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Hiding The Children’s Mess While Selling Your Montecito Home

October 10, 2018

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frustrated parents and battling children faced with hiding the children's mess

My busy clients know, hiding the children's mess when selling their Montecito home can be a major challenge. The process of keeping everything clean and tidy when your Realtor brings potential buyers to showings can be exhausting and overwhelming, if not be downright chaotic when a seller has children. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Here are 5 décor ideas designed to help with hiding the kid clutter and get you from “for sale” to “sold” without the amount of drama.

  1. Hide Toys in Plain Sight
    Are your kids’ toys and games overtaking your entire house? It’s not realistic to banish all kid stuff to bedrooms or the playroom. Instead, figure out a way to store your kids’ toys in any room of your house. There are plenty of furniture choices today that come complete with built-in compartments and drawers. How about placing a storage ottoman next to the sofa where you can hide action figures, dolls, art supplies, and more? Or how about storing toys behind the credenza in the family room? Woven baskets with lids can also come in handy. Just place them anywhere in your home and fill them with kid stuff.

  2. Hide in Little Used Spaces
    Then there are the spaces in your home that normally don’t get used; like under the bed, in the garage and in the attic storage space. It’s easy to neaten up a room using rolling plastic or rattan storage bins that, once filled, can be placed out of sight in one of these areas. Collapse big toys like kids’ play tents and doll houses and store those behind large furniture. Be creative in your storage solutions while hiding the children's mess.

  3. Use Longer-Term Storage to Rotate Kids’ Toys
    Every few weeks, swap out storage bins from the attic, garage or wherever you hide them. Even the back of a closet will work. Your kids will feel like they get new toys every time the bins are rotated. This trick also works with pet toys. 

  4. Minimize While Adding a Chic Touch
    Downside your kids’ toys. Make sure you do this activity with your child because this is an excellent learning opportunity. Sort the toys into 3 piles. One to keep, one to donate and the third to throw out. This step will streamline the cleanup process for you and will teach your children a valuable lesson at the same time. Plus, you’ll have fewer toys and kid stuff to move when you’re ready.

  5. Buy Kid Furniture That Adds Space
    Your child’s bedroom is the perfect place to add a little style while creating natural storage spaces. Think bookcases and desks; anything with useful cubbies and shelves will do. Besides using this furniture for storage, the pieces will also dress up the entire room. Plus, you can display your child’s artwork and favorite knick-knacks there, too.

Speaking of kids, as those of us living in Montecito and its surrounding area know, in addition to being flat-out beautiful, this is a great place to raise a family. In fact, the town of Montecito was named #1 Best Places to Live in Santa Barbara County in 2018 by Niche, an online portal that connects people to their future schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. Montecito has a great sense of community that makes the whole town welcoming to newcomers. 

It’s true, the schools are excellent here and UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Westmont provide ample opportunities for higher education. Besides having the perfect year-round climate, there are several attractions to keep your family entertained, including many cultural activities in town. Plus, the police and fire departments are among the highest rated in the nation, with a crime rate that’s below the national average.

If you are looking for a family friendly home to buy in Santa Barbara, I have many on my comprehensive website to show you. 

Birds eye view of a Montecito home for sale

Take this Quintessential Mediterranean-style Montecito View Estate designed by Award-winning architect Don Nulty, AIA. The 5 Bedroom, 5.5 Bathroom estate is situated on approximately 0.96-acre near hiking trails, the distinctive shops and services of Montecito's Upper Village, and, most importantly for parents, in the Montecito Union School District.

Make life a little easier when selling a Montecito home by following the suggestions above for hiding the children's mess. Potential buyers will see a clean space that they’ll want to make their own. Considering selling your Santa Barbara home? Give me a call at +1 805.886.9378 or email me at I’ll happily add your home to my portfolio of fine properties and would delight in helping you find the perfect family home in the area at the same time!




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“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch