Getting your home “showing-ready” can be overwhelming for any seller, outgoing renter, or even party host. But let me let you in on a secret: Your house doesn’t have to pass a white-glove test to impress buyers or guests. It does, however, need to at least look clean and tidy. Thankfully, professional home stagers have an arsenal of cleaning tricks that will leave your home looking sparkling. The best part? If you follow their advice, you’ll only spend minutes — not hours — cleaning.
Here, seven of their most clever solutions. Not trying to sell your house? Remember these tips the next time you have friends coming over.
1. Pull out that hand steamer.
Grime on glass shower doors or curtains can make your bathroom look grubby. To remove them in a flash, use a handheld clothing steamer, suggests Justin Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer, a Pacific Northwest design agency. You can also use a steamer to clean your cabinet hardware, stovetop, and more.
Read more: I Added a Clothing Steamer to My Kitchen Cleaning Kit — And Cleaning Will Never Be the Same
2. Pick up a magic eraser.
Scuffs or scratches on walls can signal to buyers that a space hasn’t been taken care of properly. To quickly remove these imperfections with minimal effort, Cathy Lorenz of New York City-based Cathy Lorenz Designs recommends buffing with a magic eraser.
Related: 7 Things You Should Never Do with a Magic Eraser
3. Get some toothpaste.
Have an unsightly nick or teeny hole in your white walls and running short on time? Lorenz says to skip the spackle for now. Instead, dab a bit of white toothpaste in the crevice to give the appearance of a patch.
4. Clean up your cords.
While your phone chargers and appliance cords may not register as clutter to you, a potential buyer may take notice. Marty Basher, a home organization expert with Lakewood, New Jersey-based Modular Closets, recommends unplugging and stashing any stray cords. For any cords that need to stay plugged in, Basher says to get them out of the way by running them along baseboards or even under rugs (just pull them out after the showing as they can overheat and start a fire!)
Related: The Smartest Ways to Deal with Cords on Your Kitchen Counter
5. Let the outside in.
A home’s smell can affect how clean a person perceives it. Open the windows to quickly air out bad odors before the showing (just make sure there are screens so as to not invite in bugs!), says Caroline Harmon, a trends analyst at Lowe’s. She also suggests bringing in plants from other rooms to add to a clean, calm, and relaxed vibe.
Read more: 5 Ways to Make Your House Smell Amazing
6. Grab the baking soda
Have a piece of upholstered furniture that smells a bit funky? Lorenz recommends sprinkling some baking soda on the fabric, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming it up.
7. When all else fails: Hide it
Got ugly electric sockets or other unsightly features you’d like to disguise? Hide ’em with something better looking, like framed art, for a relaxed and modern vibe, says Marlene Fao of London-based My Mindful Home.
Also, if there’s a bedroom, loft, garage, or garden shed that’s not being shown, Fao says to feel no shame about using the space as temporary mess overfill! Prepping your home for guests is hard enough as it is—this is all about advantageously using your space.
Got a little more time on your hands and want to make your space really shine to potential buyers? Take on these five essential staging moves.
This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 7 Brilliant Tricks Home Stagers Use When They Don’t Have Time to Clean
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