Selling Your House While Living In It with a Toddler

Have you ever considered selling your house while living in it with a toddler? How to do all the needed updates and staging with a young child underfoot.

We are going to try and sell our house.

Considering today’s market, that statement alone feels like an exercise in futility. But my stress these days isn’t so much about falling house prices or competition from other homes on my street, it’s about trying to get a house ready to show when you live with a two-and-a-half-year-old. Selling your house while living in it is hard for anyone, but with a toddler underfoot? Forget about it.

Everybody remembers their mom saying something to the effect of, “Well, I guess we just can’t have nice things.” She said it after we smashed her heirloom clock while using the living room couch for a trampoline. She said it when we played tag right into her curio shelf or fingerpainted on the walls. My sister and I thought Mom was just a big stick in the mud. I mean, who really likes vintage Frankoma pottery anyway?

But now, I get it. Boy do I get it. First, simply having a child has cut down on the time that my husband and I have had to do routine maintenance. Our living room ceiling has water damage, our front porch steps needed to be re-concreted, our walls want painting, the closets… don’t get me started about the closets. But second, a child can do a lot of damage. Little One is by no means a terror – she’s not destructive on purpose – but there are only so many times you can spill apple juice on a laminate wood kitchen floor before it starts to look crummy.

And so, the projects have begun. Thank God for a generous tax refund and a handyman who charges reasonable prices. But I won’t be able to rest once the walls are freshly painted, the garbage disposal is repaired, and our house is posted on the MLS. No, then I will have to try and keep the house looking sparkling clean and uncluttered! With a two-year-old living there!

And no, in case you were wondering, that is *not* my house in the photograph. It’s just what I feel like my house looks like right about now.

Hey! Maybe if we wait to sell until she’s old enough to scrub the bathroom floor by herself, the market will have improved. There’s an idea…

2 thoughts on “Selling Your House While Living In It with a Toddler

  1. I’ve had so many people tell me: “Now that you have a child, your house will never be clean again.” Oh, how right they are. Even though I try a lot harder at keeping it clean than I did before (b/c I don’t want cat or dog hair become the staple of O’s diet). I can’t imagine having a house clean enough for possible open houses/whatnot. Good luck!

  2. JenM NY, NY says:

    A friend of mine–with a 2.5yo and one on the way–selling her place has done something that seems to have worked to keep the clutter down and make the touch-up cleaning easier. Not easy, just easier. She and her husband rented a storage unit and put a lot of the extras in it–like the extra dresser, a desk that became a repository for junk, baby toys they kept in a closet for #2, etc. They also went to Target or somesuch and bought various baskets; some are nice/presentable and others are the plastic kind. They do two things before open houses and before a quick showing–first, she says they use the baskets for the junk that accumulates on the tables (mail, etc.) Then, they put a decorative blanket over top, sometimes a small pillow, too. With the plastic boxes, they do a quick dump… if it doesn’t have a place, it goes in the box–a game they play with their son. A few hours before an open house, they take the boxes (I think they have three or four) to the car or storage place. One of them takes their son to the playground and the other cleans. If it’s a quick showing, they tidy up and put the boxes in the closet. It’s not ideal and it doesn’t solve it all, but it has made a difference and reduced the amount of “stuff” around the place. Also, they went from having a cleaning person in twice a month to every week to keep up with it while they try to sell.

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