Love It AND List It

We knew when we bought our house two years ago that it wouldn’t be our forever home. It’s a three-bedroom home that’s on the smaller size, and filling it with kids would quickly become problematic. Our guess was 3-5 years.

Knowing that, I staunchly resisted doing ANYTHING to the house. I didn’t want to paint, because the colors the previous owners had chosen were solidly ok. I liked them. I didn’t want to add a deck or a patio, because I didn’t think we’d get our money back when we sold the house. I kiboshed any and all improvements that went above and beyond normal home maintenance, because I was rooting for three years or less and just didn’t see the point.

We’ve floated along for two years now in a house that we liked, but didn’t LOVE. As with any house, there are a lot of smaller, weird things that we would’ve done differently had it been up to us, plus there was a lot of clutter. The kitchen counters were never clear. The office/guest room door has been permanently shut for two years, except for when people came to visit, in which case we would push all the boxes to the edges of the room and tell our guests to squeeze around them. Having people over required tons and tons of preparatory cleaning and stuffing things into closets where we would later be unable to find them.

I knew that the house would get better as I moved through my massive decluttering project. What I didn’t anticipate was that putting our house on the market would allow us to see it through fresh eyes, and for the first time in two years, really, truly, love it.

The biggest change (other than some serious clutter-busting) was a simple rearranging of furniture per our realtor’s recommendation. That left the family room looking like this, and ohhhhhh my goodness I love it so much.


Will, on looking around our neat-as-a-pin, nicely-staged house: “Wow, we should threaten to move every couple of months. The house has never looked this good.

Do we love it enough to stay? HA HA HA HA NOPE. But it’s enough to make the space pretty, functional, and easier to keep clean for the next five weeks.

Although I suppose “easy” is a relative term, because nothing about putting your house on the market and whipping it into showing-ready condition is “easy” with a toddler around.

Exhibit A: the cat food liberator strikes again.


Exhibit B: the book liberator ALSO strikes again. I’m noticing a theme here.

IMG_3710.JPGShe just went back and forth between these two activities every day as I was getting ready for showings. As I was putting her books back on the shelf, she was dumping cat food on the floor (or, even better, IN THEIR WATER DISH). As I was sweeping up the cat food and washing out their water bowl, I could hear the rhythmic thump-thump-thump of board books hitting the floor.

But here’s the good news: after four days, thirteen showings, and one open house, we received THREE offers, one of which we accepted. Assuming that all goes well with the home inspection, appraisal, and all the other pieces that need to fall into place, we will close on April 1 — and start driving to Tennessee literally the minute we leave the closing.

We’re all thrilled and so relieved that the process moved so quickly. Of course, there’s no certainty until the papers are signed, so there will still be a bit of trepidation until that happens. But we’re assuming that everything will go more-or-less smoothly, because worrying about it won’t change the outcome.

(Typed as I’m sitting here fretting about the gigantic snow piles in front of our house. I’m sure focusing on them will melt them through telepathy.)

I don’t think any of this would have been possible had I not tackled the clutter starting in January. It’s taken almost two solid months of spending hours every week, but we’re almost there. My plan for this month was to work through the house categorically, rather than room by room, but I think we’re at the point now where that won’t work — only because it’s mostly done. Now we’re down to the small baskets of stuff that we didn’t have time to address before the house went on the market, so we stuck them in bookcases and cabinets and closets. Most of the donations/trash/recycling is now out of the house. Almost everything that’s left is either coming with us to TN, or is a rather large piece of furniture that needs to be sold on Craigslist.

All in all, I’d say we’re in good shape. There’s still so much to do, but we have five weeks to accomplish everything. The rest of this week is for clearing out and sorting all those random objects tucked in places where they didn’t belong so they’d be out of sight during the showings.

And next week? Next week we start packing! It’s all hands on deck for the next few weeks.


That means you too, cats.




  1. Bumpdate: 22 Weeks | Happy Helmraths - March 7, 2015

    […] in a good mood, since everything is going absolutely swimmingly with the sale of our house and our impending move to TN. I’m mostly focusing on concrete things that I can do to prepare for the move and trying not […]

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