I’m finally back in my blogging chair, after 3 weeks of prep for selling our house. It’s been a busy, exhausting existence as I cleaned out closets, touched up paint, boxed things up, and whipped our house into “show palace” quality.
The house went on the market Friday, and we’ve had 8 showings and are entertaining 2 offers. Gotta love the red-hot real-estate market in the great state of Texas.
Ditto the pantry, hall closet, and downstairs linen closet.
In the process of getting this place ready to sell, we’ve taken the age-old real-estate advice of “de-personalizing” the house: removing personal effects such as framed photos and the collection of assorted clobber that migrates under magnets on the refrigerator door. While I haven’t packed up every personal artifact, a lot of it is gone.
The “after” picture is a lot less interesting. When I shared this photo in celebration of my #1 son’s birthday last week, my friend Michelle texted me to say “Wow, your house looks empty!” and my friend Christy said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen your kitchen desk totally cleared!”
It’s true. I always have a basket on the corner of the desk full of papers, unopened mail, magazines I intend to read, etc etc. Somehow the pile in the basket would just grow taller as more things were added but the papers and mail sat undisturbed and the magazines grew dusty. Every once in a while I’d empty the whole basket in a frustrated purge, but the basket itself was a mainstay.
Not anymore. This house is still occupied, but the everyday detritus has been ruthlessly culled. Box after box of stuff we don’t need in the near future went out the door and into storage (thanks, Ed; aren’t you so glad you have a pickup truck and extra space??). Tons of stuff went to Goodwill, where shoppers will be “poppin tags” aplenty with the pile we donated.
While I was aggressive in my culling, I did also try to forecast what we might need access to and at what point in this process. It’s rather like a triage; the stuff we definitely won’t need (holiday decor, specialty baking pans, and winter clothes, for instance) got boxed up first and were out the door. Stuff we may need between now and when the new house is ready at the end of the year went out the door as well, but is a bit more accessible. I’m not usually a big-picture thinker, but am trying hard to forecast what we need at the ready versus what can go into the deep recesses of storage. The one thing I did not account for was the crazy-cool weather we’ve been having. Field Day at my favorite girl’s school dawned with the temperature a mere 42 degrees — down-right cold for us thin-blooded Texans. She wanted to wear one of her cute hand-knitted scarves, and was a bit peeved at her overzealous mother when she learned that the winter accessories had been packed up and shipped out. How was I to know that Houston would have the coolest temps in the history of weather recording?
With the end of the school year approaching, our needs and our schedules will be much more flexible (and if we need a scarf at any point between now and the end of the year, I’ll take full responsibility for my short-sightedness). A big plastic bin of summer clothes, a few swimsuits, and a pair of flip-flops will suffice from June through August. But once school starts, we’ll still be a few months away from moving into the new house, so we will need a slightly bigger wardrobe, a more structured schedule, and the ability to find things when we need them.
It’s an adventure.
My favorite girl said she hopes the house sells fast, so she can go back to living like a slob. Both kids are sleeping on top of their comforters, rather than under the covers, so it’s easier to make their beds every day. I’m on constant patrol for any stray item not in its proper place or any rogue crumbs not wiped from the kitchen counters.
The one family member who has not yet been disturbed by the flurry of recent activity in and around the house is Piper. She’s thoroughly enjoyed her car rides when prospective buyers have come to look at the house. As long as her food bowl is filled twice a day, she doesn’t care what goes into a box or is moved to storage.