Home Decor

Selling your house? Do a spring cleaning with a thorough checklist!

Here's a primer on what do to if you're thinking about putting your house on the market, or just doing a big clean
By Virginie Martocq

We're selling our home. Tomorrow. Or at least, we're putting it on the market tomorrow, and fingers crossed, will have it sold relatively quickly. I have to admit I feel somewhat ambivalent about it. I really love our house. We've raised our son in it, and welcomed our baby girl in it. But it's time to move on, and five years later, our house was looking rather messy. So with critical eyes, I scanned each room and mercilessly went about getting it ready to sell. And like most people I know, now that the house is pristine I think, why are we moving?

This is what it took to get it ready:

For one weekend, I took the kids away to my sisters, and my husband worked at removing all the clutter – broken, discarded or seldom used items from the house. The end result: the bookshelves hold books and a few trinkets, not piles of things; the toy cupboard closes; I can actually walk into the storage room; and I can see the walls of the garage.


I called up a handyman and equipped him with a long to do list, which individually, should have taken an hour each, but left ignored over five years, totalled two weeks of work.

That list included:

  • repainting all chipped baseboards, doors and casings
  • repainting the stairs to the basement
  • patching, sanding and painting damaged walls
  • tightening loose faucets, handles
  • re-grouting tiles, as needed
  • removing old calking and silicone and reapplying
  • installing last bits and pieces of baseboard in the basement

I called an upholstery cleaner and had the carpets, rugs and furnishings all steam cleaned while we were away on vacation.

I tidied my closet. (Okay, that's tonight's project, but I'm going to do it!)

I boxed up the kids' toys (or a good half of them), and removed all the clothes that no longer fit.


I tidied the linen closet.

I finished hanging the art that I never got around to hanging.


I tidied everything off of the kitchen counters.

I put fresh flowers in all the rooms.

I threw out old cosmetics, medicine etc. and tidied the bathroom counters and cabinets.


I washed all the windows, indoors and out. I think the house is at least 15% brighter!

Two weeks later, and about $2000 spent (most of which went to the handyman for all the sanding, patching etc, and the cleaning company), I am completely in love with my house again. And sell or no sell, I think I'll keep this to-do list and take a glance through it every spring!


Subscribe to our newsletters for our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.