Part of getting ready to put our house on the market is staging it for buyers. We were told to remove anything personal, make rooms and closets look spacious and take away any reminder of work.
In other words – hide the trash cans, remove the paper towels from the countertop, move the laundry detergent out of sight and on and on.
This is what they do in model homes. They want people to feel like the house is a place where you kick off your shoes and put your feet up. A place where work is minimal, at best.
Our closets are very small, so we were told to remove about half of the stuff. This would give the illusion that they are bigger.
It feels a little like I’m selling a lie. We do have small closets! Of course we work here! There are dishes to do, clothes to wash and carpets to vacuum. We are a family of six and we live here – and living gets messy and those messes need picked up. Just because I hide stuff doesn’t make that go away.
But it works. They do this in model homes because, on some subconscious level, it works.
But here is reality – you can remove the items and make people feel like the house comes with less work and less stress, but that doesn’t make it true.
You will still bring your stuff and your work and your life and your stress with you from your old space into your new space – even if you don’t see a single trash can in the house when you walk through. It still exists.
I am learning some valuable lessons from the house staging process.
Lesson #1 – Like I said before…..Just because I hide stuff doesn’t make that go away.
Like with the move.
Maybe if I don’t talk about the move…..maybe if I don’t think about the move…..maybe if I avoid it all together……maybe if I do everything physically necessary for the move without really dealing with the emotion of it……maybe if I just have a glass of wine tonight to turn off my mind…..
I have been trying really hard to focus on the positives of the move and not be sad about leaving yet. I will have time to be sad about being gone once I am actually there. Why be sad now? I’m still here after all.
But sometimes, I wonder if I am just stuffing it down somewhere deep?
Yesterday, I looked at my calendar and realized how little time I really have left in our home, in our community, with our friends who have become like family. I thought of all of the people I want to hang out with and all the things I still want to do here in Indy and realized I have run out of time to do all of those things.
In an attempt to be positive, I reminded myself I can always come back and visit. Which is true, but it isn’t the same.
I really can’t imagine being gone. It all feels so surreal. I try not to think about it. I’m getting my house ready to put on the market, but it still doesn’t feel real.
But it is real. Even if I don’t talk about it. Even if I don’t think about it. Even if I avoid it.
Just because I hide stuff doesn’t make that go away.
But, I need to continue to think of the positives. For my children, for my husband and for myself. I know God has a plan in this and I trust in that plan. I may not be able to imagine my future there, but just 8 years ago before I moved from our home that I loved in Irvington into my home I love so much now – I couldn’t imagine my future here either.
I’m not sure if it’s healthy to try not to be sad right now? I’m not sure if that’s just avoidance?Maybe it’s just like me putting the paper towels under the counter so that it all seems less complicated than it is. Maybe it’s less work to focus on the physical aspect of moving and not the emotional.
I really don’t know how to deal with all of this. I don’t know how to say goodbye. Is there some type of protocol?
I need a manual on how to do this.
What I do know is this – I don’t want to spend my last weeks here sad, so I think I will just enjoy each day as it comes. I will take each good bye as it comes. I will try not to dwell on what’s on the horizon and not get lost in the thought of moving, but at the same time not pretend like it isn’t happening – because that’s not healthy either.
But how do I do that? Will someone please write a manual.
Some moments will be sad. Some moments will be happy. Some days will feel like a regular day in our home and others will feel like a sad reminder of our departure.
I think I just need to take each day, each moment as it arrives. That has been the nudge I have been getting from God time and time again for the past few years. Be in the moment. Take each moment as it arrives. Tomorrow is not promised. What you have is today.
I need to keep breathing that thought in and breathing it out. Daily.
Lesson #2 – Less stuff really does bring more peace
Hiding trash cans and removing all signs of work isn’t realistic in a house that is actually being lived in, but I have come to appreciate the peace that comes with simplifying.
A year and a half ago I embarked on a 52 Donations project where I donated something (time, money or material objects) every week for a year. It was a wonderful, life-changing project.
During that time, I simplified our home and got rid of a lot of clutter (or so I thought.) Getting the house ready to move has taken that to a whole new level. I have had to get rid of so much more and it feels good. Really. Really. Good.
I don’t think we were meant to live with so much.
When I walk into a room and there is more open space, I seem to breathe a little better. When drawers and closets and cupboards aren’t overflowing – it just feels good. It feels right.
Honestly, why in the world do I need multiple can openers? Or 20 coffee mugs?
I don’t. I don’t need that much.
Somebody else could probably really use some of my excess and getting rid of the clutter has felt wonderful and necessary and freeing.
I do hope when we move we can continue to keep things decluttered and organized, but…..
Lesson #3 – As it has been said before, “No matter where you go, there you are.”
When I think of moving, I do get excited about the idea of simplifying our lives. Not just the clutter, but also our schedules. I do look forward to the idea of more time together as a family. I know there are things to look forward intertwined with the sadness of leaving.
But to keep our home and our schedules decluttered will take intentionality. If we aren’t intentional about making changes, we will slowly end up exactly where we are now.
We will still take our habits with us. A new house in a new place doesn’t make us new people. We are still us, in a new location.
If we want to make life changes, we will need to work to make those changes – just like we would have to work to make those changes here and now.
Lesson #4 – Take nothing for granted.
We have limited time left in the home we love, with our friends and neighbors we love and I don’t want to take a second of the time we have left here for granted.
We have been blessed beyond measure to live in such a wonderful, loving community. I am grateful for every second we have had here. For every memory we have made. For every friendship formed.
I may not know how to deal with the move, but I do know that I am blessed. Very blessed to have experienced all of the kindness, love and depth of relationships my family and I have experienced during our time here in Indianapolis.
I do not take that for granted.
Thank you, God. Thank you.