Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Unnecessary Drama of Setting Your House Up to Sell

We're selling the house. Wednesday. We are selling the house (or at least putting the sign in the yard) on Wednesday.

This was this fun idea a year ago, that we could sell this place, pay off all our student loan debt with the proceeds (because we're pretty sure our house has gone up in value since we bought it, between the upswing in the market and the amount of stuff we've done to it), rent for a little while, then buy some place with a little more space in between us and the neighbors. Since then, we've been heading in that direction.

We have time! I thought, after we made the decision to move. This won't be like the last time, where on two weeks notice, we shoved everything we owned into a UHaul and sped West. We can sort! We can organize! We can get rid of things!

I began making mental checklists of the things that we wouldn't take with us: those cheap bookshelves that are leaning at funny angles because they are falling apart, the turkey fryer we have used once in the (10?) years we've owned it, the couches that are like saggy, baggy elephants that you feel the bones of when you sit on them.

I began "using things up" so we wouldn't have to move them. I am not kidding you, I can't tell you the last time I washed my hair with shampoo that didn't come from a 1 ounce container. Seriously, how did we get so many travel soaps?

After Christmas, I was more careful than usual to pack away the ornaments, so the boxes would be ready to make the move.

I started a "garage sale" box.

Good beginnings, right?


Saturday, we had a "stager" come over to our house, hired by our realtor. If you aren't aware, technical definition of a "stager" is someone who can make aesthetic improvements to your property so that it "shows" the best. In reality, this is a never-satisfied, nit-picker hell-bent on making your life a miserable experience by insinuating that your house will never sell if you don't complete an impossibly-long list of tasks prior to the sign going in the yard.

As Eric says, they are all "suggestions." We don't have to do them all. Right. Tell that to the highly vulnerable, quite suggestible, obsessive-compulsive voice in my head!

I spent the rest of Saturday and Sunday cleaning out the room upstairs we never really knew what to do with, that housed a table, couple of bookshelves, the Chuck Norris Total Gym 1000, and the Treadmill. By, "spent the rest," I mean I did little else. Good thing I climbed the Incline before the stager got here.

The stager actually suggested turning this into the "baby's room," and, after gagging on that for a while, actually tried to track down someone's bassinet that we could borrow. Failing in that endeavor, I turned it into the "craft and reading room." Thank goodness my friend Debbie had a chair she was willing to loan me, because that room looked really empty after removing said Total Gym and treadmill. I also cleaned out that closet, where we had been foolishly storing things like past tax returns, a filing cabinet of bills and other records, wrapping paper, oh, and multiple bridesmaid dresses, Halloween costumes, and my wedding dress. I know, using a closet for storage, right? I was told that this closet should be "attractive to the eye." Well, I still don't think that it's "attractive to the eye," but I sent the bridemaid dresses to my friend Christina who is going on a mission trip and could actually use them, sent the 500 firesetter assessment records back to the FWFD, and shredded documents - including the 2003, 2004 tax returns. (If you are the IRS and are reading this, don't  bother auditing me, because I no longer have those records. We didn't make much money back then anyway.) I also straightened, boxed, and did my best to pretty-up what was left in the closet. This also meant just throwing crap in boxes without thinking through whether or not we should actually keep the stuff. So much for the "we have time" plan.

Eric left for Houston on Monday. The photographer was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. Monday night, my job was to clean and straighten, so that the photos didn't show any dust or dirt or messiness. I kicked my OCD into overdrive, and went to work.

Which of course meant that at 10:30 at night while I was vacuuming the basement, the CO2 detector's battery decided it was a perfect time to kick the bucket.

However, unlike a smoke detector, a CO2 detector isn't smart enough to emit a chirp to let you know that the battery is dying. Nope. It sets off the full alarm, repeatedly. And, at 10:30 at night on a high-anxiety bender, I can't tell the difference.

Open the windows in the basement, crawl around looking for a leak of something, somewhere, take my decidedly non-technical eyes to the furnace. Nada. Finally decide to switch the detector for the one outside the bedrooms upstairs, which, during the process, causes both detectors to screech like maniacs because that's what they do when they both aren't also plugged into an outlet. I'm assuming that every dog for a 5 mile radius went into a frenzy, so if you live in Jackson Creek, sorry about that. Finally get it figured out that it is, in fact, the battery, by which time the clock has moved an inordinate number of minutes forward, get it changed, and run around doing last minute things like figuring out the best place to hide the stand mixer, because it's apparently unacceptable to show potential buyers that you actually cook in your kitchen.

Midnight, head to bed. Realize that said bed is still lacking the recommended accent pillows, and the bedside tables do not have lamps on them. This will obviously prevent our house from selling because this will cause the photographs of our bedroom to look like we live in a hovel. You think I'm kidding, but this is what a stager does to you!

Set alarm for 5am, knowing I have a 7am call with Africa, and an 8:30 call with Latin America, and I have a crap-ton of work still left to do at the office even though I'm working a crazy number of hours on a project that feels next to impossible to actually get done because the amount of work involved... anyway.

Up at 5am, speed off to the only store I know will be open at 5am, stick my moral objections in a can, and walk purposely through Walmart. Find two cheap lamps and decent lampshades, three pillows (one on clearance none the less!), a basket for appropriately generic bedroom decorating (no photos! nothing that says your name! nothing personal!), and several taper candles to replace ones around the house that may have been lit once and are now, obviously, totally unacceptable. Run home, precisely set out listed stuff, fuss over the exact smoothness of the duvet, and get on the phone.

Photographer came at 8am, to a beautiful sunrise that showed off the view of the mountains. Nothing fell down, fell off, or spontaneously wrinkled. I walked around the house with my phone and laptop on my calls, staying out of his shots and sitting on the floor so I wouldn't crease anything.


The list still isn't done though... anyone have a tray I can borrow to artfully set out two (not three, not one, just two) wine glasses and an unopened bottle with a perfectly fixed label on the basement bar? At a "just so" 45 degree angle to the edge of the bar top?

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