Even though you may do “deep cleaning” once or twice a year, few people ever clean every area of their home to the extent required to prepare it for sale. Cleaning for show and sell is like spring cleaning on steroids…and then some.
Bedrooms – Clear out bedside stands. Keep a covered basket under the corner of the bed with essentials (glasses, reading materials, etc.) and keep the surfaces clear. Keep fresh linens on the bed. Sweep and mop or vacuum the floors taking special care to clean under the bed, scrub the baseboards and woodwork.
Closets – Remove any unnecessary or out-of-season clothes. The closets should be no more than half full. Leave nothing on the floor. Shelves should be organized and sparsely populated. Group all clothes by color. These steps will make closets look larger.
Kitchen Cabinets – Remove and discard, gift, or pack away all unnecessary appliances, pots, pans, and dishes. Eliminate “Junk Drawers”. Clean cabinets inside and out. Keep the cabinet surfaces completely clear.
Appliances – Make sure all appliances are spotless inside and out, even if they aren’t included in the sale. Clean all coils and change filters. Clean the floor under appliances. The condition of the appliances contributes to the overall impression of maintenance in a home and and those appliances may come in handy later as a bargaining chip.
Work Spaces – If there is a workshop, sewing area, or home-office area, be sure the contents are neat. If you don’t need the area while the home is up for sale, pack it up and stage the space for more flexible uses. If you require a home computer, consider using a laptop that can be tucked away when not in use.
Bathroom Cabinets – Remove and safely discard any unnecessary chemicals and expired medications. Relocate any prescription drugs to a safe or a locked box during showings.
Storage Areas – Keep out only what you will use every day. Donate, sell, or pack away the rest. Make sure the floor is clear and the remaining items are organized.
Windows – Cleaning windows inside and out is particularly important since that will let in more light and help the house to show better. Ditto for window treatments.
Walls and Ceilings – Throughout the home, remove cobwebs, clean light fixtures, wash walls and wipe down doors, ventilation grates, baseboards and any other woodwork or trim.
Pantry – Discard old food items. Organize like-shaped items together (cans with cans/boxes with boxes). Keep the floor clean and clear.