the big, bad house decluttering series. part three.

Week three. Anybody still hanging tough? It’s ok, I’m losing steam too.

We’ve all been sick around here. So for a week I’ve been running on very little sleep–and a steady stream of Art Mart coffee, my kids’ Valentine’s candy and Sudafed. So, ya–I’m running on empty.

Let’s take it easy this week, shall we? The fridge and freezer. The pantry. The kitchen cabinets and your dining room buffet and/or hutch. And then if you have any energy left this weekend, we’ll tackle some deep-cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom.

Nothing too crazy. Just take it one day at a time this week–we can do it.

And good news! Mark Waldhoff–Licensed Realtor with Waldhoff Gard & Associates is back to coach us through week three with more expert tips. Mark is a licensed broker with Keller Williams Realty in Champaign. Your house is getting so organized and clean, right? Now’s the time to call Mark for a free home market analysis. He’s happy to meet with you, answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home AND provide you with details about your current home’s value–which is obviously going up as you’re completing this blog series.

So let’s get after it. Part three, here we go. (Here’s part one and part two, if you’re just joining us.)

Week Three–Cabinets, and Kitchens and Bathrooms–Oh My!!

Monday–Fridge and Freezer

  • I spent the morning yesterday reading all about fridge and freezer organization. There are hundreds of articles on Pinterest about food storage hacks. I think I read half of them, but I didn’t do anything they said to do. I have a food storage system that works. You probably do too. So this week, we’re just going to concentrate on wiping down your fridge and freezer surfaces and drawers and getting rid of expired items. You can handle that.
  • Empty everything from your fridge first. Shelves, drawers, doors all of it. Spray every surface with a non-toxic cleaning spray–let is sit a minute or two to get to work on any stickiness or spills. Wipe everything down. If you can take shelves and drawers out, do that and wipe all the cracks and crevices. Also wipe the tray under your water/ice dispenser. Gross, right?
  • Check every item’s expiration date–and pitch the old stuff.  I had some salad dressing that expired in 900 BC, gotta go. Combine any like-items. I know you have three bottles of almost empty yellow mustard, just like me. Combine them.
  • I found one container hidden in the back of the fridge with mystery contents, covered in mold. I can’t even go there. Nothing grosses me out more than the “mystery content container” hidden in the back of the fridge. I didn’t open it, it went straight into the trash, Tupperware and all. Don’t judge.
  • Place all the items back in your fridge, grouping like-items together.
  • Repeat this same process with your freezer. And empty your ice-maker of the old, funky ice and make a fresh batch. Sometimes it’s a good idea to do this once in awhile if you don’t use much ice.
  • Once you’re done, marvel at all the food you’d forgotten you had. Ha. And get to work eating up the old stuff this week before you grocery shop again.
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Found four bags of frozen breastmilk from 2012. WTH?! Time to let these go.

Mark says, “The fridge and freezer are interesting areas. 4 out of 5 potential homebuyers won’t peek inside, but if someone does it’s best to have yours neat and clean. It’s not a deal-breaker, but a clean fridge and freezer is a reflection of your overall housekeeping and first impressions of your home are lasting for a potential buyer.”

Tuesday–Pantry

  • Take everything out of your pantry (or whatever you use to store dry goods, I have cabinets), off the shelves and the floor. Wipe down any surfaces.
  • Check every item’s expiration date–and pitch the old stuff. Combine any like-items.
  • Group like-items together. And place all the items back in your pantry.
  • Here are some pantry organizational hacks–knock yourself out if you have the energy. Maybe someday, I’ll get after these.
  • If you find items that aren’t expired yet, but you don’t think you’ll ever use them–bag them up and drop them by the food pantry. Here’s a link to The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s website  with some donation guidelines Their warehouse hours are 7am-4:30pm Monday through Thursday and 7am-12:30pm on Friday. No donation is too big or two small. They also accept unopened toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food.
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Mark says, “If you have a large pantry, make sure it’s neat and clean–and organized. If you have a small pantry or just shelves, they should be staged. Make sure there are open spaces and the impression of extra space. All potential buyers love extra storage space!”

Wednesday–Kitchen Cabinets

  • Take everything out of your cabinets. Wipe down the surfaces.
  • Check dishes, glasses and service items for cracks, chips and damage. And ask yourself if you really need that item. Have you used it in the past year? Will you use it in the coming year? Is there a better place to store that item?
  • Separate everything accordingly–into three piles–keep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-items together. And place everything you’re keeping back into your cabinets.
  • Repeat this process with any bar cabinets you may have.

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Mine were all in pretty good shape, but I wiped them down a little.

Thursday–Dining Room Buffet and/or Hutch

  • Take everything out of your buffet and/or hutch. Wipe down the surfaces, and the dishes too if they’re dusty. Mine were.
  • Check dishes, glasses and service items for cracks, chips and damage. And ask yourself if you really need that item. Have you used it in the past year? Will you use it in the coming year? Is there a better place to store that item? I get that you may store antiques or heirlooms here, so keep what makes you happy, but get rid of the other stuff.
  • Separate everything accordingly–into three piles–keep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-items together. And place everything you’re keeping back into your buffets and hutches.

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Again, mine weren’t too bad. I gave them a quick dusting. My mother-in-law’s dining room hutch–on the other hand–could use some attention. Ha! Love you Nanny Pat.

Friday–Oven, Microwave, Dishwasher, Counters

  • If your oven has a self-cleaner, fire that baby up. Just make sure you’re home to monitor  the entire cycle as a safety precaution (it gets so hot). Wipe whatever ashes are left from the bottom of the oven once it’s completed and cooled. If you want to clean your oven by hand, here’s the way to do it.
  • Spray your microwave with some non-toxic cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe down all the surfaces. Here are some other cool ways to clean it.
  • You can buy dishwasher cleaner. If you do that just run a dishwasher cleaning cycle, as directed. I use a cup a vinegar in my normal cycle once a month and that keeps the build-up away. If you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty, here’s the way to do it..
  • Wipe down all your countertops with some non-toxic cleaning spray, and also any appliances you have sitting on your counter. Now’s a good time to decide if you really need that item to sit on your counter. Do you use it often? If not, find another place to store it.

Mark says, “Just like the fridge and freezer, most potential buyers won’t check the oven. But if one does it’s important for it not to look like a college kid has been baking pizzas in it for four years straight.”

*He’s saying this because he saw mine. And mine looks like this. Ha

Saturday–Showers, Toilets, Mirrors

  • I’m a fan of a good old scrub brush for shower and bath cleaning. I spray all my surfaces with a tub and tile cleaner and let it sit a few minutes, and then I scrub everything with a soft-bristled scrub brush. It takes the majority of soap scum and hard water off tile and glass doors. Just do it while you’re showering and then rinse everything off. Clean the shower head and check your shower curtain liner now too. Gross? Is it time for a new one? Dollar Store for the win, folks.
  • Do the same for your bathtub. Scrub-a-dub-dub.
  • Toilets–my least favorite thing to clean. But it’s time to really clean them all well. I do use an anti-bacterial spray for my toilets. And don’t forget to clean around the base.
  • Windex all your mirrors, in your bathroom and everywhere else. I used a coffee filter to wipe all the mirrors and windows in my house yesterday and it worked like a charm. I’ve heard newspaper works too.

Mark says, “The master bath is one of the key zones for potential house buyers. Your shower shouldn’t have a large inventory of shampoos and soaps. Hide your shower scrubber and washcloths. No one wants to see the inside of your toilet bowl either–no matter how clean–so keep the lid closed during any showings. Also make sure the shower is mildew free. Check the corners and seams, and the shower head. Those areas need to be in pristine condition.”

. . .

Week three. You made it. And the end is near–just one more week! Phew.

If you don’t finish organizer and deep-cleaning all these areas during the week, just catch-up on the weekend. I built in a day off for you, just in case.

Let me know how your week goes in the comments. And thanks to Mark Waldhoff for all the good tips. We’ll see you back here next Monday for the fourth and final post in the series.

3 thoughts on “the big, bad house decluttering series. part three.

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