3 Tips to Make Your Home Show-Ready (& Keep It That Way)

How to Make Your Home Show Ready

Having your house on the market is no fun for anyone. At any  minute, you can get that text notification that there’s a showing in an hour — which means you’ve got about 40 minutes to make your home “show ready” while simultaneously ushering everyone out the front door.

(Thankfully our house sold quite quickly, so the pain wasn’t too prolonged.)

Determined to make those 40 minutes a little easier on myself, I aimed to keep our house 90% show-ready at all times. That way, when the text message came through, I just had to run through a short check-list of touch-ups to make sure our house shined.

The experience of selling our house actually taught me a lot about what it takes to keep my home “show-ready clean” under normal circumstances, too.

Granted, some of the efforts won’t be replicated in “real life” because, let’s face it, we’re human. But there are  at least 3 clean-home hacks that I’ll be maintaining, even once our house closes.

3 Tips to Make Your Home Show Ready-Clean — & Keep It That Way

3 Easy Tips for a Clean Home

#1. Make the bed everyday.

It seems like most people can be divided into one of two categories: Those who make their beds. And those who don’t.

Until a month ago, we were firmly in the “don’t” category. Oh, I wanted to be a bed maker; but I couldn’t seem to pull it off consistently. And my kids’ beds? Forget about it.

But with showings-at-any-minute as a motivator, I tasked each member of our family with making their bed when they got out of it — first thing in the morning. And you know what? It has made a huge difference!

I discovered that my room looks so much neater just with the simple change of making the bed. Plus, I’ve come to see that a made bed is one of those gateways to a clean bedroom – much like FlyLady’s shined sink is the gateway to a clean kitchen.

3 Easy Tips to Clean Your Home Clean

#2. Get rid of one-third of your stuff.

This is probably the real key to keeping a home show-ready clean, since even the smallest of spaces looks bigger and brighter when it’s clutter-free.

I’m a fan of de-cluttering anyway — I get visually overwhelmed when there’s too much going on in my house. (In college, I could never study for my finals or write a paper without first cleaning my room.) But before we put our house on the market, I got super serious about whittling things down even more.

I went thru every cabinet and closet. I cleared every storage space and flat surface — and then boxed up, sold, or donated roughly one-third of all of our stuff.

clean counters

If we hadn’t used it recently, or if it wasn’t worth it to pay to move it, I put it into the garage sale pile. I also threw aways several big black bags of garbage. Broken toys, single socks, puzzles with 47 out of 50 pieces — all went into the trash.

As it turns out, a totally decluttered home doesn’t just look more spacious, it is also far easier to keep clean. My kids still take stuff out and leave it all over the floor. They still strip down for the shower, littering the hallway and stairs with their dirty clothes. (Hello: Hamper.)

But instead of making me feel like the walls on closing in, this amount of stuff is really easy to pick up in 10 minutes or less. Before, when my home would cross a certain mess threshold, I’d start to despair – I’ll never be able to pick all this up — at which point, the mess started snowballing. Decluttering to this degree has thankfully kept us on “this side” of that threshold.

3 Simple Tips for Keeping a Clean Home

#3. Don’t wear shoes in the house.

The main level of my house is wood floors; only the upstairs bedrooms have carpets. Before I banned shoes in the house, my constant refrain was: “I sweep every day. How is there always so much dirt on the floor?!”

Over the past shoe-free month, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in the size of my dirt piles. I can even get away with skipping a day or two of sweeping.

We have a big rug by the front door and another by the garage door – shoes get left there. If the rugs start to feel too cluttery, I just throw all the shoes into one of a few baskets I keep under a bench by the front door.

Bottom line: It’s a small thing, but I’ve really found that bare feet keep your floors much cleaner.

What hacks have you discovered to keep your house clean & tidy? Anyone else go shoe-less inside?

Have you recently sold your home? What did you do to keep it show-ready?


  1. Yes to all of this. I loved how my house looked when it was show ready and am trying to keep the new house that way as well. The key is to toss anything you don’t want to pay to move. If you get to your new location and have a Goodwill bag, you’ve failed. Seriously. Paying by the pound is a huge motivator.

    Also, I found that everything I packed up to declutter (but keep) my kids didn’t miss at all, so I decluttered the garage again before we moved and did another round of donations/trash.

    • I found the same thing! I got rid of many kids’ toys after we arrived simply because my kids didn’t miss them while they were in storage.

    • Mara Strom says

      Totally agree! I’m hoping not to move anything extraneous, but I’m sure a few things will sneak their way in!

  2. Your home is beautiful and looks fantastic Mara – thanks so much for sharing! Hoping everything’s going smoothly as you all get ready to move 🙂

  3. No wonder your home sold so fast – so attractive! Don’t you wish you could have lived like that all the time? When we were showing our old house, we de cluttered so much that my neighbor said, “This looks like something out of Better Homes and Garden! How can you leave it?” Trust me – I never got comments like that the six years we lived there LOL .

    • Mara Strom says

      Oh Kathy – It’s so true! I must’ve said a dozen times, “I love this house now! I don’t want to leave it!”

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