The next chapter – selling my house and buying a new one – may be stressful, but it is my choice, unlike the previous chapter of my life – dealing with a house fire – which is a stress I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Last week I met with my realtors to fill out new paperwork and sign new contracts. The old ones, signed back in April before the fire disrupted my plans, are no longer valid. On the downside, I have to disclose the fire, which may turn some buyers off. On the upside, almost everything in my house is new and improved, which should encourage other buyers. Sharon and Bob, my realtors, think the house will go fast and want me to have a shortlist of houses I like beforehand, just in case I need to move fast. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of houses on the market in January and while there is one house high on my list, there’s no guarantee it will be available next month when I’ll most likely be ready to put in a bid. Having fewer houses on the market certainly helps me as a seller, but it’s not so helpful for me as a buyer. Since my move is voluntary, I don’t want to settle for just any ole house and I’m not willing to move into temporary housing until I find one. I’ve moved too many times this year. I did mention that this process is stressful, right?
In the meantime, I am preparing for a move as much as possible. I’ve finally cleaned away all traces of my kids’ vacation break. They’re back at college now and I’m assuming I’ll sell before they return, so the upstairs should stay clean. Downstairs is another story. The dogs and I still live here and it shows. Dark wooden floors may look great, but they sure show the dust and hair. I can blame the dogs for the hair and bits of dried grass and leaves on the floors, but they can’t reach the cluttered kitchen counters, so I have to share some of the blame. At least I don’t have to worry about downscaling and decluttering. A fire automatically does that for you, not that I’d recommend it as a method (see above: stress).
Then there’s my garage. The entire non-car side is stacked high with boxes, mostly of my books, but a good amount of off-season clothes, extra linens, and non-essential kitchen stuff. I don’t plan to unpack them, but my contractor keeps bringing over more boxes, so I’m running out of space. I decide to go through as many book boxes as I can and see if I can consolidate the contents. Sure enough, I manage to pack the books tighter and get rid of four boxes. I don’t really get rid of them, of course. I’m almost looking forward to packing since it won’t be preceded by desperate hunts around town for boxes. Instead, I stack all the empty boxes I’ve been saving in the upstairs closets, high on the shelves, hoping they won’t detract too much from my staging efforts.
Now that I’m counting down to selling day (in approximately 2 weeks), I start eyeing everything in my house with the idea of packing away as much as possible. Just how many towel sets or bed linens do I really need? I don’t need quite so many cups and glasses, either, as they won’t wind up forgotten in the kids’ rooms, clustered together on a nightstand along with numerous empty soda cans. Do I really need all my coats and jackets? Surely a couple of each should get me through the season. I draw the line at my shoes, though; they’ll stay in my closet until the last minute. My jewelry, too. Living with relatively little in the rental house during the 5-month rebuild prepared me to live in my own house with just a fraction of my stuff. When I finally do unpack everything in my future new smaller empty-nester house, it will be a time of discovery. I can hardly wait!