Kitchens tend to make the largest impressions on potential buyers. If you can keep the counter tops and sink clean, you are off to a great start! It is OK to have a few appliances on the counter, as long as they are in good condition and you have ample space. Get in the habit of putting dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or washing them immediately after use. Potential buyers will look in your fridge, pantry and cabinets, so keep them neat and organized. If you kitchen looks presentable, you just have one more thing to worry about...odors. Take out the trash as soon as it starts to smell. Cooking odors can be neutralized by opening windows, air fresheners or by leaving out cups of white vinegar overnight. You can also throw some old oranges and a few cinnamon sticks in a pot of water and simmer for a few hours, adding more water as needed.
Clearing clutter and closed storage are your best bets for living areas. Sort your mail as it comes in and keep old newspapers and magazines off of the coffee tables and couches. Limit items on the coffee/end tables to your remotes, 1-2 magazines, a candle or two and maybe a decorative piece. Keep children's toys in cabinets or storage ottomans. Keep coats hung up or in the closet, same goes for shoes.
Yes, potential buyers will look in your shower and maybe even use your toilet, so clean these weekly. Keep toothpaste, makeup, curling irons and hair products off of the bathroom sink. Use bathroom totes to contain everything and store underneath the sink or in a closet. Don't forget to make sure your bathroom mirror is clean!
Clutter is in the bedrooms is usually found near the bed, on the nightstand, or around the closets. You can leave a few things on the nightstand; glasses, a book or two, tissues, alarm clock, etc. Keep everything else in drawers or closed storage. Personal objects should be hidden from view. Purchase storage containers that can fit under the bed and when you get a showing notice, throw the clutter in the containers and slide under the bed.
Living in a staged home can be difficult, but it can also help you form habits that will make keeping your home clean, a heck of a lot easier.