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Real Estate

An important part of the home-selling process is showing it to prospective buyers. Unfortunately, that means tidying up even more frequently than you normally would, so buyers can focus on the house's features rather than your household items.  While it may not be possible to keep your home completely mess-free,when you have children, below are some tips for keeping the chaos to a minimum.

Under-bed storage.  If there's enough space under their beds, encourage kids to keep their rooms tidy with rolling plastic or rattan storage bins. Then use an oversized comforter or quilt - or strategically placed blankets -  to hide the bins from sight.

Built-in storage.  It may be impossible to keep things from leaving kids' rooms and entering the living room.  Utilize furniture with built-in storage, such as ottomans, or clear a drawer in the entertainment center specifically to tuck away any roaming toys, games or other items.

Baskets and trunks.  If you don't have much built-in storage or discreet space to take advantage of, consider buying decorative trunks or baskets with lids that you can place around your home.

Suitcases.  If you need to store toys in the back of a closet, put them in suitcases that you can easily roll and move rather than bulky plastic bins.  Suitcases are also a more discreet storage option than bins when buyers glance inside the closet to gauge how much space is available.

Donation.  While your kids may feel attached to every toy, stuffed animal or plaything they own, it may be time to downsize the collection.  Suggest that they start a donation pile, so that their unused items can bring joy to other kids instead.