Ladies and Gentlemen, I present our third and final edition to “How To Stage A House And Also Lose Your Mind”.
If you missed the two previous posts, sit your kids in front of a cartoon and get caught up. Your temporary neglect is so purposeful and necessary… they’ll be fine.
Check them out here:
How To Stage A House And Also Lose Your Mind Part (Part One)
Step One: Bring in a professional stager who will make you rethink everything you’ve ever done in your house.
Step Two: Live out the American Dream, which is to say, have a house of stuff and rent two storage units to hold your other stuff.
How To Stage A House And Also Lose Your Mind (Part Two)
Step Three: Tackle the to-do list from the stager and realize Joanna Gaines is a DIY Goddess and we are not worthy.
Step Four: Once you’ve successfully declutter your home, go shopping.
Step Five: Knock out those final items on the to-do list and laugh to keep from crying.
The final items on the to-do list are what I call the LOList. It’s the tasks that are bottom-of-the-barrel priority, but still need to be attended to in the staging preparation. Additionally, somewhere in the process of accomplishing those tasks, I will almost certainly LOL, ranging from a quiet snicker to an all-out cackle accompanied by a teensy bit of tinkle spray… choosing to laugh pretty much because my only other option is stress-induced sobbing.
Excerpts from the list and a description of how it went down:
LOList 1. Move dead copperhead off of our property
Just a shot in the dark, but we had to assume buyers weren’t in the market for a house with “granite countertops! new carpet upstairs! also venomous snakes nearby!” Just days before the house was to be listed, I put my daughter to bed and then my mom and I mulched the yard until I couldn’t feel my fingertips anymore. (My sugar daddy would’ve been out there with us, but he was at work chasing paper so we can buy nice things like name brand sunscreen, y’all hear me?) That three-foot-long viper tried to jump me as soon as the moon rose. My Parseltongue is a little rusty but it’s possible he slithered up like, “sssup” and I was like “NO HE DI’INT” and he was like “hisss” and then I got my mom to back her car over it like twelve times.
We let it sit dead by our driveway for a few days as a PSA to all the other snakes. Then we gave it a proper burial by scooping it with a shovel and catapulting it into the briars. NOT TODAY VOLDEMORT. Mama gotta stage.
LOList 2. Patch and paint holes in the wall.
What should’ve been the easiest, most-common staging task became the biggest thorn in my flesh, the project that wouldn’t die a finished, perfectly completed death. Ugh. Why were the paint cans we needed to use corroded with rust, tainting all my paint shades? Why were the three colors we needed all like 2 shade variations from each other?
How was I supposed to know that Lowes was going to mislabel 2 of the 3 new paint can shades? I mean.. you open a can of paint and stir that baby up, but it’s not until you get it on the wall for touch-ups that you’re like “OH. Nooo.. no no no.” Believe me.. I was in the master bathroom just slapping up guess and check brush strokes to figure out which can was supposed to go with those walls.
Low point, seriously weighing if the buyers would walk ALL the way into master bathroom to turn and see this piece of abstract art touch-up. I really wanted to just tape a Post-it underneath those wall touch-ups that said, “Ma’ams and Sirs, I TRIED”. And I’d leave the ink pen and Post-its in the bathroom in case they wanted to write back to me during showings and say reassuring things like, “Honey we know” or “You obviously devoted your time and attention to the living room, it shows.” THANK YOU FOR NOTICING, SHOWING #3.
LOList 3. Attach broken piece of wood back to vanity.
The side of the vanity had a painted wooden piece that chipped off, so I asked my husband, Daniel, to help me reattach it. In he comes with a bottle of Super Glue. Now, I taught elementary school for seven years and I can man-handle some Elmer’s Glue, y’all. I’d never worked with Super Glue before but I figured it was only six degrees of separation from its cousin, Elmer, so I was all in.
Daniel dotted the back of the piece with Super Glue and had me press it onto the vanity to hold it in place. I was not prepared for the glue to seep out from behind and bond with my fingertips. I straaaightttt up superglued my fingers into the wood. It was touch-and-go for at least 45 seconds. I went through the fastest grieving process in humankind and made peace with the amputation of all fingers, if that would solve the problem of superglued wood fingers. Daniel helped yank my fingers off of the wood, with no regard for my tender epidermis, and then- because who stops to think this through- I then touched my fingertips together and couldn’t break them apart. (Reminder: I am responsible for raising a human. What is wrong with me)
The end of the story involves a cocktail of nail polish remover, dish soap, hot water, a Brillo pad, and a lot of minutes. The vanity did get fixed and so did my fingers, but my biggest takeaway: Super Glue is no relative or friend to Elmer, nor can it be man-handled. It handled me.
Step Six: Set aside a day to outsource the deep cleaning of your house.
I wisely hired people to fumigate my house using enormous amounts of Lysol and Clorox. Don’t judge me, you people peddling your all-natural cleaning products and the special cleaning cloths and the nontoxic ingredients you use to disinfect all the surfaces. LISTEN. I was in a bad way trying to get my house ready, which required that I tap into my strongest skill set: Googling. I found a squad to work their cleaning magic and it just so happened their potions included Clorox. They could’ve come into my house and sprayed bleach and ammonia all over the hardwoods… if the end product resulted in shiny, clean floors, then girl you just go right on ahead.
Step Seven: Ban your children from eating, playing, breathing, and living in the staged house.
A List of Our House Rules
1. If you need to eat today, you can sit in your appointed location at the kitchen table and gum your food like a 90 year old. Cleaning up your trail of sandwich crumbs seven times a day would literally put me in the grave. If this is a problem Hansel and Gretel, you can walk yourself out to the curb and bite into the triple stacks of Ritz crackers you were trying to eat on the ottoman. You may return inside when all crumbs are accounted for and not located on your clothes, face, fingers, shoelaces, or pockets.
2. From this point forward, playing inside the house does not include couch forts, borrowing any Tupperware containers, or taking out the entire collection of dress up clothes. While we’re at it, I’ve already staged your toys in the playroom, so we no longer play with toys inside either. You may play all the hilarious and fun things in your imagination, but SO HELP ME if you unstack all the blankets from the rattan basket again or unroll any paper towels… I will move your belongings to the shed, angel children, and you will sleep there until our house sells.
3. Breathing is now regulated in our house as well. You may breathe regular air like a normal person doing normal things. We no longer permit breathing on glass to write our names in the fog. Penalty for breaking this rule will be revoking all rights to your own name, so that you will have nothing to write in the fog. This rule protects mirrors, windowpanes, and drinking glasses to stay stage-ready at all times.
Step Eight: Run two dozen laps around the house purposelessly because don’t you have to do more things?? Then list it.
There you have it, everyone.
Eight simple steps that will guarantee that you will have a wonderfully staged house and also have zero chill at the end of it. Your emotions will be frayed and fragile but that house will be your masterpiece creation. Godspeed to all of you on your staging journeys. I’ll just be here tending to my eye twitch and residual heart palpitations… the price one must pay to sell your house. And your soul.