Jason Robie: Simple spots around the house to keep clean

You survived round one! You made it through Thanksgiving and you are still alive and kicking! Perhaps at this point you are simply thankful that all of your relatives have finally gone home. This year it was just my girlfriend, her mom and me for a yummy turkey dinner. It was great, simple and we were on the couch by 7 p.m. For Christmas this year, we will have an additional five guests in the house: Mom, dad, Tyler (brother), Mel (his wife) and Lily (lovable greyhound). We are excited for them to be here and I haven’t seen Lily since July (oh, and it will be good to visit with the humans as well)!

One thing that we all do, regardless of our guests imploring us not to “make a fuss” is clean the house before they get here. As I was reviewing my task list of cleaning, it occurred to me that there are hot spots throughout the home that we all tend to forget about or miss during our whirlwind cleaning tours. These are also very common spots we see homeowners (sellers) miss when it comes time for a showing. If you are like me, you clean the house every week (or two). Basically, these are the spots that don’t tend to make the cut during those regular cleanings.

The first (and often grossest) are the ceiling light fixtures. I’m going to go ahead and assume that everyone reading this article can look up at their ceiling and say “Oh yeah, me too.” This is one of those areas that prospective buyers (and mothers-in-law) will notice almost as soon as they walk through the front door.

“As a buyer in the past, I’m always interested in the light fixtures around the home,” notes Badger Realty agent Roland Turgeon. “We can all spot the cheap ones and the overly ornate ones. I want to know what I’m going to have to replace if I buy,” he continued.

Roland is spot-on with this observation. While the buyers and guests may not be specifically interested in the cleanliness of the fixtures, they are still most certainly going to be looking at them much more closely than you and I.

Another not-so-pleasant trouble spot is the outside of the toilet. Of course everybody is going to clean their toilets and make sure that the most obvious and visible areas are spotless. But with family coming or a showing appointment coming up, it’s time to take a closer look. For some reason beyond the confines of logic, toilet makers continue to include the snake-like shapes on the sides of the porcelain. These are superb spots for dust, dirt and hair to collect. These are also spots that most of us skip right over during our weekly cleaning. Take a little extra time to wipe down the whole exterior of your commode. You’ll be amazed (and slightly horrified) at the difference it makes.

My parents are always fumbling around our kitchen for one thing or another. Whether it is finding sugar for the coffee or a spoon or a drinking glass, they are forever rummaging through every drawer and cabinet in the house. For this reason, and because potential buyers are going to want to test out your drawers and cabinet doors as well, it is a great idea to target these areas for cleaning. The biggest culprits are those drawer organizers. We can all hide a layer of dirt and crumbs under the piles of stuff in our “junk drawer.” But as soon as you put one of those handy organizers in place, the crumbs and dirt start to collect (and show!).

While you are in the kitchen, take a good look at your appliance handles. We touch them every single day without a thought. Last night, I made some scrumptious chicken fingers in a frying pan on the stove. The remnants, besides the pervasive smell of cooked olive oil, is little spots of grease on the stove knobs. These are typically really easy to remove and clean and the fridge and oven handles can be quickly shined up with a paper towel and some cleaner. If you tackle this the morning of the showing (or the arrival) your kitchen will shine and your appliances will even look newer!

Last but not least, be sure and clean all of the mirrors around your home. Nobody expects you to wash your windows this time of year, but the mirrors can always use a quick shine. Whether the bathrooms, closets or hallways, be sure to hit them all because someone will always stop for a quick look.

Cleaning your home in the springtime can be a bit of a daunting task. It includes the windows (inside and out), under the beds and appliances and maybe even a floor scrubbing or carpet cleaning. For the showing or the arrival of guests, just tackle these quick and simple spots and save the big stuff for the warmer weather. All of these trouble spots will be scrutinized and you can rest easy with one less thing on your mind. Now you just need to find a place for everyone to sleep!