In a little less than two months we’ll be moving to a new house. The coming weeks will be spent purging, organizing and packing all the stuff we’ve amassed over the 10 years we’ve lived here in our current abode. There will also be healthy doses of procrastinating and feelings of complete, overwhelmed chaos. Because, OHMIGOSH, we’re moving in less than two months with two kids and animals and a house packed FULL of stuff!

Here’s some advice: plan ahead where you can, but go through the process one day at a time.

After making the decision to place our house on the market, the next step was getting it ready to be shown. As in, make sense of all clutter, piles of stuff, and general things that make a “normal” lived in house…well…normal so that potential buyers can walk in and make a split-second decision as to whether or not they love it.

We may not be the perfect home-stagers, but after three weeks of showings and one open house, we have an offer and contract, so clearly we’ve done something right!

Here are five tips for showing your house with kids while it’s on the market:

Carve out one day to simply focus on de-cluttering and throwing things away.
This may seem like an impossible task, I realize. But the value of having a whole entire day (alone!) to sift through the things that have stacked up on your desk, lined the stairs, piled up along the kitchen counters, is invaluable. Throw stuff away, recycle and donate to a local charity. Clean off your surfaces and find a place to hide things that you need to keep, but don’t necessarily want lying around.

Make a check-list of all the things that need to be in place each morning.
This check-list will become your “showing Bible” of sorts. Remembering to do things like empty the garbage, cover open laundry baskets, clean the litter box, make the beds (well!) and open up all the blinds suddenly become easily forgettable as you’re getting ready to shuttle the kids off to school and get yourself ready for work. This checklist will keep you focused on making sure the “look” of the house is perfect in case you get a last minute walk-through request (yes, they happen).

Figure out what you’ll be doing during the showings.
Showings typically last an hour or two, so you’ll have to find out somewhere to be while they’re happening if it’s a day where you’re going to be home. You might want to set aside extra money in your budget to eat out, or to catch a movie. Or, you might want to peruse the free activities available in your community like the parks or the library. Either way, if you’re prepared with things to do in advance, you’ll thank yourself later.

Select the option for text message showing request alerts.
If your Realtor offers you the option to receive text messages when someone wants to see your house, take it! Each time a buyer’s Realtor wants to walk her customer through, you’ll get a text message with the date and time, as well as the option to approve the showing. This is so much easier than checking email, or managing phone calls and voicemails!

Look at your house with the eyes of a buyer.
You live in your house and you’re comfortable there. Your eyes overlook the things that a buyer or another Realtor would pick out as clutter or dirt. Those handprints placed on the windows from your cute 5-year old? Unicorn stickers lovingly adorned to the side of the bathroom vanity in the kids’ bathroom by your precious and artsy 9-year old? Fifty copies of O, The Oprah Magazine; Real Simple and Parents stacked up in the corner of the living room that you planned to read at some point, except you never seem to have the time? None of it is cute, artsy, precious nor endearing. It screams disorder, messiness and a house that’s crowded and cluttered. Put on your buyer glasses, pay attention to the details and clean! Or, hire a cleaning service. Ha!