Jim Sheridan | Burlington Real Estate, Billerica Real Estate, Reading Real Estate


One of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market is keeping it clean, organized, and ready for the next showing!

This is no easy task, especially if you have pets, messy kids, and/or a hectic schedule. If you're like most people, you're probably contending with all three conditions!

Although it's human nature to get immersed in our own view of the world, it's helpful to try and see things through the eyes of prospective home buyers. When buyers walk into your house for the first time, they're not going to immediately know about all the improvements you've made to your property or the many ways your home has served your family's needs for all these years. They're not aware of the "big picture" and may never be. They only know what they see, hear, and smell during their brief visit to your home.

Anything which makes a negative impression can sour them on the idea of buying your house. It's a delicate balance and it doesn't take that much to tip the scales in either direction. That's why it's so important for sellers to get into a routine of keeping their house clean, orderly, and well maintained.

It's amazing what a difference 24-hours (or less) can make on the appearance and cleanliness of your home. Rest assured, if you've said or thought the words, "But I just cleaned it, yesterday!" -- you're not alone! Cleaning your house when it's on the market is a lot like shaving: It doesn't take too long for that "five o'clock shadow" to start creeping in!

Reminding everyone in your family to clean up after themselves is the first step to being ready, but it also pays to have a checklist to refer to when preparing for a real estate showing. If you don't use a task list, chances are you'll forget something important -- like wiping off the kitchen counter, sanitizing the toilets, putting away dirty dishes, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Floors almost always require a quick sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, and waste baskets need to be emptied. Crumpled towels, bath mats, and bedspreads may also be in desperate need of straightening and smoothing out! If you own pets that tend to have "accidents" or kids who haven't quite mastered the art of cleaning up after themselves, you might also want to allow a few extra minutes in your routine to take care of the "unexpected."

While it's true that you want your house to have a "lived in" appearance, it's all-too-easy to cross that thin line into a whole different category! No reasonable house hunter will expect your home to be spotless and perfect in every way, but if it looks messy, disheveled, or neglected, then that could be a potential deal breaker!


Children are adorable creatures, but sometimes they may make you hit the ceiling. Like when? Well, like when they use a crayon to draw caricatures of Sponge Bob on your wall. In such situations, it's important to keep a cool head. There is no need for yelling or spanking anyone; there are ways to remove crayons from walls easily. Before you use any method on this post, make sure your test is on a small area of the wall to make sure it won't spoil your wall or paint. Here are a few of them: 

Toothpaste 

Wait a minute... toothpaste? Yes, you read it correctly, toothpaste is not only for cleaning teeth or clearing acne. Toothpaste can be used to wipe away crayon marks from your wall. All you need to do is to squirt a non-gel toothpaste onto the wall and scrub it off with a brush. Wondering how this works? Well, toothpaste contains abrasives that will tackle the crayon marks as you scrub with the brush. This method is rigorous but effective if you don’t mind scrubbing.

Baking Soda 

Yes, the good old baking soda can get rid of the alphabets your kids wrote with crayon on your wall. For this procedure, get a damp cloth, dip it into a small amount of baking soda. Next, use the dampened washcloth to scrub the crayon marks on the wall gently. This method is effective and doesn't require too much scrubbing. 

WD-40 

This method works like magic. All you need is to get a can of WD-40, shake it properly and spray it on to the crayon doodles and leave it for some few minutes, preferably 5-7 minutes. Next, grab a clean rag and gently wipe off WD-40 off your wall and the crayon marks will wipe away with it.

Vinegar 

Vinegar is not only useful for cleaning the toilet, But It also works wonders too in removing crayon marks from walls. Get a toothbrush, dip it in vinegar and gently scrub off the crayon marks and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.

Water and Soap Combo 

This method is simple and effective. You'll need is a sponge and a bowl of hot water mixed with liquid. Plunge the sponge into the mixture and scrub off the crayon marks with it. So, if you have children who use your wall as their coloring book, no need to fret, just apply any of these methods.


You may be the rare type of person that looks forward to cleaning your home, but most people do not relate. Cleaning your house is a pretty easy task to procrastinate because it usually takes so much time and energy from your already busy lifestyle. Of course, everyone within your household enjoys a tidy living space, but no one is up for the job. Believe it or not, some things you can do right now to keep your home tidy and relaxing every day of the week!

  1. Everything has a place. Assign each item a place and ensure that everyone in your household knows where those items go. For example: Where do shoes go when your family gets home from work or school? Is there a place by the door or do they go in the bedroom? Create a designated area for those items, and your home will maintain organization throughout the week.
  2. Create a chore list that assigns small chores each day rather than cleaning every surface in one day. For instance: Mondays can be the day everyone dusts their bedrooms, Tuesdays give someone the task of vacuuming the living area and so on. By doing a little now and then, you maintain your homes ability to remain a relaxing environment.
  3. Make cleaning a family activity. It can be hard to get the kids motivated to clean their rooms, but when everyone in the household is doing their part, kids can quickly jump on board. Something you could start is "The five-minute pick-up game." Set a timer for five minutes each day and ask that everyone tidy up their space for five minutes. Setting a limit will not only keep you from a few meltdowns but will also save you so much time that you could be spending on the couch resting!
  4. Once a month go through your home and declutter a room. It's so easy to collect unwanted items that pile up in a closet to collect dust, but you can save yourself the stress later by organizing one room each month. Declutter by asking yourself when the last time you used the item, and if you plan to use it anytime soon. If you no longer have a specific use for the article, then donate it to someone in need. 

As you take a few minutes during each day to clean your home, you will save yourself so much time throughout the week that you can spend enjoying time with your friends and family.


When you’ve gone through the lengthy and tiring process of seeking out, bidding on, and buying a new home and then sell your home, the last thing you want to worry about is cleaning your old house before you leave.

 However, there’s multiple reasons you’ll want to ensure your old house is clean before you leave. First, as a common courtesy, you’ll want the new owners of your home to have a good first experience and to maintain your rapport with them after closing day. However, there are also legal and financial issues at play.

If your contract states that your home needs to have been “broom-swept” or some other form of cleaning before you leave, then your new owners could technically postpone closing. Furthermore, some states have laws requiring that homes are cleaned by their previous owners before they move out.

 Although it can be difficult to define just how clean a home needs to be, legally speaking, your best option is to do your part to leave the home relatively clean, whether that means cleaning it yourself or hiring a cleaning company.

Legal reasons for cleaning your old house

As mentioned earlier, some states state cleaning requirements in the purchase contract when you sell your home. Their definitions of clean can often be vague, but usually include sweeping floors, wiping down surfaces, stripping nails and hangers from walls, and carrying out all furniture and garbage.

These rules are mostly designed to protect people who purchase a home from getting stuck with bulk items and other surprise issues that they’ll have to pay for.

An exception to this is when your home is sold “as is” or when you have some form of written agreement between you and the new owner that some part f your home will be left as is.

Cleaning your house

The ideal time to clean your house is once you’ve moved everything out. However, if you’re moving over a long distance, you might not be able to return to the house once it’s empty to give it a final cleaning.

In this case, your best option is to have your furniture and boxes packed away neatly in the garage, or in the corner of one room. Doing so will allow you to sweep, clean surfaces, wipe down cabinets, and so on, while your belongings are still in the house.

Just be sure to keep a broom handy once you’ve put everything on the moving truck so you can give one last sweep of the floor before you say goodbye to your old home.

Cleaning checklist

It can be difficult to keep track of everything you’ll want to clean before you move out, so here’s a list to go by:

  • Sweep all floors

  • Vacuum all carpets

  • Wipe down cabinets, shelves

  • Try to sweep under appliances, oven, etc.

  • Spray sinks and tubs, leave air freshener in bathroom

  • Wipe inside of refrigerator, if applicable

  • Remove all nails from walls

  • Do a final walkthrough and remove any trash you’ve missed


Here’s some bad news: You’re probably not cleaning the windows in your home nearly enough. The good news is that cleaning the windows in your home is actually quite simple, once you know what to do. You don’t want the view of the world from your home to be covered in grime. You also don’t want the dirt on your windows to make your home appear less-than-pleasant from the outside. There’s no real rule as to when you need to clean your windows. Ideally, if you live in the city, you’ll want to clean the windows about once a month. If you live outside the city, you can get away with cleaning them less often. The pollution of the city causes dirt and dust to build up a lot more quickly on residential windows.


Clean On A Cloudy Day


It doesn’t sound like very much fun to spend a sunny day washing your windows. Really, the best time to clean windows is actually on a cloudy day. The sunlight hinders your ability to clean the windows well. The absence of bright sunlight helps to minimize streaking and spots. 


Wash The Screens And Glass Inside And Out


The way you wash your windows will depend on what type of windows you have. More modern windows flip open for easier access to clean the unit both inside and out. Older windows could require you to get out a ladder to clean the top windows. Use caution and proper ladder safety techniques for a safe cleaning experience. Cleaning the glass panes on some windows may prove to be difficult. Remove whatever parts of the window you can so that they can be thoroughly washed. Standard glass cleaner should work well on the windows themselves. You may want to take especially dirty window panes and screens outside to clean. For a streak-free clean, you’ll want to use newspaper, coffee filters, or a squeegee to help the cleaning process go more smoothly. 


Vacuum First


Before you even begin cleaning your windows, you’ll want to pull out your vacuum cleaner. This can help to get up a lot of the dust, dirt, and pollen out of the interior of the windows. This is an especially helpful tip to fight the symptoms of allergy season. After you vacuum, be sure that you hose down the exterior of your windows. Just remember to close the windows first!


While cleaning your windows may not exactly be a fun activity, by following these tips, the job will be a bit less painful!




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