These tips are so good that I wish that I had written them myself. Some of them apply to the upcoming holiday season too when we all have unexpected company stopping by, and especially when some people end up staying overnight or longer.

When your house is on the market, keeping it picture perfect can be really stressful. But it is possible to keep your home show-ready while life goes on.

Here are seven cleaning tips on how to do it:

#1 Invest in Clear Bins - The less stuff you have out, the less you have to keep tidy. Keep as few items in your home as possible. Thin out closets, garage, bookcases, TV armoires — any place clutter collects. Buy big, possibly clear plastic tubs which makes everything look uniform and move them out-of-the-way but accessible.

#2 Clean As You Go - When your home is on the market, cleaning isn't a thing you do; it's the way you live.

Assume you'll have a showing every day. So clean as you go. Every time you finish an activity or leave a room, make it your goal to look like you were never there.

-Deposit dirty dishes in the dishwasher or wash and stow them after each meal.

-Make the bed when you get up.

-Fold laundry straight from the dryer and put it away immediately.

You get the idea. This relieves a ton of stress at showing time.

#3 Use Only One Bathroom - Few areas of your home need to be as spotless for buyers as the bathroom

But also, you know, stuff happens in there. Every day. Sigh. Consider using only one bathroom while your home is on the market. The fewer toilets to scrub in a hurry, the better. And keep that one bathroom as near-perfect as possible while in use:

· Squeegee the tub or shower after every use.

· Wipe the sink and counter after every use, too: brushing your teeth, applying makeup, washing hands, spraying hairspray, etc.

· Clean the toilet and wipe down the floor each day.

#4 Tackle Odors Every Day - Odors are an instant turnoff for buyers, and new odors appear every darn day.

Start off on the right foot by paying a pro or doing your own super deep cleaning with a focus on smelly messes: grease build-up, stinky drains, musty basements, pets, etc.

Then, do a daily disinfectant sweep of your home's stinkiest spots:

· Wash your trash cans every time you take out a bag.

· Vacuum under furniture.

· Wipe down baseboards and window sills (where dust — thus, smells — get trapped).

· Do a careful cleaning of your stove and surrounding cupboards after you cook so tonight's dinner doesn't become tomorrow's turnoff for buyers.

#5 Rotate Kids' Toys and Books - If you have kids, you know containing the daily hurricane of toys is a challenge on a normal day.

When your home's on the market, it's time to get extra strategic. First step? Banish toys from all but one room. Whether it's a playroom or bedroom, keep the toys behind one door at all times. Then deal with quantity. Divide the whole toy collection into groups and designate tubs for each. The kids can play with one group at a time, and the rest go into a closet. If only so many toys are accessible, only so many toys can be everywhere when a buyer is on the way.

#6 Send Pets on Vacation - How they do not like showing season.

You're stressed because their fur is everywhere, and they're stressed because you're stressed, and stress makes them ... shed more. If you can send them to a friend or relative while your house is on the market, it can lower everyone's blood pressure and keep your house as hair and dander-free as possible.

If that's not an option, here are some alternative strategies:

· If you have more than one pet and enough household members, appoint each member their own pet and assign daily cleaning tasks: brush pets' fur, clean their bowls and eating areas, vacuum their favorite napping spot, etc.

· Take them away with you, or confine them to a crate or separate quarters when buyers come.

· If you have an old or sick pet you can't leave alone or take elsewhere, ask your agent to restrict showing times to when you can be there.

#7 Drive Away With the Laundry - No matter how showing-ready your home is at all times, there's one thing that's often tough to time perfectly: the laundry.

For many busy families, the massive laundry operation is always some stage of unfinished, and you just can't run the washer and dryer any faster. While you can do your best to stay on top of it, if you get a text that a buyer is on the way and you have piles of dirties awaiting their turn, toss them in a bag or basket, stow them in the car, and drive away. You may not be Martha-perfect, but buyers don't need to know that.

It's hard to explain to clients that more than one of these problems apply to them. They simply don't want to hear it. However eventually if their home isn't selling, they start getting the picture that you weren't trying to be mean by telling them what they didn't want to hear, you just wanted them to sell their house as quickly and painlessly as possible.. It's normal not to have a perfect home. We are not Stepford Wives. You can be more of a messy slob when you aren't trying to sell your home or when it's not the holiday season, otherwise the above tips are invaluable!

Source: Excerpts from House Logic by Kelley Walters

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