You just got a call that some incredibly motivated buyers are interested in seeing your Crown Point, Hobart, or Munster home.  Good news: this is a second showing.  The buyers originally viewed the house two days ago right after your family completed a marathon cleaning session.  Everything had been oh so pristine…  More good news, your Realtor says yours is the only house the buyers are seeing a second time before heading to the airport.  You see, they’re from out of town, and they have limited time.  In fact your Realtor says they’re already on their way to your house.  She asks you if it’s ok to bring the buyers by in about 20 minutes…

That’s when you panic.  You’ve had a busy weekend since the last showing.  The kids had friends over, your husband had the guys over to watch a game, and housework somehow just keeps on multiplying.  What’s the saying, “A house is only a home when it’s lived in?”  Something like that.  Or, “Life happens.”  Yes, life happens, and then you have to clean up after yourselves.

Here are some quick cleanup tips to help you get your home in show-ready shape when you have no time to spare:

  1. Recruit help.  Children are major contributors to the mess in a house.  Enlist their help for the cleanup as well.  This great article suggests bribery as a means to an end when you’re in a pinch.
  2. Clear away clutter.  Books, toys, dirty clothes, whatever’s on bedroom floors that doesn’t belong there – stash quickly in closets, or safely out of sight under the bed.  In the kitchen and other living areas, clear away mail and other stacks of clutter.  Put everything in a paper grocery bag and store in the pantry for sorting later.  Nothing is so important this next 20 minutes that it needs to be put back where it belongs right now.  What’s important is getting clutter out of site.  To this point, you can store dirty OR clean dishes in the dishwasher, or even inside the oven.  Just be mindful of fire safety and go back after the showing and clear out that oven first.
  3. Entryway.  In a situation where second impressions are just as important as first impressions grab a basket and clear away all the extra shoes near the front door.  Likewise skate boards, school books, anything that’s clogging up the entryway.
  4. Horizontal surfaces.  This means a quick vacuuming of carpets where necessary.  Wipe off counters and sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Check tile, linoleum and wood flooring for dirt and smudges.  Spot clean anything that catches your eye.