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How clean is TOO clean, or maybe, clean ENOUGH?

How clean is TOO clean, or maybe, clean ENOUGH?


We have our house listed, and because of that, need to keep it somewhat clean. Which makes me wonder: how clean is too clean, or clean enough?

Because my husband and I have vastly different answers.

I’m of the mindset that the cleaner the house is, the more it will look like it’s been consistently maintained well, thus, there’s less likelihood an offer will be significantly lower than the asking price.  Hence, my freakish insistence on having everything swept, dusted, wiped down and mowed within an inch of its life.

My husband, on the other hand, says that anyone looking at the house will only see the layout, the size of the rooms, and have a general feeling whether this house will be a fit for their family.

While I understand his point of view, and believe that the reality probably falls somewhere in between, I just know that as a prospective home-buyer myself, I don’t want to walk into a potential home and see dried gunk on the kitchen counters, boxes stacked 14 high and deep in the bedrooms, weeds in all the flower beds, or a 1/2″ of dust on top of the TV.  To me, if someone – knowing that their house is going to be scrutinized, for money, no less – can’t manage to even give an impression of cleanliness, I start to wonder what else has fallen through the cracks.  Does the HVAC unit make an ungodly sound in the winter when it’s snowing?  Is there a bug infestation at night when the lights are off and crumbs are all over the counters?  Is there a perpetual drip from the master bath sink?

Granted, all houses, just like people, have certain quirks, and it’s just something you learn to live with.  For instance, we have a tankless water heater (best thing EVER!) that allows two or more people to take simultaneous showers, but while it’s running, it makes this tick-tick-tick sound that you hear in other parts of the house.  It kind of sounds like there’s a giant drip running down an interior wall, but we’ve figured out that it’s just the water heater sensor constantly monitoring the water temperature. Those kind of things I don’t mind.  But the cleanliness – or lack thereof – I mind.

And while I’m much more of an organized, tidy person than many, I’m also not some white-glove-wielding freak who goes around testing baseboards every chance I get.  Some people (you know who you are!) would say that I’m too clean, but I promise, if you take apart the couch cushions, you’ll find change, pencils, pieces of cereal and more.  If you look under my bed, I’m positive you’d find a warren of dust bunnies.  And if you closely inspected the contents of my refrigerator, you’d probably find a few science experiments in the making.  I have too many bottles of bath and shower products under my bathroom sink, my closets are fairly disorganized, I hoard more than my fair share of used grocery bags for some unforeseeable future use and I’m certain that if you asked me to find my taxes from 4 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to do it immediately.  In other words, I can be disorganized and messy.

BUT… when we get the heads up that someone wants to see our house, I hide all the bills and clutter usually found on the kitchen counter. I sweep off the porches, fold the towels on the towel racks, give the garage a cursory pick-up and throw away anything that really should be thrown away.


My husband tells me I’m crazy to go through all the madness.  He says I already do a fine job keeping the house picked up and presentable.

And maybe I do.

But I still have that nagging feeling that our house looking the best it can, might be what it takes to keep an extra $5000 in our pockets.  I don’t know about you, but $5K isn’t exactly chump change to me.

What do you think?  

Mr. Clean or Pigpen?

I’d really like to know….


Let me know what you think!

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