12 In Life

Getting Your House On The Market With a Toddler (When You Don’t Have Family Around to Help)

On Friday we officially listed our house on the market, and the process of getting it in tip-top shape with a toddler and dog was quite daunting! Actually, it was freakin’ stressful and exhausting if we’re really being honest! When we first met with our realtor, he basically gave us a week to get it completely ready for the photographer before going live. Well technically, 6 days. And holy smokes, I didn’t think it was possible but we got it done! Since we don’t have family in town, and most of our friends are busy with kids themselves, it was up to me and Adam to knock it out and make sure it happened. Turns out, we are quite the team when under pressure and I am so proud of us for pulling it off. I thought I’d share how we got our house ready to be listed all on our own, with a toddler, and without any help.

Basically, it all comes down to working together, hiring professionals, and killing it at bed time!

tips for getting house on market with toddler

Here’s how it all went down.

  • Reserve a storage unit, and pick up boxes and/or tubs. We used a local Uhaul storage unit less than a mile from our house, and bought maybe a dozen cardboard boxes from Walmart.
  • Take everything off the walls, especially anything personal or identifiable, remove nails, patch holes, and locate/pick up paint to fix said holes. Thankfully we had the correct old gallons of paint in the garage so we double checked the dates then picked up a pint of each color we needed.
  • Take HUGE advantage of daycare, nap time, and bed time. The second that Adeline went to school or fell asleep, it was game on like donkey kong. It’s nearly impossible to do anything while she’s awake, so we really had to be productive when she wasn’t around. (And I was still working full time. Thankfully though, Adam was able to be home since he’d accepted his new job/finished up at his old job.)
  • Let them help. When Adeline was around, I tried to let her feel important by helping me put things in boxes, or help me “carry” things up to the front door for Daddy to take out.
  • Divide and conquer. Adam took charge of the garage and then we split up the rooms inside as best we could. But it mostly came down to forming an assembly line: I would box things up inside, and he would run things out to the truck and over to the storage unit.
  • Clean out your closets as much as you can! I took care of this task, because I’m the more relentless one when it comes to getting rid of stuff. People will look in your closets, so if you’re not using it, take it to the storage unit! Don’t forget your toddler’s closet – any clothes they’re no longer wearing, shoes that don’t fit, now is the time to get it all out of the way.
  • Pack up any winter clothes, or bulky clothing that take up extra space. 
  • Minimize the toys. We took all of our big baby gear/equipment to the storage unit, and then put any of A’s “big” toys away in her closet so she couldn’t dig them out. Then we really limited the toys in the living room, and only left out what would fit in the boxes under the TV.
  • Furminate/brush the dog as much as humanly possible. The days leading up to listing the house, I tried to furminate her as much as I could so every time she came in inside maybe she’d shed a little less.
  • Make any major repairs that might immediately turn off a buyer NOW. The glass in our sliding back door was completely fogged up, and had been for the past couple years but we just kept putting it off. We were able to get an estimate, and get a company out to completely replace the glass for us before our photographer came. It certainly wasn’t a small expense, but it made a huge difference and would be one less thing for a buyer to argue.
  • Hire a lawn care company ASAP. I knew we would be needing this, so I had already done my homework and picked out a guy that I really liked, and let him know a tentative timeline. Then, when I contacted him again it was quick and easy to get him in a pinch! I was also sure to get multiple estimates on what we wanted done. This is obviously something you could do yourself, but be honest with yourself – if you don’t have time to do it well, then hire someone that can!
  • Hire a professional house cleaner. Suck up your pride, and do it. I had NEVER hired any sort of cleaner before so I had no idea what to expect, but after she was finished it left me wondering why on earth I hadn’t been hiring her every few months the past few years! Seriously, amazing. Give yourself some grace, admit that you can’t do everything, and hire someone else who can! Our lady was able to swoop in behind us after we had decluttered the majority of the house and really give it a deep clean!
  • Make sure your realtor has arranged for a professional real estate photographer to do your listing photos. Make sure you’ve seen their work, and know what kind of photos they’ll take of your house. The last thing you want is to go live with your house on the market and be disappointed with the photos. The photos of your house are SO important, and I will be forever thankful our real estate agent had a great guy!
  • Do anything you can to odor-neutralize! Candles, Febreze, windows open, anything and everything to get any sort of smell out of your house!
  • Board your dog if possible! We strategically listed our house right before a weekend where we would be out of town so we were boarding Truckee anyways, but we ended up keeping her boarded through the first several days we were home so she’d be out of the way for showings. And because our house was completely spotless and odor free!
  • Meal plan non-messy meals. After you’ve spent days cleaning your kitchen, you need to make sure the next few meals you cook don’t make a huge mess!
  • Stick together, be patient with each other, you’re on the same team. Remember that you only have each other to get this done, so don’t waste time getting frustrated!
  • Try to keep things as normal as possible for the toddler in your home. While we touched every square inch of the house, and greatly decluttered every room, we really didn’t change anything about Adeline’s room. I wanted to make sure her space still felt normal to her, and didn’t feel chaotic like the rest of the house. We cleaned out her closet, and took down any pictures of her, but other than, we left it mostly unchanged.

Our house has only been on the market for a few days, and I’m already learning the importance of patience, and positivity. I’m anxious to get this show on the road, but I know that the perfect buyer will come along at the perfect time. God has orchestrated everything so far, I know he won’t leave us hanging now!

selling your house with a toddler

Good luck!



  • Reply
    Audrey Dawkins
    May 17, 2017 at 5:12 am

    months The hard part is keeping it show ready…we have a messy teenager, a 9 year old and two dogs……I am near about ready to give it away 9 months in….I just keep praying to be patient

  • Reply
    Heather @Lunging Through Life
    May 17, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Girl you’re amazing. I seriously can’t imagine doing it all!
    Heather @Lunging Through Life recently posted…My 27th BirthdayMy Profile

  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Wow, that is a big list, amazing that you got all of that done in six days! It looks like your house is in such a beautiful place, whoever buys it will be so lucky to live there!
    montessoriishmom recently posted…Day in the Life – 7.5 MonthsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jen F.
    May 17, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Great post – I haven’t seen anything like this. Awesome tips and ideas! Will reference this soon when we start thinking about moving with my little one!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Live Half Full
    May 17, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    We listed our condo when Buel was 3 weeks and 3 months old. When we moved the best thing I did was have the movers load his room last so that we could get his room set up first. It made the first night in our new house a breeze!
    Katie @ Live Half Full recently posted…A Very Happy Mother’s Day WeekendMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      May 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Katie that’s a GREAT idea!!!! I would NOT have thought about that!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Oh good luck! I hope you’re able to sell your house soon! We recently sold our house (we close on the 30th!) and bought a new house in Arkansas actually (close on the 1st of June from afar!). We were in this process of getting our house ready when our realtor had 3 couples who actually wanted to get in our house to see it early- so when we had thought we had like a month and a half to get it ready, suddenly we had like 2 days- way back in February! We also have a baby who was under 6 months old at the time & a dog too. One of those couples made a full price offer while agreeing to wait to close ’till the end of May & letting us rent it back (for less than our mortgage!) for the month of June before we move! It was absolutely perfect- totally a God thing for sure! Now we’re just stressed for the actual move! Are you hiring movers? This will be our first move using movers & I’m pretty excited about it! Still gonna be a lot of work though. Are you buying in your new city or renting? At least house shopping is fun! Hope your place sells quick! I think the market is pretty good for you right now there 🙂

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      May 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

      That’s awesome!! I can totally imagine that being insanely stressful, but also exciting!! God thing for sure! Where in Arkansas are you guys moving? We will be buying in the new city, but probably not hiring movers! When we priced hiring movers, it was like $3000+! We actually got an offer yesterday! So I’m just praying everything goes smoothly from here on out!

      • Reply
        May 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

        We bought a place in Maumelle. We went down there for like 2.5 days to find a place at the beginning of April. We normally wouldn’t hire movers either but my husband’s new job is paying for it. It is expensive & we will be without all of our stuff for like a week and a half. Sleeping on an air mattress in our empty new house! Woot!
        I’ve been told to make sure we get rid of everything we don’t want to go because they will actually pack your trash basket full of trash if it’s there for them to do so. That’d be super gross a week and a half later! When are you going house shopping?

        • Reply
          Sweet Miles
          May 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm

          NO WAY! You know we’re moving OUT of Maumelle, right?!! Did you secretly buy our house? haha That’s amazing that the new job is paying for the move – where will he be working? Somewhere in LR I’m assuming?

  • Reply
    May 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Haha, no, your house wasn’t for sale in April! 🙂 I do still get the listings from my realtor though & saw yours 🙂 🙂 He’ll be working at the Children’s Hospital. I’ve pretty much decided I’m going to take time off working ’till the end of the year before I start hunting for a new job there. Excited to spend a bunch of baby time with my little one! We’ve always lived in the midwest… we were told we’re gonna have a bit of culture shock down there, eack! We’ll see, but I will never call all pop “coke” haha! That’s super strange to me!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Haha! Pop is definitely Coke, or maybe soda. That’s hilarious!! And that is awesome! Good for you guys! Children’s is a GREAT place to be! I have several good friends who work there 🙂 AR is amazing, it will be a culture shock for sure, but it’s just a little slower and more chill than other places 🙂 Lots of nature, lots of parks and trails, and really great people. We’ve really loved our church family here – that’s been huge in us feeling plugged in!

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