getting our place ready for the market

talley_sue_nycFebruary 10, 2006

how do people do this?

We have so many little touch-ups to do, plus decluttering all the junk in our too-small-for-us, slightly neglected place. And we have two kids who are just frankly in the way.

If they go outside, one of us has to go with them. If they're hungry, one of us has to feed them. If they get bored, they get out toys to play with.

I asked DH if we could get his folks to take the kids off our hands for Saturday, so we could get stuff done without spending ANY time--not even one minute--on them, and their food, and their entertainment, and their safety.

Then, I reasoned, we could get out the paint and do the touch up around the door frames in 2 places. I could get out the drill (I CANNOT CANNOT use the drill when they are around--I'm terrified I'll hurt myself, or at the *least* get the hole in the wrong place, because they are such distractions when they are around). And I could throw out (or at least pack up) their toys without them complaining about it, or **biggie here**getting out NEW MESSES!!!!

Snow is coming, and he said, "we may have to pick them up early." I got a little hysterical. Just a little--well, OK, for me, EXTREMELY hysterical. If they are going to be home for ONE MINUTE of Saturday, I said, then just don't take them anywhere. Bcs you have to spend 1 hour (minimum) to drive out to get them and come back, and they might as well be here in the way the WHOLE day. I'd rather not kid myself into thinking it will be a "get things done" day when it frankly WON'T.

I just feel like everybody's in my way--and the STUFF that's in my way--oy, vey!

We have to get the handyman to finish modifying the bathroom cabinet, and install it (the GC is done remodeling the tub area, yay for him!!!).

We need to repack the bathroom, now that the GC is done.

I need to (though maybe DH can) do a little bit of regrouting a thin strip in front of the new sink vanity (did I tell you, I goofed buying a new one, I should have just had new slab oak-plywood doors made) that's exposed by the new cabinet footprint.

I need to reinstall the under-sink trash pullout; it never has set flush into the cabinetry; but I think it'll be easy to modify now.

We need to paint around at least 2 doorframes, and we need to paint the archway molding (trying to cover up the ding in the paint job at the same time).

I want our handyman to help me install a mirror in the 2nd bathroom; it doesn't have one. We'll leave this one I bought behind, but that's OK w/ me; it was $60, and the room needs a mirror anyway.

I need to declutter the bottom of my closet and the top of the piano.

I need to deal w/ the mending pile; I got it reduced, but it's not gone.

I need to declutter my dresser.

DH needs to declutter his desk.

I need to pack even MORE things in boxes to go to the storage space (yeah, I know--I'm trying to prep people for the idea that it can't all come back after we move--the thing is 1/3 full (per DH, though i haven't seen it so he could be exaggerating) and our house only looks fractionally better.

I feel like I"m the only one willing to declutter anything permanently.

DH never wants to make a list of what will need to be done--you know how the first version of the list is always incomplete? Well, we won't get the "oh, I just remembered" days, now, bcs he wouldn't start it earlier.

Do I sound a little angry? I am, underneath, no matter how polite I seem on the top.

Wish me luck--it has GOT to be a productive Saturday, or I'm going to be divorced. I'll be so frustrated, and he'll be fed up.

And of course, there are the differences of opinion on when to put the place on the market. The people we want to buy from have accepted our offer but not sent us a contract yet; DH doesn't want to put an ad in the paper until he has the contract. I tell him, "an ad is not a sale--who knows how long it will take US to find a qualified buyer who'll pass the co-op board, and WANTS to buy the place? We have to start now; we can always make the other people hurry up once we have a buyer." The sellers have been patient w/ us so far, and they're not rushing themselves, but that's going to wear out pretty soon!

Oh, and....DS's 8th bday is Feb. 26, and he wants a party; how will I have time (or place) to plan that, too? And DD has science project, plus she's failing in school so needs extra attention; how do we deliver THAT at the same time? We could decide not to sell now, but we desperately need the space, we've got a great apartment on the string, and anyway something ELSE would just get in the way.

We have SO much trouble carving out any time to do ANYTHING that's not "today's laundry and picking up today's mess." I've become a fan of the GameBoy, just because it's a SINGLE item, instead of toys all over the floor.

How do other people do this?

I've decided to try to focus on the most important things--a balance between structural (the bathroom tile grout) and decluttering (clear surfaces, no piles in the corner). If my bookshelves are crammed, oh well.

And we haven't even gotten to CLEANING the place! That, I may hire someone to do after we've gotten through this weekend.

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I find moving highly, highly stressful. Yes, give your kids away for the day as often as possible until you are done. You're lucky if you have family around. We never did. I have ONE child and can't get ANYTHING done w/out interruption for 5 minutes.

I actually used to give my dd to a babysitter once a week, so I could get stuff done.

Pack up EVERYTHING you don't need and get a mobile unit to store it first and have them store it. It costs money, but highly worth it, because you don't have to unload it or load it back up. That way you'll have less shuffling. As for the family help w/the kids as much as possible.

My dh's idea of packing was to dump whatever he had in a box. The box stayed packed for a year and he worked out of it! Scary??? Yes! THis was our Business! Our bread and butter. He had boxes of junk that was marked "garage". Don't ask me how many times he BOUGHT a NEW ONE, because he couldn't find the old one. UGH ... ARGH!

Good luck...I feel your pain!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 6:34PM
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Don't you just hate being the grown up? Man, it's hard! LOL

You know I did this a year and half ago, and three years before that. And I still don't know how. I'm sure I'll do it again sooner or later. We had a lot of late nights, I know that. We often did things after the kids went to bed. And we got help. The move from FL to TN, my parents were around to help us with either a chore or the kids on the weekends. From TN to here, I had a housekeeper come a few times, so at least that part of things was better controlled.

The hardest part was just keeping a house clean enough to show with kids living in it! I tried to keep the kids out of the house as much as possible so they weren't there to mess it up! When we were home, I had to stick to the routines I know I should have all the time, but let slide. I can't keep it up for long, that level of maintaining combined with daily family life and the stress of selling/buying/moving, it wears me out!

Just start somewhere, then just keep swimming. Don't stop and think about how overwheling the whole project is, just one day at a time.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 6:50PM
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Thanks for the pep talk and commisseration!

I've decided I don't have *time* to pack up everything we don't need. I'm just going to focus on hot spots--the places that are particularly crammed, or the ones that make it look as though there's no storage space (like the triangular closet, w/ linens and cleaning supplies--it's holding a lot, but it's SO crammed, that it looks as though the apartment doesn't have any space--if that makes sense).

That's where the energy's going to go.

The most stressful part is the prioritizing--making sure not to get sucked into the low-payoff jobs. To stay focused on the stuff that matters most of all.

I've done *some* decluttering inside cabinets, mostly to make room for stuff OUTSIDE the cabinets to move in.

I'm not going to worry that my wall unit is stuffed full of china and vases. I just don't have time. I'm going to worrya bout the milk crate of papers at the end of the piano, the dings on the dark-wood doors, the stuff cluttering the flat surfaces.

If there isn't any air on the bookcases, I'm not going to worry. I just don't have time.

We have this big closet/dressing room that DD uses, and it's full of stupid little stuff. I'm just going to get the stuff off the floor and onto the shelves. I'm not going to make her doo-dads shelf attractive. there isn't time; I'll kill myself--or her--long before I succeed. It'll still look amazingly big, bcs hey, a little girl "lives" in there--that's gotta be some closet, right?

and I am going to have to have a cleaning person help. It's easier to clean as I get less stuff in the space, but still...

I've had moments where I think less of us bcs we don't do well on the upkeep of the house. But then I think a bout how hard this is, even one day's worth, and I realize that it's not wonder we don't repair stuff as we go--it takes a long time!! And real life is more important then.

Right now, real life is LESS important.

And keeping kids out of the house--there's no way to do that. They have school, but that's pretty much it. What are they supposed to do? Sit on the street? If they're out of the house, WE have to be with them!

I'll be tapping MIL/FIL once we actually start showings.

One nice thing about trying to do FSBO (we'd have to be home when a broker came anyway; co-op security rules; so why pay them?); we'll have all the notice we need about when people are coming. Or else, we'll have only ourselves to blame.

Oh--one realtor who was showing us an apartment to buy said, of our upcoming attempts to sell, "hide the kids' toys."

HIDE?? Who the heck is he kidding? Declutter, thin out, pick up--but hide? Sorry, that's not happening--it's not physically possible. And I'm unwilling to do so anyway.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 7:04PM
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Well, congrats! I didn't realize you had found another place. My DS will be 6 on the 26th, too.

Hiding the kid's stuff is such a silly idea! I don't know why Realtor's continue with that thought.

I went around with my handy, dandy pad of paper and and made a list for each room. Taped it to the wall next to the door. It was major brain relief of not having to remember every detail in every room. We could mark off something, I could just tell DH to check the list and they were easy to add to if you were in the room and thought of something.

I think my advantage was we had been doing the Flylady system for a good two years before we moved, so serious decluttering had already happened. We only did one open house and showed the house a few times before we moved out, so quick showings were pretty easy.

I would focus on clean, clean, and more clean. I know you don't have much space, but you could pack up a few boxes of the real problem areas and stack them in a corner. Looks like the moving process has already started.

My concern when looking at a house which was packed was that I couldn't see the condition of the walls, etc. so think about what people need to evaluate as they come through.

Just take a deep breath. You can do this. I was working for the boss from hell during our moving time and I couldn't even get day off for anything. I found the kid's to be great go-fors and they were big helpers in the cleaning and packing process.

Remember, take a deep breath. You can do this.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 8:20PM
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Talley!... you poor thing... I can feel your stress right through to my computer... i sure wish I could help. With my dad coming to live with us for a while it threw us into a major tail spin around here. I had to create a whole new room .. new flooring, repair.. decor etc... but I am blessed with working from home so while it's meant some long nights I am not confined to the weekends.

Would it be possible for the kids to help?.. have them sort out toys to get rid of then have them box up the rest.. keeping out just three favorites? That helped quite a bit as we got ready to move. Obviously moving from an Apt. is MUCH harder than a home in that we had a garage to take the boxes to. So each box that was filled went in there.. this emptied the house so much. Could you possibly rent space to store some stuff to get it out of the way till our move then have it delievered to your new place????


    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 10:33PM
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"Right now, real life is LESS important."

Welcome to the world of real estate! Nothing else will matter until you get into your new place. It's stressful, you get little sleep, you aren't the best parent, you eat a lot of fast food....but the best part is when you get to move into your new place and realize it was all worth it.

With our last real estate transaction, we weren't even thinking about moving. However, a great opportunity occurred just down the street from our house and we couldn't pass it up. We had to act FAST. The one thing that saved me was that Friday was a holiday so I didn't have to work. I spent the whole day shampooing carpets, decluttering, and wiping fingerprints from walls. It's amazing how much you can do when you have no choice! All 3 kids were home with me...I quite honestly can't remember where they were during that time. I had a mission and I'm sure they were ignored! (Poor kids!)

Here's what "hide the kids" means, at least in our world. When you find out someone is coming to see your house, you yell, "Grab everything off your floor, shove it under your bed, and jump in the car!" With our 2nd home, I had 3 young sick kids at home when we got a last-minute call for someone who wanted to see our home. I threw them in the car first, then ran back in and straightened everything. That's how you live! You don't want to cook a meal because you are afraid someone will call while you are in the middle of cooking. You live on the edge.

But it really is so worth it. (Although I have to say that after moving 4 times with kids, we are finished.)

Good luck, Talley Sue! Keep us posted!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 1:39AM
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Hi Tally Sue,

I can feel your stress coming right through the computer, and it feels exactly like my own stress does. I have spent the last 4 months feeling that way. We are building and were supposed to be moved into the new home in November and here it is February, and we haven't moved yet. Delays with the construction of our new home have caused us to be living with boxes for 6 months. Some of the boxes have been packed and unpacked several times. Pack up the holiday stuff...we'll be moving before the holidays.OOPS another delay, Unpack the holiday stuff...Holidays are over, Pack it back up !! It's been a nightmare. Same thing with the winter clothes. We were planning to do a FSBO, but finally gave up...Never even put up a sign, always another thing to do first, another item to add to the list. So we decided to wait till we move out, then list it with a realtor, that way once it's empty and clean, and freshly painted, it will STAY CLEAN.

And I don't even have kids still at home, but do have 3 little dogs and 2 cats. Their toys and clutter are worse than kids, and you canÂt tell them to pick up their toysÂThey just wonÂt help clean, no matter how many times I ask them. HAHA! I work 40+ hours a week and have 7 grandkids who love to visit, (with all their gear in tow). So DH and I just decided to not even try to sell until we move. Sure, we are dipping deeply into our saving to pay a construction loan and a mortgage while we do this, but hopefully will be able to recoup it when the house sells. The main thing you need to do is remember your home is a home, not a model home. A loving happy family really lives there, and with people come some nicks, smudges and a little clutter. If a buyer really likes your home, IT WONÂT MATTER.
It doesnÂt have to be perfect, a lived in feel can be a good thing. They will see that a happy family lives there, and will feel the love that this home has inside it and will envision themselves living in such a lovely, happy home.

Hang in there girl, youÂve given good advise to so many others. Now take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can do this !! Good Luck !!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 9:29AM
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We have rented instead of buying the past 5 years because I couldn't handle having to sell a house every time dh had to move to another city because of the job. If you can afford to, it definitely makes sense to move first and then sell the apartment. But I would leave some furniture in the "old" apartment just so people could get a sense of someone living there. Again, that might not be possible for you to do. At least according to all those shows on selling your home, it is much easier to sell when there is less furniture and no clutter.

I would hire a painter/handyman. Let him take care of the molding. If you know someone else will be doing all those little fix-ups, your stress level will begin to go down. Plan on a cleaning woman the day or two before the apartment goes on the market.

As far as decluttering goes, you need to make a choice. Either declutter before the move or do it after. I always planned to declutter my house before every move and would do a bit but then the crunch time came and everything got packed into boxes, needed or not. It's taken me several months this year to finally declutter; it does take time even when you're focused on it.

I know that the thought of having to go through all of the stuff after a move is not something to look forward to but then you will have time and can go through a couple of those boxes a night in front of the TV in your new apartment. Eventually, it will get done.

Is there any way for your kids to spend a weekend at their friend's homes? You could return the favor after you move. Or can they spend a weekend with family members? You are lucky to have family members. I was always on my own with my 5 kids and didn't even have dh to help me because he'd always be in a new city working.

Perhaps the owners of your new apartment haven't found a new place yet. Could that be the reason they haven't done the paperwork yet? Is the offer that they've accepted legally binding so that even if you don't have the offer in hand, you know the place is yours for the price you agreed on? I would want the contract signed because then you will know how much time you have until you have to move and it will help you to feel secure as well.

Talley Sue, make a list of everything that needs to be done. I'd make two lists, one if I want this done quickly (hiring people, putting things in boxes to go through later) and another if I had much more time (declutter everything). Isn't the new apartment close by? If you end up having a few days to move into the new place, you could end up taking over boxes from the kitchen, bathrooms, closets, etc. and setting up everything before the furniture comes. This would take the pressure off of having to pack up the house of those things you use daily. We've always done this, when possible, on local moves even when I had to drive 1/2 hour from one place to another.

Please keep us informed on how it's going. We do care about you. This really is a good place to vent.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 2:18PM
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Honey -- you need a BIG glass of wine -- and a whole box of chocolates!!!!!

You have done so wonderfully well during all this stress -- my little head would have blown right off by this point!!! LOL!!

Excellent suggestions above -- check out the cost of having a handyman to help out on the jobs --- and the cost of an In-House babysitter (even a teenager to keep an eye on the kids while you work around -- load up on videos, snacks -- and designate a "play zone" for them)

Stick to decluttering the OBVIOUS areas of each room -- like the desks or boxes in a corner etc. Again -- do you have a friend or pal that could lend you a couple of hours to help out??? (bribery works wonders!!! LOL!)

Take care of yourself -- and your family WILL be just fine and dandy too!! Keep posting -- we are here to commiserate!!!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 3:01PM
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Thanks for all the encouragement!

Well, I got DH to get his mom to keep the kids for the WHOLE weekend. (I haven't trained them very well; they're not much help; I spend as much time arguing w/ them and enforcing the directions as I spend just doing it all myself. So having them around for the WHOLE day means I have about 3 hours of productivity.)

We did hire a handyman, who came today to finish off the bathroom cabinets (he has to come back and put in the filler piece). DH got through all his little painting chores.

I got all the drilling & attaching done except for 2--the mirror in the little bathroom, and reattaching the transom in the big bathroom.

We moved out the pieces of incidental furniture I wanted out for now (didn't toss, bcs in the new place, they may come in handy, since there will be another bedroom).

Kids won't be back until tomorrow after the snow stops (they'll have a ball at grandma's in the snow, since they packed snow pants and snow boots).

So after church, I can put up the mirror, and maybe do the transom.

Some of these little jobs just snowballed--installing a magnetic catch in the sink tilt-out tray took an hour; bcs I kept having to adjust it. But it's done!

I do need to get some major weeding-out done in the kids' room; they fight me at every turn, so I can't really have them pack stuff up. They'll just keep taking it out of the box.

I've done a ton already, but another 3 boxes out would really make a difference, I think.

Our buyers have retired to Pennsylvania, so they don't need a new place. I'm a little surprised they aren't in more of a hurry, because they're carrying this place while they wait for it to sell. But they're like us--a little bit glacial anyway. And they know we haven't been able to put our placeon the market yet, so they're being accommodating. But we gotta get going, bcs who *knows* how long it'll take us to find someone?

Thanks again! I feel a lot less alone.

I like that "post a list in every room" idea--then everybody can see what they might be able to do (even me!).

Unfort. lots of this stuff is stuff that only I can do efficiently.

Maybe I'll sic the kids on packing up some more of their books. DD did about 3 boxes already.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 9:06PM
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I don't have any advice to offer, but good luck with everything. Congrats on finding a place, and I hope they send the contract back soon.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 11:56PM
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Sounds good Talley -- Kids really will have an adventure.

Would the kids understand if you told them that getting stuff out into a storage unit will get you a higher price for the apt. since anything that looks "crowded -- closets, shelves, etc. makes the space look smaller.

`Best of luck with all of this.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 9:36AM
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The kids get the general idea, and actually have agreed to send away to storage some stuff I was sure they'd resist--Barbies, for example.

And we moved out two of DD's pieces of furniture to make the place look less crowded.

The big progress I MUST have them away for is, the little stupid pieces of paper that need to get thrown away. DD makes tons of little paper dolls; she doesn't even remember where they are, but if she SEES them go in the garbage, she'll have a fit.

When they got back tonight, I forgot to move the paper wastebasket out of her room, and I found her digging through it and taking stuff out.

But I got a lot done in her closet & their room (she said, "I want to keep my closet neat!"--her big closet is really also her dressing room; she used to do her homework in there).

I still need to tidy up DS's toys (and I'm going to throw out the broken remote-control jeep).

Here's what's left to do with the drill:
-reattach the broken transom (I put the hinges up this weekend, but need another set of hands to attach the transom)
-hang the bathroom mirror

Then, it's mostly packing away of *my* stuff, and clearing off my dresser. Oh, and weeding out the "cleaning supplies" closet, so it doesn't look like there's no room for stuff. There is--we just have too much stuff. I *think* we can put the ad in this weekend's NYTimes!

I feel a lot better. It was a very good thing, getting them OUT of the house while we worked.

Now, most of the demoralizing mess is:
1) the bathroom stuff, which should go back in tomorrow night after DH does the last hand-sanding of the plaster, and I can vacuum & wipe down the cabinets
2) the boxes, believe it or not, that I've been bringing home from work to pack stuff away in.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 10:28PM
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Wow! You really are on a roll! Is there any way that you can take off a day of work before putting your place on the market just to do all the little things that are left? And the kids would be in school... Or do you feel that you'll have enough time and energy just working in the evenings to get it all done by the weekend?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 11:27PM
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Way to go. Would it surprise you to know that I only got rid of grown up daughter's Hello Kitty shrinky dinks in the throwaways in January, 2006. Neither of us could part with them at the time--is there any room for storage at MIL's?

Sounds like you are moving forward at a good clip.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 12:29PM
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I'm in crunch mode at work too, so can't really take a day this week.

And we're getting close enough that think it's important to just get it on the market now.

I understand about the shrinky-dinks--I did keep SOME of the teeny little card-stock dolls she draws, just not the ones in messy little piles down behind something.

We'll have a bit more storage in the new place, so we'll be able to put some stuff like that there.

Now I'm starting to think about stuff like curtains for the bathroom & kitchen....later, though, after more stuff is out. Bcs for one thing, it'll be easier to DO something like that, w/ less stuff around!!

The really sad thing is that we could never face the chore of redoing our floors--and they desperately need it; they look crummy. My hope is that we can get someone interested long enough for us to say, "we'll work w/ the buyer, over the months before closing, so that the floors are beautiful when they move in."

I think we'll tackle the transom tonight. That, and decluttering the rest of the DR.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Hi Talley,

I sympathize--boy have I been where you are, minus the kids. We moved two years ago and we are STILL digging out. Aaargh.

Do you know where you're moving to? If so, it is so worth it to measure out your rooms and figure out whether your furniture will fit. I am still mad at myself for not doing this with our last move. We spent a lot of time and money moving furniture that just won't work in our new house.

Do you know about Materials for the Arts? They are one of the few charities in the NYC area that will PICK UP. I heart them for that reason. Their phone # is:


You have to schedule a pickup day during the week, but if you ask, they'll usually put you on the schedule early. What I did when we were moving is to book a date 2 weeks in advance, then box our donations and list out what was in every box (I had a sheet of paper taped to each copy box lid, and as I put stuff in, I wrote it down). Then, M4A came and took the mountain of boxes away. WHEW. And we got a nice receipt for our taxes with a valuation!

In your situation, I would take a copy box, declutter, then tape each box shut, mark it, and put it in your storage area--away from prying little (and big) fingers. Materials for the Arts people usually show up with a huge rolling bin--you can load them in directly from your storage area.

I also recommend the craigslist FREE section for bulky stuff--just make sure that you list out a block of time that you will be available for pickup ("Sunday the 19th between 11 am and 4 pm) and ask people to call you and make an appointment. The NYC craigslist really hops. Also, try finding a charity near where you work and taking a grocery bag in and dropping it off on your lunch hour.

Best of luck!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Talley-- Would it make sense to get some cheapo runners/area rugs. My DD did that and it brightened up the whole room. (Sort of like fresh new towels for the bathroom perk up the whole space.)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 5:37PM
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I forgot to say something that you probably also know but bears repeating. A couple of really beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers takes the eye away from some of the problems. DD did that too. Pricey (I know because I paid) but you want that apartment on the market and OFF the market in a NYC nanosecond.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 5:41PM
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The runners/area rugs might not be a bad idea--the entryway it a bit problematic bcs the doors are VERY close to the ground; I tried a rug there, but the doors wouldn't open.

But in the bedroom, that might work, so that the floors don't make a first impression--then, once someone really likes the apartment and notices the sections of the floor that look good (all the low-traffic corners, LOL!), we can talk about how great they'll look after way pay to have them redone before they move in, LOL!

I hadn't heard about Materials for the Arts! That's a great idea; I'm going to keep them on file. Right now we're not moving anything out permanently. Some small stuff will go to a flea market at church (raising money to offset airfare for folks going to muck out houses in New Orleans).

We do know where we're going--an apartment in the building next door that's exactly the same except for one additional room (and the bathroom is in a different spot). So we know everything will fit.

I think I'll need to sit down w/ needle and thread and sew the corner of the fringe on the Oriental rug.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 6:47PM
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Also, freshly baked cookies from the oven always helps the place smell good.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 10:06PM
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well, real life interfered--spent my evening rounding up documents for the tax lady, since our appointment is tomorrow. Rats.

I'll try to do a teeny bit of decluttering tomorrow.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 11:11PM
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Also, freshly baked cookies from the oven always helps the place smell good.

Careful with the scents ... they can give some folks the impression that you're trying to hide another smell. And some of us who've been house-hunting over the years have caught on to some of the more cliched staging tricks. :-)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 9:11AM
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Actually you don't need to bake cookies -- just put some cinamon [pardon my non-spelling] on some tin foil or a pie pan.. stick it in the oven on low.... At least I didn't end up eating the cookies that way & gaining weight!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 3:40PM
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Talley Sue,

Sorry I missed your near nervous breakdown/pity party, but I've been having my own for the past 10 days or so.

Hope you feel more in control now. I know the "can't get it under control" feeling way too well!

Have a friend or neighbor stop by the house for a walk through, pretend it's their first time, and tell you the first thing they notice in every room. Might make a difference in what you're stressing over.


P.S. And that realtor's idea on hiding toys? I think not!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 5:03PM
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That's not a bad idea, Julie--thanks for that--and for the hugs.

Boy, real life still hasn't stopped to let us have some time on this project. One of our closest friends died in a car accident, which kind of blew productivity, along w/ our hearts. And a beloved uncle's 60th bday party. Yikes!

We're a lot closer now--lots more stuff out of the way, etc. but I'm still a little panicky. I might see if I can get a day off this week, but THAT's kind of messed up, too--they're shutting down one of my magazines at work, and my full-timer left, so I don't have backup (and won't get it now, I bet--I'm glad I'm still employed--so far).

But of course, the closer I get to being ready, the easier it is to see stuff to take care of--planing the closet door so it'll close all the way, putting the transom back in, hiding the stereo cord better, washing woodwork, caulking in the kitchen, replace the rusty medicine cabinet....

I sometimes feel bad about myself, that I'm such a crummy homeowner that I didn't take care of these things long ago. But then I *do* one of them (like hang the mirror in the little bathroom--done, tonight, finally!), and I realize *why* I haven't done them. They may *seem* small, but they are actually sort of involved to do.

And the mere act of doing them will create its own set of complications--will a new medicine cabinet fit in the old hole in the wall, for example? and what do you do if it doesn't? I'd better stop--I'm getting a headache!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 10:04PM
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LOL... we don't have a medicine cabinet, just a mirror hanging to cover the hole in the wall left by the previous owners!

So sorry to hear you lost your friend. That's never easy and I'm sure your stress level went up another couple notches.

More hugs,

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 5:23AM
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Whenever I sold a house, all the things that I had wanted to do to it were always done just prior to putting it on the market. I wish that I had been able to enjoy the house the way I had envisioned it instead of doing all the work just for the purpose of seeling it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 11:03AM
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yeah, isn't that a bummer, marie? You & I are not the only ones it has happened to.

I decided this morning, all the little "piles" are going to just go in a box. Then, when there's a showing, I'll drag the box down to the basement or put it on a shelf in the big closet. And in between, I'll work my way through them. (It's mostly stuff I don't need readily anyway; that's how long they've been undisturbed)

once nice thing--it takes 90 days to sell a co-op, so I'll get to enjoy my nice new bathroom for a while anyway.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 2:50PM
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"You & I are not the only ones it has happened to.'

OK, you two have been talking with my mother! This was the story of our moving life. And my mom had some really nice ideas and touches that I think sold the homes quickly, but we sure never got to enjoy them.

Since Talley posted here, I've been going through the house with my pad of paper and room by room listing the items which need completing. We were really close with the remodel before we moved in and I fired the contractor. Much of I can do myself such as painting and hanging the rest of the light fixtures, but I need a way to get the thoughts, materials and tools organized. I don't want to mess with drywall in one room and turn around and need it again in two weeks.

My goal is to get to enjoy all of my own ideas since I'm finding I'm getting pretty darn comfortable with all of these small unfinished things. I hardly notice them.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 7:02PM
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Hi Talley,
I haven't been here for a long time, so I didn't even know you were moving. Moving is a pain. I was there 1 1/2 years ago too, if you remember. The fact that you have purged and organized as well as you have will really help. Definitely find someone to keep the kids for a while if you. We sold our house ourselves and were lucky enough to still have the inlaws in town to take the kids (thank goodness they didn't move away until after that! . . . maybe that's why they moved away!?) Anyway, whenever we did an open house they would keep the kids and they gave us a full weekend to get things ready without kids too. It is exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes tear provoking, but keep your eye on the prize . . . your new home . . . whenever you get depressed. It's what got us through. Best of luck . . . now lean into that computer so I can give you a big ol' hug of encouragement!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 7:23PM
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my DH is saying, "the kids can be extra good while people are touring the apartment"--I cannot get him to realize that it would be best if they were OUT of the house, at least for people's first visits.

Thanks for the hug, Brenda--i remember when you were moving, and I marveled at the idea that, w/ all your irons in the fire, you could. And apparently still function! You're my inspiration.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Talley Sue, I agree with you that it would be very helpful if the kids weren't around for the first showing. (Unfortunate, but true!)

You made me smile a little when you confessed to feeling like you weren't a very good homeowner. Your posts are such an inspiration to me -- I actually seek out your name so I can read them!!

Sorry I don't have any specific tips for you, but I like the ones others have suggested.

GOOD LUCK - hugs from Wisconsin!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 5:21PM
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Thanks for calling me an inspiration! How nice! Actually I did go pretty insane during that time, I just hid it from most people. My husband saw the real me and could attest to the fact that I was a wreck! But it all seems so distant now. Remember, keep your eyes on the prize!!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 7:16PM
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Brenda's so right - keep your eyes on the prize. That's the ONLY thing that kept me going. I was so excited to get this house that I found the strength to do anything! Maybe that's why I crashed and burned a few months after we moved into our new home?? (And that's when I found this forum and CRIED for help!)


    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 2:20AM
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well, sort of good news--the folks across the garden sold their apt, identical nearly to ours, for the price we want in 3 days!!

they had a broker, which means it will be slower for us--if it only takes 3 days, it seems the apt. will sell itself mostly, and why pay $27,000 to the broker? That's a lot of money! And since we're trading up, we'd have to roll that into the new mortgage, which means we'd be paying interest on it.

I think I'll try to take a day off this week, now that the deadlines have calmed down, and get more done before the ad goes in for Sat & Sun in the NYTimes.

SadieSadie, what nice words and thoughts!

Brenda, I *know* you were a wreck--but you came out the other side. That's why you're an inspiration.

We had a bday party today for DS (turning 8); getting ready was so easy, and cleaning the rooms was really fast, now that all the junk is out of the way. The place nearly feels ready.

Tomorrow I have to:
-take down the shoe&backpack shelves for deep storage
-reinstall the transom
-sand down the threshold of the linen closet, so the door will shut
-reinstall the shower-curtain rod & shower curtain in the big bathroom
-clean off the brand-spankin'-new tub surround in the big bath

And if I can splurge in terms of time, I'll put in the shower dispenser there!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 10:23PM
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Sounds like it is all coming together. I remember during that time our house was so clean, that it really was easy to add things like birthday parties or other "company over" events, because it was always "Company Ready". I wish we had kept things to that kind of a level always. It is hard to keep up the perfection forever though . . . I guess because we are not perfect! Keep us posted. I think it is smart you are selling it yourselves. We have done it ourselves three times now and the total savings is unbelievable to me! It is like giving yourself a HUGE bonus! And, what we found, is that if we ever had questions, the closers could always answer them anyway . . . at no cost! We used a title company to close our first two homes, but when we sold my inlaws home last summer, we ended up going with a real estate attorney and felt the small price difference was worth it, as they really helped us out with what was an "ugly sale". And they offer legal protection which the title companies didn't if things do "go South". Best of luck!!!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Marie, I think I may soon be in that situation. We've been slowly remodeling our house to be what we wanted. Now it looks as if we may have to finish it for someone else to enjoy. I really wanted to finish it & live in it finished for a while.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 9:58AM
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