A few years ago, a friend suggested I put my home forward for consideration for an article in Kingston Life Interiors. This hit right at my ego – I love to think I’ve got good taste in decor! I sent in my snaps and was delighted when the editor got back to me to schedule a photoshoot. And that’s when I looked around my house and realized I had better start cleaning.

Sometimes when I need to find motivation to give my home a really deep clean, I pretend that a photographer is coming over later. I also have an elaborate and sort of dark fantasy that my mother comes for a visit and falls down in my bathroom, where she is stuck looking at the back of my toilet until help comes.

I share these stories in the hope that it will help you find motivation to clean up your house before you list it. I asked Jake if he has any motivational techniques for cleaning. “Dollar signs,” He said, laughing. “Hey, it’s true! That’s good motivation – if your house is spotless, it’ll sell faster, and for more money.”

Once you’re motivated, here’s what you should clean and how.

Faucets, Drains, Grout

You can use an old toothbrush to clean faucets, grout, shower door tracks and other annoying little spots that get grimy, but for about $6 you can buy a set of special brushes by OXO (I found mine at Winners) that are made for this job. The handles are short and grippy, and one has a silicone pokey bit that dislodges the mysterious crusty bits that form around faucets and drains. What is that stuff? No, actually don’t tell me. I also really like that there is pretty much zero chance of these brushes being mistaken for a toothbrush.


Shine Your Fixtures

You know how four minutes after you polish your faucets and toilet handles, they get spotty again? Rub them with wax paper after you polish them and they’ll resist spotting for hours, maybe even days. I now keep a little square of wax paper in the bathroom vanity for this purpose. In fact, it’s probably the only thing we use wax paper for in our house.

Shower Squeegee

If you have glass shower doors, somehow convince your family to squeegee them after every use. I think it’s kind of fun myself, but if the people you share your shower with are not convinced, you could try buying a cute novelty one, like the Buddy from Umbra.


Tub Stains

When I moved in with my partner, the tub at his place had brownish stains all over it. Not being a bath person, this didn’t bother him much, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to lounge around in whatever that was. I tried the usual cleaning products but nothing budged it, and I was almost prepared to accept them as benign pets. Then my Mom suggested washing soda, usually used for laundry. You can buy it or make it at home (thanks Internet!) Pour a generous amount into a full bath and let it sit there for a few hours. Drain it and then scrub. It’s pretty amazing. I also used it on my greasy stove burner grates.


Mop & Squeegee Your Windows

“Crystal clear windows make a huge difference – and get the screens, too,” Jake says. Grab that shower squeegee, an old towel and your mop. Roll the towel and put it on the window sill, and using a damp but not sopping mop, clean your windows. Squeegee the water down to the bottom and wipe up the excess with the old towel. No streaks, and way faster that paper towels. For screens, the vacuum with a soft brush attachment is often enough, but really grungy ones should be removed and hosed down.

All cleaned up and ready to list? Get in touch with Jake at jc@royallepage.ca. or call 613-449-6588.