Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Learning Through Staging

I apologize in advance. This is long, verbose, overly dramatic, boring, windy, insert adjective here. I just got carried away.

But we are friends right? Right? And friends vent to each other. Next time it’s your turn. I’m here for you!

We are selling our house. It isn’t on the market just yet, we had hoped that it would be but there are some things that we need to do. We have a big house, much bigger than two people could possibly need. We have loved it for the 10 years that we have lived here but now it is time to say good bye and “right size”. Don’t you love that phrase, “right-sizing”. It just sounds like you are working towards a goal that is good for you. And in a way that is true.

Because we have a larger home, and because the housing market is what it is, we have taken the recommendation of our real estate agents and are using “stagers” to help with the look of our house.

What are stagers you are asking yourself? Well, in essence they are people who come into your home and tell you all the things that are wrong with it, in a decorating sense, and then tell you what you need to do to correct it. It is a difficult thing to have someone come into your home and tell you that many of the things in your home that make it “your home”, that give you comfort and joy and happiness, the things that mark your house as belonging to you. Those things are just all wrong. It is a jolt, and not always a pleasant one. 

The physical labor of moving furniture out and into the basement, of packing things in boxes in anticipation of moving. The de-cluttering. That is all something that we knew would happen. We expected and welcome the cleaning out process. But when you are told that the wall color that I like so much (Dover White) and the counters in the kitchen (utilitarian but nice laminate) aren’t “what people are looking for now, especially in a house this size”, well it just makes you feel sort of bad.

Well thank you very much! And darn you HGTV because that is who is really at fault here. We all watch HGTV don’t we. Come on and fess up cuz you know that you do. And what do you see when you watch those home makeover shows, even the ones that deal with smaller homes? They all have granite countertops (very impractical if you ask me) and slightly darker color walls. Grrrrrrrrr.

And the other factor is that many people don’t have the ability to walk into a house and see the possibilities. They need to be able to walk in and see what is right in front of them and not what they would do to make the space their own. It is what it is.

But I have to be honest here with all of this. Yes, having the counters redone (you know there is going to be a big post on that) and the walls painted will cover up all the little (and big) dings and nicks that have happened over the last 10 years. But some of those dings and nicks are memories for us. 
-The gouge that I made in the hardwood floor when I threw a fork. Well, enough said about that.
-the black mark on the wall (several of those) from the time that Cartoon Girl winged a shoe at Shoe Queen.
-The slight remnant of red nail polish that The Shoe Queen anointed the carpeting with the first week we lived here. Dropped the bottle, splatter EVERYWHERE. Mom VERY angry. 
-The holes in the walls from posters of long ago.

Memories… the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories…..of the dings in my house.

And as the years have gone by and we have accumulated more stuff, that stuff has become a burden. How many sets of dishes does any one person or family need (I currently own 7). And how about all the kitchen gadgets. Do I really think that if I haven’t managed to use a particular dish or gadget in the past year that I am going to miraculously start using it soon. I supremely doubt it. And if I am not going to use it and it doesn’t just make my heart sing when I take it out of the cupboard then why should I keep it and DEFINITELY why should I move it. Through this house decluttering process I am learning to let go of many things that I thought I absolutely needed to make me happy.

And I don’t. I don’t need them at all to be happy. And that is such a freeing thing. I can’t tell you how freeing. As I clean out, donate, sell I am feeling lighter and lighter, like I am just going to fly away with happiness and less stuff. It is great.

And when this is all said and done. When furniture is moved to other parts of the house or stored in the garage or basement. When the boxes are packed and stacked. When the walls are painted, the countertops are redone and the house is cleaned and “staged”. It will cease to be my home. It will be the house that I live in while it is on the market, a blank canvas for the next person.

And I am OK with that.


  1. I'm so glad you added "I am okay with that" at the end, because I was sad for you. Now I'm not. :-)

    We live in the house that used to be my grandmother's, and as we slowly remodel and redecorate, we erase those souvenirs of memories...but that's all that gets erased, not the actual memory. I still get sad though...and have to hold on to some of those scars (much like I had to hold on to the house itself).

    I would love a stager to come in, though...just for us. :-)

  2. So glad I stumbled upon your blog and esp. to be able to see this post. It touched my heart more than you could know!! Thank you, I needed to 'read' this today esp. I am your newest follower and will be back very soon to read more! :-)
    Thanks for the great post! ~ Coreen

  3. I think staging is dumb. People need to have open minds. Our house was filthy when we went to look at it. It had been vacant for months. There was (is) nasty wallpaper, dated paneling, disgusting countertops, AWFUL WHITE CARPET, etc. But we saw potential. And we're slowing making this random house into our a home.

  4. I've heard about "staging" and for some it might be a good idea but I agree with Chelsea...I think most people are able to look past what they may not like and see the potential.

    I like the term "right-sizing". We'll be doing that at some point ourselves.

  5. I am in agreement about granite countertops... overdone by HGTV. lol. Mine are laminate and I'm just fine with that.

    As for "freeing"? I once moved out of my "home" and into a small apartment, leaving most everything behind except for a chair, my sewing machine, and a bedroom set. I can't tell you how free it felt... that at a moment's notice I could move across the state and not have a lot of baggage. I never moved. But I was amazed that I could do with so little and be happy.

  6. To be fair, I didn't throw the shoe at BETHANY, I threw it at her friend.

  7. Oh and we would ALWAYS want to be fair. And as I recall it was that big clod hopper shoe with the black sole that came hurtling at my lovely, NEW, white wall.

  8. I had to scroll down to find out about this! I think it's been a while since I've visited your blog. It must be exciting to know you're going to find a cozier place for the two of you--I always love moving in (moving out, not so much, but moving IN has so much hope, potential, and fun decorating/organizational stuff!) I hope your house sells easily. :o)


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