Tuesday, August 9, 2016

If You Want To Enjoy Your Home More, Act Like You're Moving

We moved a little over a year ago. I may have mentioned this a time or two before

They say that moving is one of the top five life stressors. It's right up there with death of a loved one, a major illness, and job loss. In many ways, I can affirm the accuracy of that statement. 

On the other hand, I can say that moving had many upsides. One of them being that we really enjoyed the last few months that we lived in the home we were moving from. That was in part because we knew that we were leaving that house and that area and so we took the time to notice and appreciate things that we had previously taken for granted. 

But there was another reason and that was because our house was in tip-top shape. Having the house on the market and "show ready" at a moment's notice was not the most fun I've ever had, especially given that my husband was traveling weekly. Getting three kids and myself out the door by 7 AM takes doing on any day. It took some extra doing and creativity to do so without strewn Legos or dishes in the sink. (Hint: Put the dishes in the oven if the dishwasher is clean and hasn't been emptied. Potential buyers rarely look in the oven!)

While leaving in the mornings was an exercise in frustration and speed cleaning, coming home each day was lovely. Things were spit-shined and de-cluttered. Mirrors gleamed and floors shone. It was like walking into a model house with a personalized feel. But even more enjoyable than the absence of stray coffee cups and toys underfoot was coming home to a house with a finished feel. There were no lingering house projects: all the light switches matched, paint had been touched up, and the back patio was power washed. In short, our house felt complete - even if it truly wasn't - because we'd finally gotten around to doing all the small projects that had hardly been worth putting on the To Do List. 

No matter how much time and attention we lavish on our homes, they are always evolving - in both function and feel. Things break or need replacing, styles change as do the seasons. You can go to the hardware store every weekend in a row and still forget that one $3 part that you've been meaning to buy for months. All of the inconsequentials eventually add up to something consequential. 

So, if you want to get the maximum enjoyment from your house, pretend like you're moving. That's not to say that things can't be done in stages or that you need to finalize every project all at once. Just walk through your house the way a buyer would. What is your eye drawn to? A mirror that still needs hanging? A rug that needs shampooing? Wall dings that need patching?  Take a weekend and knock out these nagging projects. Then walk thru the house a second time with a To Go bag and make the things that need to go, gone. 

This process will garner you all the benefits of moving, without the hassle or heartache. 

(On a funny, side-related note: On a day when the house had been shown several times, I came home to find that in my closet, where I had spent time straightening my hangers and front-facing my clothes, I had neglected to notice that one of my sons had left his handcuffs hooked onto a laundry basket. If anyone noticed it, I can only hope they thought it was a dramatic statement about laundry and not anything else.)


  1. I so enjoyed this post. We had talked of downsizing and for the first time, I have done just as you said. Look at the house as if you were a buyer and see what they see. Boy do I have a lot of work to do! But I see the house differently now than before, and maybe I love it all over again :)

  2. Not many people enjoy moving I think. Unless you're committed to exploring the different cities and countries. In that case, you're going to have so little in storage to begin with that it really wouldn't be too much of a hassle to move at all anyway.