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Herding children is like herding cats, except when a cat gets jam on its paw it’ll lick it clean. Either way if you are looking to sell you’re home with a cat or a kid, you’ll likely need to find a way to herd them just the same. How do you manage to sell your home with young children running amok?

Be Honest with The Youngins

While children may not know how to work a factorial or how to reason with annoying neighbors, they do have intelligence of a very different kind. They know when somethings ‘up’ and nothing you do will stop them from wondering what that is. Children understand and listen a lot more than they are given credit for.

Sit them down for a serious, but exciting discussion! If you frame the concept well, they might be all for it. Tell them why you’re moving, that you’ll be going to a better house, or be closer to loved ones. If they already know what’s up, the upset tension of trying to solve the mystery won’t force the tension to rise.

Declutter, Strategically

When selling a house, the goal is to make it look cozy but impersonal. You have to go for the Blue Steele Look, the blank character in a movie surrounded by interesting people for the audience to imprint themselves on. Your house needs to have life, but one a viewer could imagine themselves in.

Your children’s toys do not do that. You’re going to need to take down their drawings, put away their stuffed animals, and remove their doodles on the walls. It’s best to do this over time. Start with the things they may not notice, such as some images pinned to the fridge, the teddies they outgrew, or puzzles they finished once already. You can move on from there and begin packing away with strategy. They’ll need to be packed anyway.

All toys that do need to stick around until it’s really moving time need to be in their designated bedrooms. Not every person viewing your home will have children and need to be able to imagine a child-free environment. Keep the living room clean and simple as you can and let the child things stay in the children’s rooms.

Get Them to Help

You can Mary Poppins your way through this. Maybe it sounds impossible to get tiny humans to go along with a big task like moving house, but it is possible. Plus, if you involve them, then chances are they can feel empowered and like they are helping.

Gamify packing! Tell them how for every bit that they do (something age appropriate such as handing mom and dad shirts for very little ones) can earn them a sticker. Whatever will intrigue your child can do. Have them help you pick what you donate or keep around. Let them feel included and it can go a long way.

Restrictions Can Save Your Hide

When selling a home, people will want to come and see it in person, obviously. The problem is when they want to see it. No restrictions might mean you get a half an hour notice at 6:30, and you’ll have to rush to clean the place while your kids are munching on their Spaghetti-O’s.

Have enough rules in place to keep yourself sane. A day’s notice means you can collect your thoughts and your things, clean up, and book a wonderful trip to the park while someone goes on tour, and no one will show up as you just got your toddler settled down for nap time.

Selling a house with children around makes the process of selling that much more complicated. On the bright side, it won’t go on forever, and each day brings you closer to the end goal of a wonderful new home. It won’t be stress free, but you can make a bright side by showing your kids that this is just their next big adventure.