This post was co-produced by Pickle Planet Moncton & Brent Ryan & the Ryan Realty Team with Keller Williams Capital Realty Moncton.

Selling your home is stressful – even more so if you have little ones at home, dumping toys on the floor and writing on walls between every showing. You want potential buyers to be imagining themselves in your home, not pitying you for having to deal with little ruffians and wondering how they’ll cover up the gauge little Johnny put in the wall last week.

Here are 10 quick tips that can help you give your home a little makeover and keep your dirty little secrets tucked out of sight.

Photo credit to: Pickle Planet Moncton

Be Prepared: Before you start showings, prepare some freezer meals that you can heat in the oven or the slow cooker – less mess to clean on busy days. Keep a ‘go bag’ of treats, toys, crafts, etc. (a super duty diaper bag!) on hand for quick escapes. Have a little cleaning caddy full of the essentials so you can quickly grab it, give everything the once-over, and then stash it out of sight.

Art Attack: Until you move, consider your home an art-free zone. Hide the markers, pack away the paint. If your kids love to colour, pick up some of the invisible ink books and markers that only work on certain paper. No one has time to be dealing with art accidents when staging a home!

Sneaky Storage: Clean and tidy is what will sell your home better than anything else, so keeping things organized should be at the top of your staging to do list. But we all know life with kids. You finally get them to bed the night before showing, you clean like a frenzied machine, get everything in order and spotless – and in the five minutes they’re in the house in the morning, it’s a disaster again. You need LOTS of quick storage solutions. Baskets in the living room, deacon’s benches in the entry, tasteful toy chests in the bedrooms. On a budget? You can often find fabric bins at the discount dollar stores, or cover large diaper boxes with solid, neutral wrapping paper.

Pack It Up: If your family is anything like ours, you have toys spilling out of, well, everywhere! And let’s be honest, more than half of them haven’t been touched in a month or longer. Take the time to sort through them. Have one of your sneaky storage bins beside you; only keep what can easily fit in. Pack up the rest, either to take to your new home or to finally get rid of for once and for all!

That Goes for Clothes, Too! How much clothing do you really need? Cut the clutter – and the laundry piles! – by packing up your family’s clothing before the move. And we don’t just mean the out-of-season stuff; consider cutting down your wardrobe to about a week’s worth. This can also help with another staging goal: less furniture. Maybe you can move a dresser or two out of the house by paring down your wardrobe for a bit.

Paint It Over: Neutral colours will be your friend when it comes to selling your home – especially in the kids’ rooms. It might be hard, but take down those decals and tone down the bright colours. Small details like thinking about how many coats of paint it will take to cover Sadie’s bright pink polka dots can make or break a buyer’s mind. Make it up to the kids by taking them out to pick up paint chips and have them create vision boards for their new rooms. Give them some control over the new, so they aren’t as upset about having to give up the old.

Make It Theirs: We understand that it’s the little things that make your house a home. That cheesy figurine your son picked out himself for your birthday present, the family photos you treasure, the kids’ latest artwork. But you want people to see this as their new home, not yours. Personal touches make prospective buyers feel they are intruding on your space. Even though you haven’t moved yet, it will help sell your home if you pack up those treasures now. And the more that’s packed up, the less the kids have to mess up!

Free The Fridge: Take everything off of your fridge! It’s a simple task (depending on how many birth announcements, shopping lists, school reminders, and sentimental magnets you have on there), but it makes a HUGE impact. A fridge with anything on it seems to clutter up every kitchen. If there are a few must-haves you keep there (family schedules, etc.), grab a little message bag folder at a discount store and create a designated hiding spot in a kitchen cupboard. Before a viewing, sweep everything into the bag and tuck it away.

First Impressions: Your home’s exterior is just as important as the interior! You want potential buyers to see the house and its potential, not your family’s garden gnomes and faded toys. If you need to keep some bikes and outdoor toys around, keep them organized in the backyard or garage. Invest in an outdoor storage box that can move with you. Put the kids to work keeping the weeds at bay. And don’t let them play with bubbles or sidewalk chalk just before a showing. A little extra screen time might just be your best staging friend!

Bucket List: Have a list of activities you can do on a moment’s notice. Make it up based on what works for your family; maybe it’s a trip to each local library, a day at the mall, a walk through each park, a drive to visit grandparents, etc. You’re going to be thinking of so many other things, it will help to have a go to list of ideas you can work your way through.

A bonus tip: ask for an honest opinion, and listen to it. Your real estate agent has your best interest at heart. If they suggest some changes to your home, understand they are offering help, not criticism. What makes your house your home is just that – personal touches that make it yours. You’re trying to convince someone else to make it theirs.

Oh, and one last tip: take it easy on yourself. Selling a house is a stressful experience. It can get overwhelming, especially when you’re also dealing with kids. If you have an open house scheduled, why not book your kids a drop off playdate or babysitter and treat yourself to something relaxing. You deserve it!