Getting ready for an open house is incredibly stressful. Preparing to display your house to potential buyers, while still living in that house, can feel like an endless struggle. Throw some kids and pets into the mix, and the task becomes near impossible. To help you out, we’ve broken down a checklist of tasks, counting down to the big day. Just pencil these into your planner, and you will be open house ready in no time.

One Month Out

  • Rent a storage unit or pod. Declutter every single room, and store half of your belongings in the storage unit. You want the space to look as minimalistic as possible. Be sure to remove all family photos and personal touches. You want the viewers to imagine their own families in the home.
  • If you have children or pets, arrange for their care for the day of the open house (and potentially the day or two leading up to it).
  • Hire a contractor to take care of any larger maintenance issues that you can’t fix yourself. Brick + Ember Outfitters can handle all your masonry repair needs.
  • Schedule a chimney sweep with B+E.
  • Book an interior cleaning service and an exterior power-washing service for the week of the open house.

3 Weeks Out

  • Repaint any bold walls with a nice neutral color. Touch up any chipped areas. Don’t forget to freshen up the front door.
  • Buy a new welcome mat, new house numbers, fresh linens and any other staging accessories.
  • Organize your remaining belongings neatly.
  • Rearrange your furniture if necessary.

2 Weeks Out

  • Deep clean. Make sure you get every fixture, every baseboard, every cobweb.
  • Take care of any gardening or landscaping tasks.

1 Week Out

  • Stage your home with the accessories. Lay out the new welcome mat.
  • Make sure that every closet, cabinet and drawer looks spacious and organized.
  • Weather permitting, open all the windows for a few hours to air out the house.

Open House Week

  • Buy ready-made cookie dough, and have cookie sheets and a nice platter on hand.
  • Buy fresh fruit, flowers and plants to display, bringing some life and color into the space.
  • Take care of any last-minute clutter
  • Collect sales brochures from your realtor.
  • Put up signs around the neighborhood.
  • Lay fresh logs in the fireplace.

Open House Day

  • Store any valuables or personal documents at your office or at a friend’s house.
  • Clean the windows and mirrors one last time.
  • Stow away any countertop appliances in the kitchen and any toiletries in the bathrooms.
  • Open the curtains and blinds and turn on all the lights.
  • Put out the fresh linens.
  • Light a fire in the fireplace (if it’s cool enough).
  • Light some scented candles.
  • Bake the cookies and set them out with a nice note. Maybe brew some coffee too.

Once you’ve completed all that prep, get out of the house. Let your realtor do his or her job. During the open house, treat yourself to a relaxing outing; you’ve earned it! Your house is sure to be sold in no time.