I've recently made the decision to sell my home and
downsize to a townhouse - something that is much more manageable
for a single mom with two small daughters at home.
I have an amazing realtor that I have purchased a home
with before. I trust her recommendations and she had given me a
small list of things that needed to get done prior to officially
listing the house.
First up: Organize and declutter
One of the tips that I was given was cabinets, closets and
storage areas that appear overly full tend to concern potential
buyers that there isn't enough storage in the home. I accepted that
I am what I've self-diagnosed as an "organized hoarder" - defined
as one that keeps a plethora of items neatly organized in labeled,
plastic bins in case items will be "needed some day, for
I spent weeks sorting, reviewing and purging things that
wouldn't be of use to me in a smaller home. I finally let go of
things like the cabinet pulls, door knobs and light fixtures that
were changed out when I moved in to the house. This was the tip of
the iceberg of things that I discovered in closets, crawl spaces,
workbench shelves and storage areas. Where did all this stuff come
I had one of my friends (Kari from A Grace Full
Life) spend a Sunday at my house, helping me stage three
rooms that my realtor wasn't excited about. While these rooms
worked for us, they wouldn't convey a warm and fuzzy feeling for a
potential buyer. In a couple of hours, Kari was able to repurpose
all of the furniture in these rooms into something that looked
amazing. You can read all about it at
She also helped me take carloads of things to Goodwill
that, while perfectly awesome, I had absolutely no use for anymore
and had been hanging onto for a rainy day. The rain wasn't coming,
and instead I was drowning in a pile of "what ifs?" So, out they
Last: Make it "show" ready
Now, I don't know if you have ever had your house on the
market before but there is a level of clean that is required to
show a house that isn't natural. In my opinion, normal people don't
live like this. Here's what I'm talking about:
No laundry visible. Anywhere. Certainly not in the laundry
No garbage in any of the garbage cans
Nothing on the counters. NOTHING. Take a good look at your
kitchen counters. Now think about where you would put everything
that is sitting on them AND remember the likelihood that people
will be opening EVERY CABINET AND DOOR IN YOUR HOUSE.
Eat off the kitchen floor clean. (At least I don't have a
Nothing of value - portable electronics, jewelry,
prescriptions, bills, credit cards and check books all
have to leave or be locked up somewhere
Nothing personal in the house. Pictures, trophies, and
anything that makes the house look like it is yours
should be packed away.
Did I mention that I have kids? Can you imagine how much
fun it is to try to get through the above list with kids? In their
rooms? My daughters were less than thrilled when I packed away
their "treasures." I left a few framed pictures from when they were
babies, but the majority of it went.
THIS is why they tell you to organize and purge! So that
you have room to shove all of the things that you use to live your
In my case, despite doing a pretty good job at the
decluttering the house, my car was still full of things I couldn't
figure out what to do with. Like my kids art project bags, their
swimming gear, half of my shoes, the girls travel bags for their
dad's house and my large kitchen dish drainer.
I know, I know. You're laughing with me, not at
Jennifer Evers is a 40-something blogger and small business owner living in the Chicago suburbs with her two young daughters and a DVR full of reality television shows. She blogs about her life at Me, Myself and Jen (www.memyselfandjen.com) - single parenting, recipes, crafts and home projects, crazy things her children do, travel, celebrity encounters, community events and those wacky "Real Housewives."
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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