I've heard it said that the top stressors in life are death, dismemberment, divorce and moving. I think, in actuality, that moving should be placed at the top of the list, as anyone who has recently relocated would know; moving can lead to death, dismemberment and divorce.
Moving is hard. Add two kids to the mix and it becomes even harder. Luckily, our recent move from Indiana to Florida did not include any felony charges of murder, or the loss of any body parts, but that is not to say it was easy. The recent housing crisis made an already stressful situation even more unbearable. Our modest, suburban neighborhood was not immune to the recent string of foreclosures rocking the housing market. Competition was fierce and housing prices were low. In order for us to buy a house in Florida, we were going to have to get top dollar for our sale. That meant some big changes.
Our first step in getting the house ready for market was to de-clutter, de-clutter and de-clutter some more. We sorted through every closet, nook and cranny to remove every ounce of unnecessary clutter from the house. Did my daughter really need twenty-seven My Little Pony dolls she hadn't played with in years? Did my son really need twelve broken light sabers? Did my husband really need the three man sling-shot from his college days? I'm happy to say, I won two out three of those battles. Seventeen trips to Goodwill later, our house was successfully clutter-free, and the best news of all was that it didn't cost a thing. In fact, the receipts we collected, as we donated our goods, will help our bottom line when it comes to filing taxes this year.
Our next step, in the process of selling, was to neutralize the décor. We were quick to realize that not every buyer would appreciate the Sponge Bob wallpaper border that hung in the kids' playroom. Four hours of scraping and peeling led to ten broken finger nails, and a room completely devoid of cartoon characters. In addition to eliminating the offensive border, we added vinyl tiles to the downstairs bathroom floor and painted the kitchen a warm shade of beige. We did the work ourselves, therefore we were able to keep the costs to a minimum. We spent about $75.00 on materials to refinish the bathroom floor and about $100.00 on paint and supplies to neutralize the playroom and kitchen. The results were well worth the minimal cost.
Next, we hired professional cleaners to give the house a deep cleaning. They made the bathrooms and kitchen sparkle, so the splurge was well worth the added expense (around $120.00). Finally, when we had advanced notice of showings, I had the house smelling like a home with fresh baked brownies, cookies or bread to help entice the buyers. Our costs were limited to the price of groceries, and a monthly gym membership to sweat off the bounties of my labor. Our hard work paid off as we sold our house in four months time and I'm happy to say our family is enjoying the sunshine in Florida (and yes, the three-man sling shot survived the move).
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