A Chicago mom’s adventure in home selling

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 something.”

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 from?????

Next: Staging

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 http://www.agracefull-life.com/2014/03/how-i-helped-my-bestie-stage-her-home.html .

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 went!

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 room

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 pet)

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 life.

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 me.

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