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Old 01-30-2011, 01:11 PM
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Default Interview Tomorrow/How To Make My Home More Appealing!

My last few interviews have not been so great (my kids acted up during one interview & the one dad seemed to be giving my house an "evil" eye like he didn't approve of my home). So here are my questions regarding my home. My home is old (built in the 1940s) & it does have some minor issues that affect the way it appears. For example we really need new carpeting (lots of stains!) in our living room but we don't have the $$$ to replace it & figure we need to wait until our youngest is completely potty-trained. We don't have the newest or nicest furniture either. How important are these things? Are parents really walking into our home thinking "I can't send little Susie here because they need some home improvements??". . .There is nothing that is a safety hazard it's just I wish I could make my home look a little better on the cheap. I do need to re-paint my living room & I think a fresh coat of paint would go a long way (it's been about 3/4 years since it was painted). So any tips to ways I could spruce up my home or make it more inviting for my interview? Obviously I will clean like a maniac & maybe have some cinnamon simmering on the stove but what else is appealing? The parent who is coming tomorrow would be a good fit. Their son is in my son's class in school & they have a preschool age child who is close to my toddler son's age & the other little boy I watch. Hours are normal (7:15-4:30) & not 2nd shift (that seems to be the only calls I get lately). Thanks for your advice!
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:13 PM
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Do you have any pictures to post? I've noticed people are able to give better pointers with pictures.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEG123 View Post
Do you have any pictures to post? I've noticed people are able to give better pointers with pictures.
No, I don't unfortunately. Our digital camera is on the fritz. Our home is small (1300 sf) & we have 3 kids so it's cramped & sometimes I feel like I am overwhelmed by clutter (although to a certain extent it is hiddden!).
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:30 PM
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Our house is pretty "bare", which I hope it a plus because that means less for the kids to get into. I know that as a parent I'd be looking to make sure there is not much for little kids to get into that isn't toys.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:44 PM
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We have some carpet stains too, what I do is stategically (sp?) place larger toys onto the worst of them and hope they don't notice the rest. Also do you have any smaller area rugs that can be placed on top of the wall to wall carpeting? We did that at our old place and it definetely changed the feel of the room/house. I remember reading an article about cleaning up quickly for unexpected guests and it said that clutter makes a house look dirty (even if it's clean) and to open all the curtains/blinds and turn on the lights so it feels bright and like you aren't trying to hide anything. Could you afford to steam clean the carpet? That might get a lot of the stains out. Good luck, just smile a lot and show them the great things that you do have!
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:51 PM
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I agree with making sure there's no clutter, and opening the windows/turning on the lights. I'd also make sure that it's quiet, and that the house smells clean - I do that by burning a "clean linen" scented candle for about two hours before an interview (blow it out before they arrive).
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:04 PM
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My advice would be to not do anything different then you normally do it. If you try to clean up extra, what are they going to think once they start bringing their children to you and your house doesn't look like it did when you interviewed? You want to present yourself how you are, not how you want them to think you are.
As for the carpet stains, I would do as other have suggested and use area rugs for the worst area's. Place toys over them, arrange furniture possible so that things are hidden. If you have a lot of clutter, I would recommend wicker baskets for storing things in. As for the older/worn furniture, get some cheap throw blankets and toss them nicely over the furniture. If you have a small home, you may need to seriously consider de-cluttering to make your home appear larger and more inviting.
I am like KEG123, we don't have alot of personal things out in the daycare area. Mainly pictures on the wall, but there isn't a lot of stuff in our living room that says who we are. Personal stuff is at a very minimum. The only things that are out that the kids do get into is a shelf with movies and games on it, thinking i will have to soon clear this out of the daycare area as i have two crawling babies.
If you feel cramped and overwhelmed by clutter, your prospective families probably do as well. Take a good hard look at your space and see what can be eliminated and spruced up.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:12 PM
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my house is pretty small as well, 1440 sq ft, my hubby and i gave up the master bdrm to make a playroom, we took the smallest room in the house, and our boys room together, our living room is a bit cramped because we have a big sectional couch....you just have to really stay on top of small houses, if you NEED it, toss it, of you haven't used it in a while, into the attic/closet it goes.

My playroom carpet has some stains, can you expect anything else from a group of toddlers?? If you can afford it, get a rug doctor, they get A LOT of stuff out of carpets...i burn pumpkin spice candles when i interview, they smell so good! People really respond to smell.

Just make sure the clutter is at a minimum, most parents don't expect white glove approved cleanliness, especially if their interview is during or right after daycare hours!
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:23 PM
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I just spent the last 10 minutes looking for this carpet stain foam that I've used, and can't find it. But this stuff is awesome!!! I got it at Walmart, for less than $10 and it really works!! Even on old, set in stains. We had pets and messy kids, and carpet everywhere. We've since taken out the carpet in all rooms except 2 bedrooms, and they were pretty stained up. This foam stuff took out even the worst stains! I think it was made by bissell. It came in a light blue "cannister" type can. It was a foam, not a spray. I'll keep looking for it, but it was so easy to use (saturate the stain, leave it for a set amount of time, and then put a white towel on it, step on the towel to soak up the stain, and then let it dry - no scrubbing or rubbing or anything), really cheap and it worked!
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:45 PM
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Hm, I think I'm gonna bake cookies for my first interview tomorrow. Nom! :laugh:
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:47 PM
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declutter, area rugs are awesome for stains, you can put nice clean blankets over your furniture, burn a good smelling candle before hand. see if someone can watch your kids for a sort time during the interview or have the interview during nap time. good luck!
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:07 PM
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Can you bake cookies or make something really fragant earlier in the day? When I have interviews, I try to always have a casserole in the oven or even better when my husband is making dinner. I always feel that it makes the house more like a home when it smells like food

But when I had my son in a home daycare (and his old daycare was about 700sq ft), I just watched how the lady interacted with my son. It was a small place and filled with lots of toys, but honestly I didn't care because I knew how much they loved my son.

I agree with all the other posters - turn on all of your lights, open all of your windows, have someone watch your kids and be proud of your house. Who cares if your carpet is stained or if your house is small. Be proud of it, it's yours and you will be offering the kids excellent care. Best of luck!
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:17 PM
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Whenever I have an interview I clean and declutter as if a white glove inspection is being performed. I stay up late the night before, get up early the day of. Ditch the clutter!!! Pretend like you are prepping the house for sale.

First impression is everything.... This really works!

Every interview I have ever done the family has wanted me for their kid so I must be doing something right. Ya know?
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2011, 03:18 PM
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I just reread how the interview has a child your child's age, so i take it back about NOT having your child there. Definitely have your son there and if you can have a small project for them to do (I am thinking just print out some coloring pages).
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:24 PM
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I like the suggestion of baking something. Food always make people feel at home. I would stay away from candles and the reason I say this is because some people really have a sensitivity to perfumes and smells. I know my mother-in-law does and I can't burn candles in my home when she comes over.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:15 PM
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Janarae, is it warm where you are? If it is (not likely, it's January!) you might be able to open the windows for a bit to get some fresh air in the house. If it is bright outside, I wouldn't have all the lights on because I would just think what a waste of energy.

What type of people are you getting for your interviews? Are you priced high or low? What is it that is getting these people interested in your daycare. If they were interested in your meals you offer then I would be having something in the oven and have a sample menu ready to talk about in their "interview" folder. If they like that you have a young age group, I would make sure you show off your best toys and art projects. KWIM? How many children do you currently have enrolled and what is your goal enrollment?
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:00 PM
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Honestly, I would stash and dash every bit of clutter you can from the areas of your home they'll be seeing. Clutter really does make a humongous difference. Trust me--I know. Clutter is my big failing too! Our carpet is stained too but has never seemed like it was an issue (but who knows; I did fail a lot of interviews before getting full). I try and make sure that I have small age appropriate toys/paper and crayons ready for the child--we usually sit at my kitchen table to do the interview and the child sits with us. I make sure my own DD is fed and watered pre-interview.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:13 PM
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What I do is have someone (DH) watch my kids in another room...and then towards the END of the interview, I bring them all in so they could all be introduced, meet the prospective child for a few minutes, and then off they go...

I never thought of burning a candle - it screams "fire hazard" to me and I'd wonder if you were always burning candles.

I agree about not making it seem different than what it is usually......perhaps making changes (like throwing away or donating things) that could be permanent changes would be beneficial. Zero clutter. Toys, yes, of course.

Focus on the parent/child and not at whether they noticed a stain on your rug. YOU are the one who is being showcased, and if YOU shine, that's what's most important.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:17 PM
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I dont think that I would worry so much about your house needing updates, however, I would be concerned about how clean it is. My house is clean top to bottom every day as if I were to get inspected or an interview at the drop of a hat. I have had an unexpected interview and boy was I happy that my house is always white glove clean. My oldest son plays baseball and I was at one of his games. I starting talking to one of the other parents there about my daycare and they were in desperate need of a new DCP. She asked me would you mind if we swung by after the game? I could not say no after all the bragging I did about how clean my house was and how I sanitized every sunday.... Her child has been with me for almost 3 years.


Also, ALL of my DCP always tell me how in the world do you keep your house this clean with having 3 kids of your own and your husband always at work. They are very impressed. Especially with the amount of art and other projects that we do every day.

I use my closets in the hallway as a dcare closet for supplies and little clutter so most of it is out of view. I have all of my monthly boxes by theme or holiday in my garage on shelves and I have very little inside my house that I need to clean each day. My house was built in the 80s but has not had a lot of updates.

Do you think if you had someone come in and clean your carpets that they might be more appealing? Or rent a carpet cleaner? Maybe move your furniture around so that you can hide some of the stains? I have never allowed shoes in my house by anyone and my carpets look very new for being almost 12 years old.

I love lights, but too much light will show every imperfection. Choosing nice bright colors can help you keep the lights a little dim.
In the past, I did not have very nice furniture and I went to Joann’s Fabric and bought clearance fabric and just tucked it in all around my sofa. I made some pillows and bought some nice green plants. For smell I always have a nice candle burning or a fresh plug in that is out of eye view.
Don’t stress so much, you will be fine. If you feel stressed about it, get your worst critic and have them come over and see how they feel about it. I used to have my sister who is a teacher come over for fake interviews and drill me. I was feeling great when I did my first interview years ago and still love doing them. I wish you luck and I hope I did not put you to sleep….lol
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:29 PM
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I think I need to disagree a little bit about the carpet stains. I've already told you that the carpet in our bedroom (and one other room) is very stained. Or, it was, until I used the stuff that I can't seem to remember the name of. Anyway, I think the carpet stains could be a huge deal to prospective parents!! Kids love to play on the floor, sit on the floor, roll around on the floor, etc. I would not want my kids on the floor on stained carpets. Why? Well, from personal experience, a lot of our floor stains are from animals. Ewww. Parents look at stained carpets and they have no idea what the stain is actually from, and can think the worst. I would concentrate on cleaning the carpets. I have a small house also, and no dedicated dc room. I've made "apology noises" during interviews before, and they always said "oh, i'm not concerned about that" (and every one of them who said that started bringing their child to me). I also have a fair amount of knick-knacks around, so my house tends to look a little cluttered at times. That doesn't seem to be a problem either.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:32 PM
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My home is very small (house is only 1200 sq feet total, my main floor is only 500 sq feet, and that is the only space I allow the dck's in). I find the biggest thing that makes it look dirty is clutter, so I have decluttered LIKE CRAZY for the last year. It has been really hard to get rid of so much stuff, but in the end, I don't miss it all (really, how many pots do you need? We are down to 3 - sm, med and large). My home is so much easier to clean now, and looks and feels SOO much better. A cluttered home was making my mind feel cluttered, which made me stressed out.

For tomorrow, I would declutter into a box if you need to, and put it away in the basement. I like the idea of strategically placing some large, age appropriate toys for the child to play with over the worst of the stains. I also always try to have something really good smelling cooking while they are here (either cookies fresh from the oven to offer, or bread, a roast in the crockpot etc) and they always comment on how great it smells.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:26 PM
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this stuff is awesome on carpet stains

http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/in...nt3/R-I4528611
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  #23  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:57 AM
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Let us know how your interview went.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:43 AM
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Wow, ladies! Thank you all for your wonderful ideas! I did go buy some foaming carpet cleaner--I have used something like that before & it did make the carpet look a bit cleaner. It really isn't THAT bad but you know how it is when youa re aware of where the stains are etc. I am going to try to hide some of the clutter as best as I can & I will be baking lemon bars when they get here. My older boys will be present (they are typically well behaved). My DH plans to take our youngest (who tends to have fits/not good with sharing initially. . . he is the sweetest child but he just turned 3 & is still in the terrible twos to a certain degree!) to the library & come back about 40 min or so after the interview has started so hopefully they will be leaving then.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:37 AM
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sounds like your are off to a great start!!
I wish you luck!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:40 AM
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Awesome! Let us know how it goes! My *first* interview is today. I'm so nervous!
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:53 AM
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OOh Good Luck !!!!! It sounds like you have it together. I have a small home (1200 sq ft)too....I actually just put in Pergo but before that I used Spot Shot on my carpet stains. If you have carpet and are a daycare then you got stains lol. I love what everyone said here, all great suggestions.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEG123 View Post
Awesome! Let us know how it goes! My *first* interview is today. I'm so nervous!

Good Luck!!!!
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