Home staging – it’s time to clean! You’ve set your mind on selling your home and realize the importance of home staging. Cleaning is the task that most people seem to dread more than anything. Nobody really likes house cleaning in the first place, right? Getting out the vacuum cleaner and all those attachments, cleaning toilets and don’t forget those windows! Cleaning your home from top to bottom is as important a step in getting your home staged as any other. The best way to start is to create a checklist. Just as de-cluttering one room at a time helps keep you on track without overwhelming you, having a cleaning checklist can help break up what seems like a huge task into something more manageable. You’ll want to try to cover the following areas: 1. Outside. Yes, the outside needs cleaning just as much as the inside. Some examples of areas to consider outside are: Siding – aluminum siding may need repainting, vinyl siding can be cleaned, cedar or wood siding may need painting or staining Windows – the outside of the windows is as important as the inside since light has to travel from the outside in. Walkways and entryways – sweep debris and power wash if necessary to make your entrance shine. Front doors and light fixtures – clean away the cobwebs, bird nests and dirt that you might otherwise be willing to overlook on a daily basis. This is your first impression and it needs to count. Patios and decks – sweep the leaves and other buildup off decks and patios and don’t forget to clean your patio furniture. Dirty patio furniture says you don’t spend time outside, so why should the buyers? 2.. Inside. There will be a veritable laundry list of things to do inside, so it’s probably best to break up your list by room and tackle them one at a time. Kitchens – floors, cabinets, counters, windows and fixtures should be the obvious ones. Don’t overlook cleaning out the insides of cabinets and pantries and the refrigerator (even if the refrigerator isn’t being sold with the house, people will look in them – it reflects on how you keep up your home). Baths – floors, shower, tub, sinks, counters, cabinets and windows. Don’t forget to clean inside the cabinets here, too. Serious buyers open everything! Bedrooms – carpets, furniture, windows. No, the buyers aren’t going to snoop through your dresser drawers, but any built-ins are fair game for inspection since they come with the house. Living room/family room/great room – flooring, furniture, windows. Make every inch sparkle. If you have stains on the carpet, take care of them. If the kids have marked up the walls, clean them up or repaint if needed. Pet hair on the furniture is definitely going to get noticed. Foyers and laundry rooms – floors, walls, windows and any built-ins are essential, but don’t overlook the closets. If the coat hangers are covered in an inch of dust, that says something and it isn’t positive. Basements – make sure you get those cobwebs in the ceiling rafters. Nothing scares away buyers in basements more than spiders, except perhaps water damage! Garages – sweep the floors, clean off exposed shelving, remove the cobwebs and dead bug collection and wash any windows. Don’t forget to clean the garage door when you’re doing the siding outside! If the task is too much for you to handle, consider bringing in a professional cleaning crew (Kays Quality cleaning). It may well be worth the cost to get your house looking the way it should. For as long as your home will be on the market, it needs to remain spotless. If you spend a great deal of time and money getting the house showroom ready and let everything fall apart by the following week, you’re back at square one again. When you plan your budget for home staging, it might be wise to include cleaning services as well.