Chapter Two – Preparing To List
(To read Chapter One, click here)
I swear, I’m not a hoarder. But if there’s anything that can make you feel like one, it’s moving. Anyone else who has moved before, I’m sure, can attest to this. It forces you to go through all of your old memories, all of your old junk. Toss this, keep that. Argue over this, laugh over that, shed a tear as you find something near and dear to your heart.
The week between Christmas and New Years, we spent our time cleaning and purging. With a move in our immediate future, and knowing all the tips and tricks to “sell quickly!” we knew we’d need to purvey the cleanest, most orderly version of our house possible. This was not a small task, although it had only been four years since our last move. If you have kids, you know that at least half of your garage will be piled high with high chairs, strollers, boxes of old out-grown clothes, and so on. We were no different. But even with baby #3 on the way, Mike and I were adamant that we were going to clean and simplify so we didn’t bring the things we didn’t need into the new house.
That week, we went room by room, starting with the garage, to eliminate old junk – trash/sell/donate – and organize so we could pack easily down the road. We piled two alley-way dumpsters to the brim, and loaded the garage with sell/donate items. We reached out to our neighbors to see if they’d join our early spring cleaning by participating in an upcoming garage sale.
The weekend of the garage sale rolled around – it turned out to be one of the coldest mornings of January and as we began setting items out on the driveway we could see the sun rising to the East. It was bitter cold, and there wasn’t enough hot coffee and tea to keep us warm, but as the first few visitors rolled by, we started to slowly sell some of our memories.
By the end of the day, we had a single car load for Goodwill, with the rest going to good homes for bottom-of-the-barrel bargain prices. But alas, we could finally fit one car into the garage! Success!
Now that the house was cleared of most of our clutter, the “honey do” list items that had been ignored for the past several years stuck out like a sore thumb. We had random areas that needed paint refresh, outlets covered up, and small dents and holes in walls patched up. Writing that list makes us sound like horrendous homeowners, but we all have those things (right, right???)
So we hired a crew of handymen that Mike knows through work and within one weekend, all of those things were taken care of – the house was really beginning to look good.
The Final Touch.
The final touches were next – we took down as many of our family pictures and decluttered shelves and corners. We wanted the home to feel staged and lived in, but it was important our showings helped visitors picture themselves in the home, not our family. We packed up our family photos and tchotchkes and added them to the “to be moved” pile. Mike ventured to HomeGoods to find inexpensive items to fill the now blank spaces – generic pictures for the walls where our family photo canvases had been, pillows for our bed, and lamps to replace our mismatched bedside table lamps we had been using for the past several years.
These little touches made a huge difference – and although we debated quite heavily on a few of the purchases (and still have to return some of the items we chose not to use) they helped give some rooms the “pop” we knew they’d need. We even uncovered the severity of Mike’s color-blindness as we debated between several different items that he was convinced matched – but alas, were from completely different color spectrums.
The Photo Shoot.
The morning of our home photo shoot was a hectic one to say the least. The day prior we had the house cleaner come, and that evening we ate out so our tornado-like children created as little damage as possible. The morning of the shoot, we let the kids sleep as late as possible and then we quickly got them dressed and out the door to school. Mike stayed behind, and he went room by room putting on the final touches – making beds like a marine, arranging pillows, staging accessories, and turning on every. possible. light. in. the. house.
When the photographer arrived, the house looked better than it ever had, and the thoughts ran through our mind of “are you sure you want to leave this house…?”
And then, a night or two before we were set to go on the market, I pulled into our driveway coming home from work and I saw it…
The sign had gone up…and with one final touch to ensure our visitors remembered us… “Free pizza with purchase” was on the sign-rider at the bottom.
Here we go!
Guest Blogger: Kelly D’Elena
Chapter 2 of 4