places give them an indication, essentially, of how much storage space there is.  If they’re overflowing, the buyers will think there just isn’t enough room to store their own things, since obviously you don’t have the space.  If you need a reminder of the basics of preparing your house for sale, refer back to our book, How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar – Fast.

Don’t defeat your efforts by stashing clutter in these places at the last minute, no matter how tempting it may be!

Enough of that!  What you want to know is, at the last minute, where CAN you hide things?

Under the bed.  It’s spacious, easy to get to, and no one in their right mind would get down on their hands and knees to look there during their first visit.  In addition, kids are probably used to stashing things there anyway, and can help you.

In the washer and dryer.  Who hasn’t seen the commercial where a little kid has stashed a pet in there?  We don’t recommend putting your pets in there, but clothes and shoes and “stuff” can easily fit.  Although buyers like to look in the laundry to see the size and neatness, they won’t be looking to see if you actually have things in there.  Our caution is to let everyone in the family know that it’s a hiding place, and to never start the machines without checking the contents first.

In the refrigerator.  This is risky; you know your kids are going to be in and out of the fridge – and how embarrassing would it be to have a shoe fall out?  On the other hand, if you’ve just walked in from the grocery, you can certainly stash the entire grocery bag in there, until you’re ready to unpack it and put things away neatly.

Behind the couch.  That is, if the couch is against the wall.  We all know that things get trapped there anyway, so it could be a quick opportunity to drop a toy or wayward socks for a quick fix.

In the trunk of your car.  Your garage or carport needs to be tidy.  If it isn’t garbage day, yet you have bags lying around, drop them in.  Skateboards and roller blades are a hazard anyway, so drop them in, too.  Nobody has a right to check in your vehicle – take advantage of that fact!

Let me leave you with this quick story.  My mother-in-law, being a naturally organized person, has clothes closets organized by color and like items, linen closets with towels and sheets stacked by size and color, and jars in her kitchen pantry with labels facing the front like a grocery store shelf.

This may seem extreme, but when she showed the house for sale, one buyer actually told her that he’d buy her home for the state of her closets alone!  He believed that if she paid that much attention to a closet, that she must have taken that kind of care with the rest of her home.

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