Hello, and welcome everybody to “How to Stage a House And Also Lose Your Mind”.
Before we get started, I’d like to take a moment and thank our fake sponsor, The Magic Eraser, for magically erasing the closet and hall markings that would have otherwise led buyers to believe that we kept uncaged raccoons in our home, served them Mountain Dew, and then let them climb up the walls. (To offer perspective, if I’d won the Powerball last week, I would have used all the money to buy more Magic Erasers and also world peace.)
Summer 2017 held lots of changes and a season of massive transition for our family. When I wasn’t busy attending to my skin melting off in the 99 degree weather (humidity level: Satan’s morning breath), I was probably inside surrounded by moving boxes and packaging tape, boxing up every blessed (and cursed) thing we own. We moved forward in the process of selling our home without finding a house to purchase, so we pulled the oldest trick in the Millennial Book and moved back home with my Mom while we continue our search. (Hey Roomie!) I missed being able to sit down and write this summer, but TRUST FAM, this post wrote itself every time I taped a box shut or cleaned out a closet.
Prepping a house to get it ready for a sale- especially if you’ve lived there longer than ten minutes- is just an absolute nightmare. It’s the Project of all Projects. Since we’ve walked this road the past few months, I’d like to gather all of you Young Grasshoppers close and describe what it’s like to prep and stage a house to perfection. This post is just Part One; more posts will roll out continuing the steps on How to Stage a House in the next few days, so stay tuned. HUR WE GO:
1. Step One: Bring in a professional stager who will make you re-think everything you’ve ever done in your house.
Our stager was wonderful and had a great eye for how to simplify and beautify a space. This essentially meant that as she walked through every room in our house she gave some variation of “ummmmmmmmm no”. One of our conversations was like,
Stager: “Let’s go see the guest room”
Me: “Alright, I’ll walk you upstairs”
S: “Ohhhhhhhkayyy so this room is very cluttered already”
Me: “yah it sucks”
S: “A lot of dark colors… a lot of dark furniture…”
Me: “ive always hated this room too Cindy”
S: “We’re going to need to make a lot changes in here”
Me: “ok let’s just set it on fire”
If you want to know what a stager will tell you to do, here’s the short version: put all of your husband’s college furniture in a place known as Not Your House, place a bowl of fruit on the table, and do most of the projects you should’ve done two years into living there that you didn’t do because you were watching Parenthood Season 4.
2. 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.
Getting your house stage-ready means you have to declutter, which then requires you to decide if you’re going to get rid of the stuff or put it into storage. The great thing about storage units is that they make amazing settings for CSI episodes where the serial killer stores all of his victims’ ponytails. Also, the location where a criminal stacks his gold bars and then sits in a lawn chair in the unit to count all of them. I guess what I’m getting at is that low-lit storage units make me feel suspicious of everyone and creeped out by everything. So naturally, when it’s time for us to declutter the house and rent a storage space, I went on high alert for for anyone who’d wanna cut off my ponytail every time we dropped off boxes or furniture.
Aside from my mental anguish at walking down the creepy hallways of a storage unit, I did consider it a personal goal to perfect my flat bed driving skills. Driving one of those is essentially a combination of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road (where I’m an unpredictable, largely unsafe driver) and Tokyo Drift (where I’m drifting the flat bed at every turn to make it around a corner) plus trying to hold four boxes, a nightstand, and some cornhole boards steady so they don’t topple off. You can’t even sing “Jesus Take The Wheel” because Jesus is like, “sry, cant help you on this one. you’re in satans building, safe travels”
As my husband and I would start unloading, we would ask ourselves, “What can we do with our two year old right now to win Parent of the Year?” Answer: let her sit unsupervised in an armchair in a storage unit and eat easy mac while we Tetris our furniture into place. Please do not send us a Parent of the Year trophy, because it would probably end up in this storage unit; instead you may put our parenting accolades on blast on all social media channels and we will humbly receive your kind words.
We were pushing stuff into those units and stacking boxes straight up to the ceiling. My husband’s most endearing habit lately has been to ask me where an item could possibly be located: “Have you seen where my black belt is?”, “Do you know where the cable box would be?”, “Which storage unit has the box of my grilling stuff?”… Every single time, I lay hands on his handsome face and say I CAN NO SOONER TELL YOU WHERE ANYTHING IS IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW than if I walked four hours and seven minutes across town to the storage unit and took every single item out one-by-one to find that cable box. (Which I will not be doing, so R.I.P. cable box, black belt, grilling stuff, also Blu-Ray DVDs, steak knives, and whatever was in his nightstand.)
You have been granted exclusive access to Steps One and Two of staging a house, but y’all know I got more to say. Check back soon for Part Two to assess my level of crazy while trying to DIY stain our coffee table in house-staging mode… Suffice it to say: the cray hit the fan. See y’all back here soon!