After being so excited about putting money down on a new home, we were immediately faced with the reality of selling our current one. It’s a cute little house on the northwest edge of town surrounded by untouched desert and an abundance of saguaros. I felt fairly good that it would sell quickly but no matter what, selling a house is stressful.
Our realtor (and Ralph’s friend) informed us that the timetable was set: To be in on the prime selling season, we needed to have the house ready to show in 12 days. Eeeek!
I expected a certain amount of stress to come with the territory, but stress is only the beginning. From the emotional impact of letting go of a home we started our family in to the physical effort of moving furniture, painting, cleaning and hauling away junk, selling a house is whole body and mind process. One week in and we had cleaned up the landscaping, touched up all the interior paint, steamed the carpets, patched drywall, repaired molding and took 3 loads of junk to Goodwill. Then it was time to stage. We were already exhausted.
As someone who gets stressed out by clutter, it surprised me how much junk I had to give away or hide to stage the house. It’s also no small feat to keep a house clean with a 21 month old toddling around with snacks and applesauce pouches. All our practical everyday items pretty much needed to be out-of-sight. Pretty towels are out and the actual towels we use are in a secret hiding place. The exhaustion continues.
Next up, no stinky food. We realized right away that we really shouldn’t boil a pot of eggs or have fish and broccoli cooking in case someone wanted to look at the house. No one wants to buy a house that smells foul.
The most ironic thing, was that after we decluttered and freshened the house we started falling back in the love with it again. It was still too small and in the wrong location, but it really is such a nice house…but we must sell.
Nine days after our house is listed, we leave for our trip to Maui (leaving the house in perfect showing condition). The third person comes to look at our house on day 11 and makes an offer on day 12. What a relief, and better yet, it’s a great cash offer but they want us out in 30 days.
Thank God for our trip to Maui in the middle of all this because we realized that the exhaustion was not near over! Now we must pack up almost 8 years of stuff and move somewhere temporary until our house is ready in late fall or early winter. We can’t just pack everything up, but we have to pack in two categories: new house and temporary apartment. The decisions are endless. What can I live without for the next 6 months? What will Cayman need and what can be stored?
Even with my 100 steps ahead planning style, I still ordered the wrong amount of storage PODS and we had to finish up again another day while still addressing the longish list of fix-it’s for the buyer before the final walk-through. Oh, and moving never brings out the best in people. Never. No one is saying, “Oh, great job, honey! Isn’t this fun?”
Now it is a couple days before we sign the closing paperwork and I’m wondering if I’ll feel a sense of loss at the finality of saying goodbye to our home. Cayman’s first home. My first home with Ralph. And all the personal growth I’ve experienced while living there. I’m a completely different person since buying that house. For the better, I hope. Definitely with a much richer, fuller life than I ever imagined.
In our new house, my vow is to live an uncluttered life, not weighed down by junk and surrounded by the things I love the most, but most importantly, the people I love the most.
We made it. We’ve arrived. We survived. We have our family weekends back!