Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Clutter, Carpet Stains, and Baseboards

So, we're getting the house ready for showing -- a couple of realtors are stopping by today and tomorrow.  This process mainly consists of three things: 1) packing up stuff to put temporarily in storage so the house looks less cluttered, 2) covering up the nicks and scratches and other little evidences that human life occurred here, and 3) deep cleaning.  And when I come up for air enough to think about what I'm doing, I have these thoughts:

- This stuff that we're putting away in storage . . . why do we have it?  We have a big house; how is it possible that we could have so much stuff that this big of a house could ever look "cluttered"?  Well, one primary reason is because we have stuff that we attach a sentimental value to and can't get rid of.  Why do we put emotional value on things?  I remember talking about this in scrapbooking classes I taught.  Moms asked me, what do I do about all the pictures my little girl drew, all the papers my little boy brought home from school . . . ?  I said, spread them out on the dining room table, take a picture of them, and toss them.  Put the picture in the scrapbook so you remember what they did.  You simply can't keep everything.  Keep the memory, not the thing.

- Even weirder, we have stuff that doesn't mean much of anything to us, but it was given to us by somebody and it apparently meant a lot to them.  So, we keep it for their sake.  Those people may not ever even come to our house -- or if they do, they may never notice that that particular item is nowhere to be seen.  But we keep it, just in case.  Weird.

- We're touching up paint, polishing wood, attacking old carpet stains.  I have to admit, the house looks nice.  Why don't we care this much about how the house looks when we're just living in it every day?  Why are we satisfied to live in drabness when a couple days of work a year makes it looks so much nicer -- and saves us days of hard labor like this when it's time to sell the house?  We're too lazy to do nice things for ourselves.

- When I'm looking at houses to buy, do I notice if the baseboards are dirty?  Do I see small cobwebs in the high corners of the ceiling?  If I do, do they make me not want to buy the house?  Am I really only interested in buying and living in a house that looks perfect and unlived in?

Okay, that's all the time I have for reflection.  Back to the baseboards.

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