Have you ever shown a home with kids? Maybe you’re about to and you’re not sure how to make all of that work. Well, I’m here to help! I’ve been there and we did make it work. The key word is WORK! It was not easy and it is no way to live your daily life. Remember I have 3 kids… a kindergartener and twin toddlers. My everyday “look” is basically clean with crumbs from the most recent meal in the kitchen and a lovely trail of toys around the house. Due to my twins being so young this is just how things are right now.
The “Show Form” Four
There are four main things you need to do to stay in “show form”. You have to prep your house, your kids, your food, and your mindset.
1. Prep your house
First things first, clean your house and declutter. Hide or store as many toys as you can. We all know kids have way more toys than they actually play with. Be viciously minimalistic when you do this! Use baskets to sort, move, and hide things. Scrub, deep clean, paint, and stage your house. Place your vacuum in an easily accessible location. Bust out your freshest cotton candles, and take out the garbage. Always make sure you blow out your candles before you actually head out the door.
Whew! Ok, that was a lot of work. Now, go back home and live life…oh wait another showing? Ok, so you have to do this all over again. How do you make this easier?
- Deal with mail/boxes immediately.
- Only bring out a small subset of toys at a given point in time. Or keep everything stored except the kids’ favorites.
- Keep all food and drinks in the kitchen or dining room area.
- Get in the habit of washing dishes after each meal. Immediately after eating.
- Keep all doors closed off to rooms you don’t need to be to preven the kids from playing in everyroom.
- Make your bed and have your kids make theirs as soon as they get up. (This one is just a good habit in general!)
- If there are rooms you know you aren’t going to be in for an extended duration (even 2 hours) make sure you vaccum those right away and close the door.
2. Prep your meals
Waiting around during an open house or a slew of showings with your kids isn’t fun. Especially when it’s winter oh and during a pandemic. I know this from a first hand experience… So, prep your meals in advance. Separate them into categories: at home meals and those meals you end up having in your car or at the park. Since we had to show our house during Covid and winter our options were extremely limited. We went to the park once and my husband and eldest son were cold and scuttled back to the van while my twins and I played in the cold. I for one love this frozen Minnesota life, the inner Californian in my husband, not so much. Eating in the van was a bit messy the day we all ordered French toast sticks from a drive through. So, learn from my experience and plan for something less messy. Sandwiches, veggies, and cheese ended up being our go-to meal because it was easy to prep and store as well as cleanup after eating.
3. Prep your kids
Yep you betcha, you’re going to have to prep them as well. If they are old enough to understand what’s happening tell them! Make it fun! Otherwise do your best to plan for the worst case scenario. Even if the showing is supposed to be 30 minutes pack a diaper bag with an extra change of clothes and a snack. Make sure you have water bottles and a few toys or activities that can be done in the car to keep them entertained while you’re out. If you’re already out and just now reading this go old school. Play I Spy, sing songs, identify letters on buildings nearby, drive your kids somewhere senic and talk about what you see. If the weather isn’t too extreme go for a legitimate walk or picnic.
4. Prep your mind
Ok so all of this is A LOT to do and keep up with. Remind yourself every day when you wait up that it won’t last forever. You will get through this. Keep your eye on the prize whether that means the new house you’ve just put an offer in on or the new location you’re planning to move to. There are so many reasons to be happy about this change. It’s also a great time to realize what it takes to truly keep your house “show form” clean. One thing we learned is that we really liked the lack of clutter and toys. It felt calming to be home and after putting all of the excess toys away I was able to spend more time playing with my kids rather than cleaning up after them. So take this as a learning experience and maybe keep a few things after it’s all over.