Cleaning and decluttering for open house

The title may have confused you, dear readers, as you know by now that we are moving from a renting situation to a home-owning one, so why would we be worried about showings?  Because we’re not “those” awful tenants, that’s why.  We’ve lived in this place for 3 years, and while we’ve come to pick up on all of the shortcomings of the house, we’re sure someone else will be quite happy here for a while.  Our landlord is a great guy, and we want him to find a replacement for us quickly and easily, so we’re doing everything we can to make this little place shine.

We just got an email today from our landlord letting us know he’s hosting an open house next Saturday for our rental place, from 10-2.  This doesn’t bother me in the least because I’ll be at work, but Dan will need to coordinate doing something with the fur baby and himself for 4 hours.  It also means we have one week to make our rental look fantastic.  I feel like the best way to take you through the to-do and the master plan is to see what my house looks like, right this second, as we begin deep cleaning.  This is a no shame zone – I didn’t pick up, or put away, or tidy anything before taking these pictures.  I think we keep our home reasonably neat and tidy, but there are definitely some things we need to tackle so that strangers trapezing through won’t think we’re neglectful and disgusting.

Let’s start the list upstairs, and work our way down.

The Office

Image-Get rid of futon.  Do you want it?  We’re giving it away to Good Will, but if you want it, put your hand up and arrive at our place with a truck.
-Wash and pack up blankets for the season
-Deep clean all baseboards

Image-De-clutter Victoria’s bulletin boards
-Donate unused office supplies, such as most things to the right of Victoria’s printer
-Prioritize Dan’s toys – which ones are staying, and which ones get donated
-Give away yellow office chair and replace with something prettier and nicer

Image-Pack up games and hobby stuff in the closet, since this room is the second bedroom, and not everyone will use the room as an office space.

The Master Bedroom

Image-Make the bed, really nicely.  This is our typical speedy bed making each morning, courtesy of Dan in this case, but I would make it look a smidge nicer for an open house
-Fresh bed sheets and towels
-Side tables empty, except for lamps and alarm clock

Image-Dog bed stashed away for the day, since not everyone coming in to the place will have a dog, and we’re not even sure our landlord will be letting the next person coming in have a dog
-De-clutter the top of Victoria’s dresser
-Wash and pack up bathrobes that are hanging behind the bedroom door
-Pack away seasonal clothes from closet (not pictured) and de-clutter
-Deep clean all baseboards

Ensuite Bathroom

Image-Wash and neatly fold all towels
-Usual weekly bathroom clean (sink, mirror, toilet, etc)
-Scrubba-dub-dub those awful rust stains in the toilet with CLR
-Deep clean all baseboards (notice a trend with this one?)

Image-De-clutter all the stuff from around the tub
-Deep clean the tub and surrounding tile

Image-The rust stains!  WHY!!  CLR the hell out of this beast, so the new tenants don’t know how hard and awful the water is.

The Kitchen

Image-Scrub counters, sink, and the front of all the cupboards
-Wash the wall behind the range top
-Wipe out the inside of the fridge, and wipe the fridge handles and crumb-collecting spots
-Stash all counter items somewhere else, to make the space look more substantial than it is
-Deep clean all baseboards and vents
-Mop floors

Image-This is kind of the entrance way, but it’s in the kitchen
-Pack away coats and aprons
-De-clutter hall table
Image-Pack up any non-essential appliances, ready for the move
-Wipe down all horizontal surfaces
-Magic Eraser the front of the oven
-Clean the oven

Image-Pack up the less frequently used kitchen items, ready for the move, aka everything in this picture

The Living Room

Image-De-clutter all horizontal surfaces
-Usual weekly tidy-up (dusting, sweeping, etc)
-Deep clean all baseboards
-Mop floors
-Simplify the items in the baskets – they’re not meant to be junk collections

Image-Wash and neatly fold all blankets
-Fluff pillows
-Clear off all horizontal surfaces, except for lamps and select decorative pieces

Image-Space out items to fill the built-in and make it look like it has a purpose.  We used it for storing VHS tapes, but we’ve since replaced them all with DVDs or donated them

Downstairs Bathroom

Image-Usual weekly clean-up (sink, mirror, toilet, etc)
-Deep clean all baseboards and vents
-Clear off shelfs (bye bye bathroom magazines)
-Scrub tiles in the high traffic pathway
-Mop floor

Image-Find somewhere else to store Oscar’s dog food, so people don’t realize there aren’t any closets in the house
-Scrub shower, although I think it’s been used by us exactly 3 times since we moved in
-Store all laundry baskets in the basement

Mud Room Entrance

Image-Deep clean all baseboards
-Deep clean the grungy track for the patio doors
-Scrub tiles in the high traffic pathway
-Mop floor

Image-De-clutter chair and table
-Neatly organize shoes on display, pack up seasonal shoes and boots for the move

Image-Pack up non-essential above-the-cupboard items
-Organize and neatly fold all towels and sheets (inside the cupboard, not pictured)


Image-Trim the vine along the fence
-Turn over the soil in the garden beds and remove the weeds
-Dig out the grass that’s grown back in the pathway

Image-Dig out the grass and weeds that have grown back in the pathway

Image-Pull the weeds in the planter boxes
-Dig out the grass and weeds that are growing next to the bricks

Front of the House

Image-Throw out the chair and small table on the front porch
-Sweep the steps and porch
-Weed the front garden box

Phew.  I think that’s everything.  We’ll give you an update next week with everything we did, hopefully with pictures to show the before and after changes (which will make us feel good after busting our butts for a week to make it look nice)


About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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One Response to Cleaning and decluttering for open house

  1. Sarah G says:

    Wow, you guys sure are thorough!

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