By WMM Blog Contributor: Elizabeth Braatz
While this list is fluid, there’s a short list of things that two people go through in a marriage that can cause major stress:
- Death of a loved one
- Major illness or injury
- Job loss
That’s right, moving! This means that moving can cause similar stress as compared to losing your mother, cutting off your right arm or losing your job. Maybe the outcome is not as severe, but the process may be comparably painful (within reason).
My husband and I recently put our house on the market after purchasing it in 2007, just two months before we got married. We welcomed a black lab puppy a year later, twins in 2009, and then two other kids since 2016. This home has been good to us and we’ve been good to it, but it’s time to move on. We now have six people in 2,000 square feet and want more room for our growing hockey equipment collection and everything else we’ve accumulated in the 12 years since we said ‘I Do’. We found a great house on three acres, with a pond (pond hockey!) and much more square footage. Now that we’ve found a great new home, we need to sell ours and this is when my heart started to race. Here’s some tips and tricks that I’ve used to stay mildly sane. (Please keep in mind that we haven’t even started the moving process so that’s part two of this article.)
De-clutter, Throw Away and Hide the Junk
My daughters share a room and have five, yes five, piggy banks amongst the two of them. They had them all displayed on their armoire along with their school photos. Even though there’s maybe $12 total in all five of them, they were all proudly displayed. The first thing that I did before listing was move all the clutter. I put as much of the decoratives away in boxes, bins and drawers. I also just threw away stuff that they wouldn’t notice was gone – goodbye 37 bouncy balls!
Calm the Nerves
My kids are very apprehensive about moving. Our first offer on the new house was countered and it was over what we were comfortable paying. So, I had my children write letters and pictures about what they loved about the house and I did the same. After receiving our letters, the sellers came back to us and we ended up meeting in a comfortable position. My 7-year-olds first picture had this sentence on it: “Please don’t let us move in your house. I will be sad.” She also drew herself crying in front of the house.
This was a wakeup call for me that I needed to reassure her that all of her belongings will be coming with us when we move and that she will be safe and sound in the new house. She ended up drawing a new picture of the house, no self-portrait included.
Make Your House Family-Friendly
Emphasize the great things in your home that another family may want in their next house – the conveniences that you truly love. My house is very close to two different parks, the library, the interurban trail and the community pool. I made sure to include that info in the listing because I wanted people to feel like they’re living in a place where they can be comfortable and raise a family with joy…like we have. I have also set out cookies with fun napkins for all of the showings. I hoped that a little treat would distract kids while parents could chat and walk around.
We keep our home really tidy but showing your house requires a new level of clean. With that said, every time we left the house, we completely straightened up. I made sure that that the dog bowl was put away and that the counter was wiped down. If the realtor calls for a showing, I want my main concern to be getting the dog out of the house, not cleaning for an hour.
Plan Your Showings
We had three showings and an open house in the last three days so we and the dog needed to be out of the house for several hours. I planned activities in advance so that we didn’t just drive around in circles trying to figure out what to do. We hit the fair, the park, went out for ice cream and hung out at grandma’s house. It’s always best to have a plan, as being an accommodating seller seems like the best way to move your house faster.
Ease Stress at Work and at Home
As outlined, home selling is super stressful so we put a lot of thought and effort into minimizing stress at home and at work. Per usual, we wrote out the schedule for the week on a white board with practices, doctor visits, etc. I also tried to stay ahead of deadlines at work and do things in the evenings after kids are tucked into bed so that there’s nothing lingering. If life is stress-free in our “normal” lives, then the stress of showings seemed a bit more manageable.
I’m already dreading the actual moving process, as cleaning up after six people and a shedding black lab has been almost too much to bear. Yet, trying to stay on top of the things in this list has made life a tad easier.