Staging | Mark’s Remarks


Here we go again. Several years ago, I wrote two consecutive columns about moving to a new house.  

One person I know well said “Don’t write about moving again.” I was almost offended. However, I understand that not everyone is as interested in moving my family as I am. 

For some reason, I thought writing two consecutive columns about the topic was necessary. Sorry about that. Moving is a big, big deal. A life changer.  Monumental.  

I get tired thinking about it.

Now, a decade and then some later, we are doing it again. It is scary. There are so many factors in the moving and selling process that one could easily go crazy with anxiety worrying about it.

I’m telling everyone that we are trusting God for guidance and for opening doors. This is true, most of the time. But like all humans, I struggle with it.  

There are about 200 “what ifs” that seem to crop up here and there. I feel bad when I start feeling that way, because I know in my heart God can take care of way bigger issues than finding a house to move to.  So, I take some deep breaths and remember to take my anxiety pill at night.

I don’t want to be saddled with a bunch of work or upkeep. In my fantasy life, I picture a cozy home with plenty of space, little to no maintenance and everything updated and clean. And self-cleaning windows. And one of those little robot vacuums that will cause the dog to freak out. Ahhh. 

It’s nice to stay in the fantasy world for a bit.

And then that bubble above my head busts and I start laughing.

But heck, I’ve worked hard and I deserve it.  Right? I just keep thinking that feeling peace about the whole situation will come and I’ll say “Thanks, Lord.  Sorry I was such a basket case.”

Right now, our energies have been spent on making our house look like someone else could live there.  At times, I find the whole process somewhat comical, because it isn’t real. Our house is a pretend house right now.

Here’s how you get your house ready.  First, you “de-crappify” the house and try to box up all the extra stuff.  You tidy closets and make them look like three seasons of a wardrobe could fit in there. You spend a little money making the kitchen and bathrooms look nice.  You take down personal photos and all the superfluous stuff stuck to the outside of the fridge. 

All of it goes into a semi-organized pile in the garage, because people can envision the garage’s potential much more than the interior of the house.

Then you clean.  You use things like “Mr. Clean” dry erasers and floor spray that makes your floors sparkle. You scrub things you didn’t know needed scrubbing. You paint until you think there is nothing left to paint. You wash all the windows and mirrors. You shine the glass top stove and threaten anyone who touches it or sets anything on it. You make sure the tops of cabinets are wiped down and get rid of the 300 plastic cups and 98 coffee mugs inside so people think they can really make miracles happen in that kitchen. You change light bulbs, pull weeds and use the edger.  You mow several times and blow leaves over so that it looks like a lovely autumn scene instead of a weekend of raking. 

Since you yourself know all the little imperfections of the house, you hope potential buyers are open-minded, handy and possibly have vision challenges.  You hope that they can see possibilities easily – even though the house looks pretty good anyway. 

It’s the best we can do, fellas.

We prepared and got completely exhausted getting the house ready for photographs. Then, our highly talented realtor team came in and made our house look awesome.  The photographs were so wonderful that we almost reconsidered.  

The open house was scheduled and we all jumped in the car and drove away from this house, knowing it might become someone else’s that very day. Sure, it would take some time before we had to go, but it was highly possible someone would claim our home that day and be ready to make an offer.  Once someone had decided they wanted to live there, it would really no longer be our home.

What I also find strange is the relaxing you can do in a home that is ready to be sold. You see, so much cleaning and updating has been going on that all your “honey do” projects are really, well, over.  

Your house is clean. Painting and patching projects are completed. You have decided that all project plans have come to an end.  The laundry and dishes are done. Everything smells good. You need only to dust a little, shine a few mirrors and run the vacuum here and there. Once you are in the mode of making sure your house looks good, it’s easier to maintain.

Indeed, it seems like it is no longer our house, and we are just taking care of it until the next people come along.  

Those of you who are praying folks, I’d like to ask you to remember us.  What a strange and uneasy time to sell and buy a house. However, even if our faith is sometimes the size of a mustard seed, we are trusting God for his timing and guidance. 

For now, I am trying to remember the details and stay on top of keeping the place “showroom” ready.  

I found a pair of underwear hanging on a door knob the other day. Quickly, I stowed them away, hoping the next owners of the house wouldn’t sense that something was amiss.  

It might have been funny just to leave them there, if nothing else as a calling card to announce “real people have lived in this house.”

I’m not at liberty to say who owned said undergarments, simply because my disclosure would cause a whole heap of new problems.

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