We are taking it day by day over here. With the beach vacation of our Spring Break dreams postponed and our commitment to flattening the curve keeping us homebound for the foreseeable future; we suddenly have found ourselves with an incredible amount of free time on our hands. Why not make the most of this time by checking all those chores of your to-do list, cleaning all that winter grime away, and dusting those cobwebs off everything?
This is the perfect time to get your home sale ready whilst spending a larger than normal amount of time at home! There will be pent up demand for homes because very few new listings will hit the market during this quarantine time. The housing inventory was already at an all-time low and we were seeing multiples on most of our listings. If you can get your home prepared and ready before everyone else- you are likely to get a much higher sales price on your home because it is competing against less inventory. Problems such as room size, number of garages, or square footage are less likely to impact the sales price when buyers have fewer choices.
What we are hopeful for is this stay-at-home period, but once we get the all clear from the health experts and our leaders, we plan to hit the real-estate ground running. And once the sun shines again and the world is allowed to return to normal life- you will have already done everything and can really enjoy all the beauty that our normal lives provide. For us, we aren’t planning on moving, but I’m hoping to have my house all organized and cleaned so that as the weather gets nicer and another Lake Minnetonka summer approaches- I won’t have to waste one minute indoors trying to get my house in order.
Here are our top recommendations for home projects to do while we all shelter-in-place.
Clean It, Clean It Real Good
Not only is this good for a pandemic and germ elimination, good for selling your home, but this one is just plain good. Clean everything. Refrigerators, freezers, drawers, baseboards, mantles- basically anything and everything in your house could use a good wipe down. I pulled the refrigerator and stove away from their cabinets, vacuumed and washed the floors behind there. Let me tell you- that should be added to the bi-annual list of chores because after three years of being in our house and never having done it- I actually embarrassed myself with how dirty it was back there.
We’ve washed the walls, crown moldings, light fixtures, and basically anything you can think of has been wiped down. Wash out the inside of every trash can- I sprayed mine with 409 and then added hot water and let them soak for like 20 minutes. It loosened up all the grime! It feels cathartic to wipe away all the dust, smudges, and dirt that has accumulated over the winter.
Steam clean the carpets and the upholstery. We bought this steam cleaner from Amazon and it has been a lifesaver. We have really enjoyed not having to rent one or use the cheap flimsy ones that don’t do a solid job! Plus it didn't cost much more than a few times of paying the rental fees and it’s nice to know that it is only your family’s nastiness in the machine and not somebody else!
Wash the drapes. Dust the wooden blinds. Wash the window sills. Wash the windows and the screens. You’ll be so happy you did it when the weather is nice and you can sit outside with a book and a cocktail in your hand instead of a squeegee and bottle of Windex!
Real Simple has a perfect checklist to help you think of every nook and cranny that needs to get scrubbed.
Say Bye Bye Bye to Clutter
Not only will this make your home appear cleaner and larger; this is the perfect time to clear out all the extras that you don’t need and pass them along to someone who does. A lot of the donation pickup services are still picking up during this Coronavirus Pandemic and we all know that the need for charity will be rising sharply over the next few months.
Plus- aren’t you sick of staring at the pile of shoes in the mudroom, or the stack of school papers in your bins, or the one junk drawer that every house has but somehow my house had like four of them? With all this eating at home, we have also eaten our way through the pantry and now everything looks organized in there just from the sparseness of it. Win win! We cleaned and organized almost everything and boy did that feel good!
The Spruce website has great ideas and tips on how to declutter and organize your home.
Below are donation pickup services that operate in the Twin Cities area:
If there is any part of the home that is equal parts feared and revered by mothers, it's the closets. The peace and joy that a perfectly organized closet can bring is unparalleled. Likewise, the mortification brought on by an unsuspecting houseguest casually opening a closet door only to find all your little mounds of mess stuck in the closet is unmatched. To be fair, if all of our closets looked like Carrie Bradshaw’s closet at Heaven on Fifth then we wouldn’t be having any problem keeping our stuff organized. But the truth of the matter is that most of our closets are lacking one important component: unlimited space!
The killer of closet joy is not actually the limited real estate in said closets, but the undedicated and unplanned space. A well thought out closet with a smart layout is worth twice the organizational weight of a closet twice the size with just a rod.
After you have purged and parted with all items in your closet that don’t bring you joy, then it’s time to get serious about some accessories to help keep your pared down belongings in order.
Acrylic drawers on shelves help keep little items like socks, swimsuits, and your under- garments organized.
Stackable acrylic shoe boxes help you take advantage of valuable floor space.
Over-the-door units hold hats, belts, accessories and other items when accessible shelf space is limited.
Wire baskets are a great replacement for drawers and dressers. File fold your shirts to maximize the space in your baskets. Not sure what file fold means. Check out Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and get ready for your life to change!
Store special occasion shoes, boots, and hats on the top shelf of closets since you won’t be reaching for them everyday.
Consider adding a rolling cart like this one sold on Amazon to help organize the smaller items.
Consider using the space on non bi-fold closet doors and add hooks to hang bags or jackets or a vertical organizer to add cubbies for more storage.
A Taste of Honey… DO!
How often are both of you home at the same time for multiple days/weeks/months on end? If you’re like us- we are always heading in opposite directions and those rare moments we are both home, the last thing we feel like doing are items off a Honey Do List. We also are an equal opportunity workload family and prefer a more 2020 friendly term of a Shared Labor List! Anywho, since we are both home, we have been ticking items off our Shared Labor List every single day!
Some great items that help improve your home and are good for regular home maintenance and make any sale/move much easier.
Replace any cracked or missing seals around doors and windows
Replace missing caulk around sinks, bathtubs and showers
Replace furnace filters
Checking all plumbing fixtures and fix any leaks or problems
Replace any burnt out or missing light bulbs
Clean the gutters and downspouts
Inspect smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and remove dust off the covers and replace batteries.
Trim trees and remove dead branches.
Check handrails and banisters to make sure they have not become loose
Remove cobwebs, dead insects and other dirt from the exterior of the home
Paint trim and walls
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
I don’t think the Temptations had it right when they sang that Beauty is Only Skin Deep! Once you get them in that front door, they will fall in love with your organized, tidy, well-thought out peaceful home. But the first hurdle is getting those buyers in the door! And that begins with a little thing called Curb Appeal!
Paint the Front Door. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the front of your home.
Add charm to the porch with a touch of greenery with a wreath.
DIY Wooden Shutters! Nothing says farmhouse chic like a pair of eye catching shutters!
Plant a tree or two! Add some thoughtful landscaping to the front of the home. Pro tip- when choosing plants- choose a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year and a blend of evergreen so that you have color in front of the house all throughout the year.
Add outdoor furniture like a pair of adirondack chairs or cafe set to help buyers envision spending afternoons in the sun enjoying the sweet life.
Replace exterior lighting. Nothing dates a home like 1990’s chipped brass lighting so find new fixtures that fit the times and the style of your home. Pro tip- look for replacement fixtures that are the same mounting system as the current one and you’re on your new way to a Joanna Gaines masterpiece.
Ta-da! Your home is looking its best and you’re feeling like a rockstar because you didn’t waste this opportunity to get your house in order! As you are walking around each square inch of your home, there are lots of opportunities to figure out what you really love about your home and what you would like or need in the new one. We rarely spend this much time in our homes so it's a great opportunity to be reflective and forward thinking in how your needs might change as time progresses. As a mother to two very active children, I can tell you that the whole sport court craze now makes sense…
Stay safe and know that we are all in this together. Let’s protect our most vulnerable and at-risk population and focus on what is important in life. And please wash your hands!