When I saw those two pink lines at the end of January this year my entire perspective on life shifted. My focus went from my one amazing child to the prospect of another. Then the pregnancy ended. And my husband accepted a permanent job. And we prepared our apartment to sell. And we listed it. And on and on.
Since those two pink lines I have not been the best mother. I’m not being unnecessarily harsh on myself here. Actually I’m doing the opposite. I’m allowing myself to feel all the feels that go along with major life changes and loosing sight of the present.
Now it is time to return my focus to Sabine.
It happened when I picked Sabine up from school on Friday. It was unseasonably cold and drizzling rain. I did not have a coat and my feet ached. I just wanted to go home and veg out.
“I want to take a walk with my rainbrella (Sabine’s term for umbrella).”
This was the LAST thing I wanted to do, but something in her voice told me this was important.
“Yes, let’s park the car at the apartment and we’ll leave all our stuff in it and go for a walk with the umbrella right away,” I said. “Shall we walk into the fancy neighborhood and look for the bee hive?”
Sabine’s eyes lit up and she bounced with joy. So we walked in the drizzling rain and when the rain stopped we folded up the umbrella and kept walking. We walked along the grassy median in the road and stopped to inspect things whenever the mood struck. We laughed, we played. We got a little wet and dirty.
For the first time in a long while I felt like I was fully present and alive with my little person. I was a mother again. A mother to my one perfect child and two more who might have been. And, most importantly, I was perfectly comfortable just where I was. I don’t need more. I don’t need less. I have everything my heart desires right this moment.
On our walk back we noticed some mushrooms. Sabine paused to inspect them and announced they were “a family – Mama, Dada and Baby.”
Yes, my child. Just like us. Just like us.
Our open house went fantastically well this weekend. So well that on Monday we were presented with three offers, two under asking price and one a little bit over asking. I am still dumbfounded by how “easy” this was. Granted, there still are still a lot of details that could throw the entire transaction, but finding buyers did not end up being a problem! I asked the agent about why there was so much interest so quickly and she said there were three reasons:
- The market for true two bedrooms is hot
- She has a lot of great connections
- Our place showed beautifully
And No. 3, she said, was the real clincher. All the weeks remodeling, packing and styling paid off. She said every person who walked into our apartment loved it and complimented not just the physical structure, but also everything in it.
For not being a professional stager, she said, I did a damn fine job. So what all did I do and how can you style your home for a quicker sale? Here you go!
Belle’s Super Shiny Tips for Staging Your Home
- Pack up all personal items. I read this tip all over the internet and thought sure, pack up the photos. Done. But then I started to look around and there was a lot more than just photos that would tell perspective buyers who we were. The cat sculpture in the bathroom, the vegan cookbooks on the shelves, the guitars on the wall, the board games in the closet, the odd collection of mustaches – all of these things were specifically “us.” So I packed them, hid them, or in the case of books, turned them around.
- Think “hotel” when picking items to display. I would view each room as it if were a hotel and then chose neutral, minimal details to display. Simple milk glass vases, some soothing landscapes and a bowl full of fresh lemons were just enough accessories to make the main living area feel warm and inviting but not personal.
- Think green. Fresh flowers and healthy houseplants can do so much to fill a room with life. In my case, however, fresh flowers are not an option. Our cats eat everything and then barf flower-colored vomit on the floor. Instead I spend a little money on some high-end “real touch” silk flowers. The tulips were the perfect “pop” of color and everyone who comes in thinks they are real. (Secret – I put water in the vase right before each open house, too!)
- Clear everything off your kitchen counters. All that
crapstuff on your counters is making your kitchen look small. Put it all away or pack it up. I went the extra mile and picked up two inexpensive soap dispensers for dish and hand soaps. It really helped make the space look neutral and clean.
- Buy neutral bedding and linens. The bed was given an inexpensive white quilt and shams and I picked up some white “for display only” towels from the clearance rack. These two small changes alone made a huge difference. I also removed a lot of throw pillows and blankets.
- Style your closets. I went through all our closets and the hallway wardrobes and put everything we would not need in the next three months into storage. I bought inexpensive white bins from Ikea and stashed all our other crap in them so when you open the doors you are greeted with the illusion of gloriously organized whiteness. I also splurged on velvet hangers that made a huge difference in how clothing hung and how large the closets appeared. Then I organized the clothing by color to make it look even prettier.
- Bins for toys are your new best friend. I put the blue bins back into Sabine’s room so all her toys could be hidden away. Gone is my Montessori style play space but now her room looks larger, more neutral and it is MUCH easier to clean up in the 60 seconds I have before she starts making another mess!
- Last but not least, clean like you have never cleaned before. We cleaned everything. Inside cabinets and closets, the trash can, all the nooks and crannies around the toilet, the appliances, and more. Everything should shine and look new. Also, I used chemicals. Normally I swear by baking soda and vinegar alone but for this situation, chemicals worked so much better. I bought polish for my granite, stainless steel cleaner for our sink and faucets, wood cleaner for the floors and cabinets and soft scrub for anything and everything needing a little bleaching.
What have you done to prepare a house or apartment to sell quickly?
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since my last post we have been spending every waking hour preparing our apartment to sell. From the major renovation of the bathroom, to the nit-picky polishing of the kitchen sink nothing was left undone. I also rented a storage unit and packed about 1/4 of our possessions away so the apartment feels light, airy and there is no risk of a potential buyer being crushed to death when hiking gear and baby toys fall from the closets!
Last Friday a professional photographer came by to photograph it in all it’s clean, polished splendor. I am absolutely obsessed with the photos – everything is so fresh and perfectly styled!
Our agent is holding an open house today and tomorrow. Fingers crossed we get an offer quickly! More next week on the renovations, selling process and moving plans!