Welcome back everyone to “How To Stage a House and Also Lose Your Mind”, Part Two.
If you’re just joining us for the first time, I’mma need you to pause here and go read Part One so you can understand how I feel about stagers and storage units. Basically, what you need to know is that I would rather have a flight delayed four times, sit on the tarmac for hours without pretzels or Wi-Fi, and then taxi back to the gate, than have to get a house ready to sell ever again in my lifetime. Now that I’m a complete expert at prepping a house to be staged to perfection, I’ve decided to impart my wealth of knowledge to all of you (at no cost) (unless you want to pay me) (you can pay me if you want to)
Steps One and Two previously covered in Part One for “How To Stage A House And Also Lose Your Mind” were:
Step One: Bring in a professional stager who will make you re-think everything you’ve ever done in your house. (AKA she wants you to light all of your decorating choices on fire, and to be quite honest, you’ll light the match because you are so over looking at that bedspread with those curtains the past nine years. It needs-ta-go.)
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. (The decluttering process to get your house stage-ready may require you to rent a storage unit. Storage unit buildings tend to give me active-meth-lab-vibes so I made it a habit to swing my flatbed of boxes through the hallways as quickly as possible. I also gave the security cameras some deliberate sustained eye contact so the Crime Scene Investigators could see straight into my soul if they ever had to investigate my disappearance near the “alleged” meth lab unit.)
3. Step Three: Tackle the to-do list from the stager and realize Joanna Gaines is a DIY Goddess and we are not worthy.
Our stager gave us a list of almost 80 things to address in the house but somehow the jobs I deemed most urgent were nowhere on her list:
MUST STAIN COFFEE TABLE.
PAINT BASEBOARDS IMMEDIATELY.
LANDSCAPE ENTIRE FRONT YARD OR POTENTIAL BUYERS WILL WALK.
Staining a coffee table is one of those things where they show .5 seconds of the project on HGTV but then suddenly, after cutting over to sponsors, you come back to this beautiful, finished mahogany piece that was magically stained, dried, and sealed all during a Tempur-Pedic commercial. And from the couch, you sip your La Croix and think, “That looks quick and simple. I could totally do that.” No, sweetie. Nope. It’s not like that.
Coffee Table Staining: Illusion vs. Reality
When Joanna Gaines stains a coffee table, I can only imagine it’s as easy as breathing her warm, honeyed breath onto the table and watching the old stain gently blow off past the Magnolia Silos. Meanwhile, I’ve hauled our table into the front yard and sat on top of it for ten minutes to Google which sandpaper grit I’m supposed to use… decide to use all the grits because who really knows… stop sanding to dream about shrimp and grits… start sanding the table with the bottoms of my feet when my husband walks by to make a Marriage Point that a pedicure would benefit all the humans in our household, cause I’m petty like that.
Over in Texas, Joanna prepares to stain her coffee table by putting on her “painting clothes”- white skinny jeans and a blue linen top. I can just see her brushing that rich mahogany blend into the wood grain, pausing every now and then to sip some coffee and kiss a bluebird. That almost describes me staining our table, except substitute everything she was doing with the exact opposite. I would’ve worn my chambray tunic, JoJo, but instead, I threw on soccer shorts and a tournament t-shirt from 2000 to really get after it.
In the course of my staining project- this thing that should’ve never been allowed to happen- I used a paintbrush from the dollar store… I stained the table in the living room, which concentrated all the fumes and temporarily sent me to an alternate reality… I built an unnecessarily elaborate furniture barricade around the table as it dried so my toddler couldn’t get to it. To top it all off, after staining, the palms of my hands looked like I’d gotten bootleg henna from the State Fair.
Imagine a henna artist who is visually impaired, a little tipsy, and doesn’t have any opposable thumbs, and whatever you’re imagining they would’ve drawn is pretty much how my hands looked by the end of the staining project.
There are some other steps, you know, that are required in the process of staining a coffee table. I won’t bore you with all the other details, but I’ll at least give a nod to Joanna’s final step, which is typically much like mine- sealing the stain using a pinch of morning dew, a generous helping of positive thoughts, and soft, reassuring whispers to the wood grains. However, this time, I had to seal the coffee table with my polyurethane tears after our cat jumped onto its wet stain, then raced away, leaving little brown paw prints on our hardwood floors. True story:
Step Four: Once you’ve successfully decluttered your home, go shopping.
It only takes a few storage unit trips before it becomes apparent you need to shop for more stuff to fill your house. This seems like a good time to point out, that if you’re in a “joint-bank-account” scenario, be prepared to come home with seven HomeGoods bags and defend every single item as “essential to the sale of your home”. Like this:
Him: “Why did you shop for more stuff when we just dropped off a ton of things at the storage unit yesterday?”
Me: “We can’t just move all of our old stuff out and then have nothing. We have to make our house look pretty now. Trust me, buyers will love walking through our house with these pieces.”
Him: “Ok but that mirror with the spikes you bought is weird.”
Me: “Then don’t look at it.”
Me: *runs away*
For some reason, buyers need you to have a trendy porcelain bowl with fruit on your staged kitchen table, so if you don’t have one, add it to the shopping list. May I also suggest a fake orchid in the bathroom because zen. And not to be forgotten for all the staged houses everywhere, new throw pillows. So many throw pillows for all the rooms, that hypothetically, a person going to Target for pasta salad ingredients would see and need new throw pillows for the master bedroom… which also requires new master bedding, as well.
But it’s okay, because it’s essential to the sale of our home.
The final edition, Part Three, coming soon… Stay tuned.