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My, oh my… what have we gotten ourselves into? Or, if we’re being honest, what I have I gotten us into? Selling a house while caring for an 11-13 month old, 3 teenagers and 3 pets (1 dog and 2 cats).. easy-peasy. NOT.
I’ve taken a couple months off from writing, while all of this has been going on, but I’m back now! And it’s still not even over.. haha. Here is how the last two months have been in my household:
-Go through everything and decide what we are keeping, donating, selling and dumping (aka: de-clutter)
– Complete the small home repairs that we’ve been putting off – eg. drippy bathtub faucet, burnt-out light bulbs, fallen over privacy tree/shrub,…
– Complete the large home repairs that we haven’t really been putting off, as much as “didn’t plan on doing” while living in this house – eg. replace roof, 5 windows and install Ledge stone on gas fireplace (!)
– Touch-up the paint.. everywhere – Did you know that 13 year old paint can still be used, even if its thicker than mud and chunky? Now you know!
- List the house
- Throw a first birthday party for our daughter (June 3rd!)
- Clean, clean, clean, tidy, clean, tidy, tidy, clean
- CLEAN & TIDY ENDLESSLY
Here we are in July, still waiting for an acceptable offer, as our closing date quickly approaches. I could branch off into so many topics surrounding this purchase/moving experience.
For today, I want to share with you, how I remain sane and keep a tidy house with a 13 month old.
So. Many. Toys. These things once ruled our main floor, but not anymore! With a listed house, toys have to be put away for showings and open houses. Since there is a lot to do in the hour or so before someone comes to look at the house, we had to find a way to keep the toy situation manageable.
We now have 4 different containers/boxes of varying sizes that each contain a mish-mash of different toys. Tapping into the Montessori –style of play, we rotate Aurora’s “in use” toys, so that only one box is out at any given time. When it gets put away for a showing, we make sure to bring out a different one when we get home.
Since I’m a big believer in reading at a young age, we have a large basket filled with books, that also comes out on an almost daily basis.
The toy boxes get stored in our storage room in the basement. You could also use your garage or under beds. The book basket goes on the top shelf of our Mudroom closet.
I’ve seen the cube shelving all over the place and I plan on setting something like this up once we get into our new home (click here), but for now, this system works fabulously for us. I plan on keeping the toy rotation idea in place for the unforeseeable future as well… Aurora is so much more interested in her toys when we bring out a new box!
Before we listed, I did a massive amount of de-cluttering and deep cleaning. My Mom and Mother-in-Law helped a lot with the cleaning (thank you!). Since the house has been listed, I’ve been sticking with my regular weekly bathroom cleaning, but everything else has been stepped up a notch.
Vacuuming used to occur about once a week and we’re up to 3 times a week, with spot checks here and there before showings. Floors are washed more frequently, as are the windows and doors in the main living areas.
My suggestion really is, to complete a thorough deep-clean before you list. This way, the maintenance cleaning is manageable.
I’m not great at tidying. It’s just not in my genes. Over the past little while, I have become very good at it! Tidying a little bit every day is KEY to keeping a house show-ready with a toddler.
- Toys are cleaned up before Aurora goes to bed every day
- Kitchen counter is cleared on a daily basis (usually before we go to bed)
- Toaster and coffee maker go back under the counter when they’re not in use
- Garden gets “spot-weeded” – basically whenever I see a weed, it gets pulled
- In progress laundry sits in a laundry basket in a bedroom closet with a white towel over top
- Showings & Open Houses
These things produce a bubbling sense of overwhelming energy that turns me into a crazy cleaning lady. I think the kids become scared of us in the 1-2 hours before a showing/open house.. eek! “Who’s cup is this?”, “Are your beds made and rooms ready?”, “Showers are off-limits”, “I don’t know where your mascara is (jammed in a drawer somewhere)”, “If you sit on that couch, you have to fluff those 2 pillows when you get up”, “Just don’t sit on that couch (lol)”.
How do we do it with a 1 year old, though?! This is how:
Jeff and I trade off with Aurora.. this is the best way for us. I will play with her/while I lightly tidy up the room we’re in. Meanwhile, Jeff vacuums or polishes bathroom faucets, empties garbage bins, etc. And vice versa.
- Baby Carrier
Next best thing! We have 2 carriers that we love to use. Jeff only uses the Baby Bjorn (click here) and I only use the Boba 4G (click here). As a side note, I only use the Boba 4G, because it provides much more back support.
Aurora is old enough now (13 months at the time of this writing), that I can back-carry her in the Boba. This means that my hands are entirely free. She loves helping her Daddy vacuum in the Baby Bjorn. Seriously. This child LOVES the vacuum cleaner. Our next house has Central Vac.. I’m not sure if it will be as “cool” for her!
When we have enough notice, we can make use of getting things done during Aurora’s nap. If you’ve read my post about my daughter the cat-napper (“Invasion Of The Cat-Napper & How I Plan My Precious Little Adult Time”), you’ll recall that Aurora is not a great sleeper, or a long sleeper by any means. We’re down to 1 nap these days and her one nap averages an hour and 20 minutes. Sometimes she’s up after 40 minutes and I have to go and lay with her to get her to go back to sleep (and then I’m stuck).
There you have it! I hope this helps some stressed-out Mommies and Daddies out there! You got this. Stick together and make it a team effort. It will all be worth it 🙂 … or so I keep telling myself 😛 !
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