Kenneth Maston | Princeton Real Estate, Westminster Real Estate, Fitchburg Real Estate


If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.

Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.

Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.

Stay One Step Ahead of Dust

Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.

If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.

If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.

A Word About Mouse Traps

Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!

When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!


There's no question about it: Being a homeowner can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience! However, enjoying that added privacy, control over your environment, and pride of ownership does not come without a price.

When you go from being a renter to an owner, a lot of things change! In additional to being responsible for property maintenance, repairs, and improvements, home ownership requires an investment of time. For many people, devoting a block of time to painting a room, organizing a closet, or cleaning out the basement can be the trickiest part of getting a project done!

One of the biggest obstacles to starting a home project is the natural human tendency to procrastinate -- especially if the project infringes on your relaxation or recreation time! On the other hand, the satisfaction you'll experience when the job is done will more than justify the time and effort. The overriding question is: "How can I motivate myself to tackle the project and get it done?" While there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to self-motivation, here are a few ideas which might help!

Create a To-Do List: Writing down a list of priorities and revising it several times a week is a tried-and-proven method of getting things done around the house. Writing down your short-term (and long-term) goals engages your attention, serves as a visual reminder, and sets an intention for taking action. When you create a to-do list and look at it a couple times a day, it helps to focus your mind on what you want to accomplish. By organizing your thoughts, it makes it much easier to organize your home and your life. It's definitely not a panacea for all of life's ills, but it can be a darn good starting point!

Announce Your Intentions: Once you tell your spouse, your best friend, or your mother that you're going to clean out your garage or paint the spare room on Saturday, it makes it a little harder to wiggle out of it -- especially, if you've used that project as a reason for declining an invitation or postponing a favor. By stating your intention, it's almost like you're promising to do something. Since most of us are inclined to live up to our promises, announcing your intentions to complete -- or at least start -- a home-improvement or organizing project may be all it takes to get the ball rolling!

Buy or Gather the Supplies: Whether you need supplies for cleaning, painting, or screen repair, having them on hand will make it much easier to get started. On the other hand, not having them in the house makes it all-too-convenient to say, "I'll get to it tomorrow!" And as you may know, "tomorrow" either never comes or it turns into "next year!"


Whether you're just doing a seasonal cleanup or you're clearing out in preparation to move, sorting through your things might seem challenging. There are, however, several things that you really are going to have to think about. Just get rid of them. NOW!

  1. Condiments. When your fast food, take-out, or delivery habit leaves your refrigerator cluttered with soy sauce and mustard packets, it's time to do some sorting. And it's not just those pesky little packages that can burst open in unexpected places. You probably have a cache of plastic utensils filling up drawer space too. Find a way to organize them or toss them out.
  2. Prescriptions. Whether you no longer need it or it’s past its date, keeping old medicine in the cabinet not only takes up space, it poses a risk to family members. Before you just flush them down the drain, though, follow the advice from the FDA on drug disposal.
  3. Unmatched socks. So, your dryer (or washers) eats socks. At least, that's the theory because you knew you put a pair in and only one came out. The sock monster strikes again. In some homes, this phenomenon results in piles of mismatched socks, and there's no reason to hang on to them. Turn them into dust mittens, cut them up for crafts, or toss them. 
  4. Paint. Saving a small amount of paint for repairs and touch-ups, if stored properly in an airtight container, is a great idea. But keeping partial cans of colors that you probably won't ever use before they dry up is just a waste of space. And remember, paint fades over time, so you may not be able to use a bright color for those patches anyway. Paint is considered hazardous waste, so you shouldn’t just toss it in the trash bin. Contact your trash company for advice on where and how to get rid of leftover paint and unusable supplies.
  5. Old spices. No, not the cologne. Kitchen spices lose their savor and can ruin a great dish if used after their expiration date. Of course, not all spice jars have dates on them, so a general rule of thumb is two to three years. Spices last longer when kept in a dry environment such as air-tight containers that are closed up properly after each use. Often, you'll find that half the spices that came on that decorative spice rack are not items you use in your culinary masterpieces. If you haven't used them in a year, donate them. If it's been more than three years, toss them. 

Even if you're not prepared to sell just yet, including these clutter busters into your routine will keep things under control so that when you're ready to make a move it'll be hassle-free. When you are ready, ask your real estate or moving professional about other ways to quickly bring order to chaos.


Moving into a new home can often be a frantic, exhausting task. Matters are made worse if the house you are moving into wasn’t cleaned thoroughly after the previous movers left.

 However, the best time to clean a house is before you move in. This is due to the fact that cleaning shelves is easier before they’ve been filled, and vacuuming carpets is simpler if the house doesn’t yet have any furniture.

 So, in this article we’re going to show you the best way to clean your new home before you move in to avoid having to move objects around once you’ve brought them inside.

 Before moving day

 The idea moment to clean your new home is before the moving truck arrives. If possible, pick a day after the previous owners have moved out that is close to your move-in date. Bring all of your cleaning supplies with you, including cloths, towels, a duster, vacuum, hardwood floor polish, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and so on.

It might be tempting to just start scrubbing as soon as you’re inside, but first take a moment to walk through the house and make a list of all the cleaning tasks you would like to accomplish before moving in.

Not only will your list help you determine how long you’ll need to clean, but it will also give some organization to your day and keep you on track.

On or after moving day

You don’t always have the luxury of being able to clean your new home beforehand. If you’re moving across states or are on a tight move-in/move-out schedule, you might have to clean your house as you move in.

In this case, the best solution is to organize your boxes and furniture by room. Then, when moving them inside, put them in the corner of a room in a neat pile. This will leave access to most of the room so that you can clean before putting things away.

Make sure you and your family are on the same page in terms of organizing items on moving day. If you have family members who start unpacking boxes, let them know they could be more helpful by picking up a duster or cleaning some windows rather than putting items in their future places.

Room by room cleaning

There are some rooms in your house that require special attention. Let’s start with the kitchen.

When it comes to cleaning your appliances (refrigerator, oven, microwave, etc.), it’s a good idea to spray on some degreaser or baking soda/vinegar solutions in advance to let them soak and loosen up any debris before you start scrubbing them. Soaking them all at once will help you save time cleaning.

The bathroom poses a challenge when moving in for two reasons. Since bathrooms tend to be small and crowded, it can be hard to work inside of them if there are boxes in the way. To avoid this, stack all of your bathroom items outside in the hallway or in the bathroom closet while you clean.


You honestly may not get the chance to deep clean your home very often. When you do clean your house, there are a few places that are harboring many germs that are easily overlooked. Below, you’ll find some of the dirtiest areas in your home that need to be scrubbed well.


Handles And Knobs In The Kitchen


You’re handling everything in the kitchen from dirty dishes to raw meat. After touching these items, you’re grabbing drawers, refrigerator door handles, oven doors, and more. All of the bacteria that is on your hands is transferred to these items. You should scrub these areas down on a weekly basis with a simple vinegar and water solution.


Your Computer And Accessories


If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at your computer. You eat drink, talk on the phone, and everything else right in front of your computer. It’s a good idea to rid the bacteria that are collected all over your computer and accessories. You can detach the attachments from your computer a dab them with a mild soapy water solution, or just wipe them down with a pre-moistened anti-bacterial cloth. 


The Toothbrush Holder


You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but do you ever clean the place where it sits? You can quickly place your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it with hot water and soap. As a bonus, you should clean your toothbrushes by boiling them in water for a few minutes. 


The Handrails And Doorknobs 


Everyone uses the railings on the stairways, but it’s a good bet that no one cleans them very often. You can use a simple hot water and vinegar solution to scrub railings and doorknobs down. Wipe them dry, and they’ll be as good as new with less germs. 


The Light Switches


As you go in and out of rooms, you probably don’t think of cleaning off the light switch panel. Germs are easily spread there as people go in and out, turning a light on just to wash their hands. Vinegar and hot water will do the trick here as well. Just wipe switches down with a cloth soaked in the solution and pat dry. 


The Sinks


While you may wipe down around your sink often, the faucet and surrounding areas may need a little love. Faucet handles should be scrubbed on a daily basis with hot soapy water. As a bonus, if you want to make your sink shine, create a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Once you scrub it on the faucet, rinse off for a fantastic shine.