Messes and More: How to Sell a Home with Young Children

Children toys should be hidden during an open house.
Children toys should be hidden during an open house.

Selling a home is stressful. You stage a house to reflect the spaciousness of the floor plan and show how the rooms can accommodate different people. Toys, sticky messes, and baby gates are a distraction and limits the buyers the home will appeal to. Staging a home can make rooms unlivable and inconvenient for family use. Some of the objects you may deem necessities detract from the overall appeal of your house for buyers.

Buyers often come into homes with a singular focus: light, open, and airy rooms. They want to imagine their life in the home, not the one it currently possesses. Here are the easiest ways to keep your home livable while appealing to a mass market.

Rent a storage unit.
One or two weeks before your first showing, rent a storage unit. This is the place for clutter that does not qualify as necessary for everyday living, but is too valuable to be tossed out. Extra furniture should be included in this pile so rooms feel bigger.

For children, parting with toys can be an exceptionally difficult and trying experience. Have kids split their toy inventory in half. Half goes to the storage unit and half stays. This way they will remain entertained, while significantly cutting down on wasted space. You can rotate toys in and out so that activities remain fresh and new. A good rule of thumb is the rule of threes. Children are only allowed to take three toys out at a time. That way if there is an unexpected last minute showing, you can easily stow three toys back in the bin.

Keep meals to hard floors.
The logic behind this tip is simple. Hard floors are easier to clean. Even if your dining room table is in a carpeted room, put up a folding table in the kitchen where tile will catch the messes. It may seem inconvenient at first, but it’s much less stressful than scrubbing spilled SpaghettiO’s from the carpet thirty minutes before a showing.

Eliminate smells.
No one likes the smell of a dirty diaper. No one. You may think the odor is minimal, but to a fresh nose, it is very noticeable. No ifs, ands, or buts about it: you need to get a diaper disposal system that seals in the diapers, rather than just using a trashcan or diaper pail.  Not only this, but the disposal should be emptied right before every showing. Scents tend to also attach surprisingly well to clothes. Kids run, sweat, and spill leaving a trail of smell in their wake. If you don’t have time to do a load of laundry, at least throw the offenders in the washing machine to trap the odors.

Ask for their help!
Children like to be included. Enroll their services and turn preparing for home shows into a game or incentive. Participating in adult activities encourages mature behavior and positive self esteem. Set aside tasks for kids ranging from putting toys away to cleaning dishes.

Selling your family home doesn’t have to be a disaster. With the right tips you can turn this stressful experience into an exciting one.


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