Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting Ready to Sell

We are about to sell our house (it will be listed tomorrow!). That is easier said than done. Unless you keep your house looking like an excerpt from "House Beautiful", it is a massive undertaking. We have kept our house fairly well tended to and clean, but the idea of someone looking in all your cabinets and closets and scrutinizing your baseboards and corners really kicks things up a notch. You can certainly sell "as is", but you take a huge price hit (based on what I've heard). So we have been cleaning, and painting, and packing for some time now. Here is what I've learned:
  • In all the years prior to selling, don't buy anything you don't really need. The less you have, the better your life will be. No, really. Trust me. I have gotten rid of so many things I now wish we'd never bought.
  • Use Home Depot boxes and U-Haul tape. I've tried lots of brands of both and those are the best.
  • Going to the dump is fun! If you have anything broken or defunct, load it all up and take it out there at once. It is only $35 for a full pickup truck load and it is lots of fun tipping stuff into a pit. Just make sure you cover your load to save an extra $20 charge.
  • Give things away. I was too lazy to try to sell our stuff so we have been giving it away for free. It has been immensely satisfying. I don't think the amount of money I could have made would have equaled the happiness we have brought to others or the needs we have met.
  • Start decluterring 2 and a half months in advance and cleaning/repairing a month and a half in advance. Leave the last few weeks for prepping/staging.
  • Be ruthless. If you don't love it, get rid of it.
  • Don't paint cabinets. It is not worth it. Even if they clash with the other decor, just deal with it.
  • You will get an amazing workout. Expect to lose weight and experience lots of muscle soreness. Also, expect to get very little sleep the last few weeks before you list the house. Set a date to take pictures with your Realtor and then just pretend you are getting ready for finals in college and tell yourself it will all be over soon.
  • Put your environmentalist tendencies aside. You will be dumping water on the lawn to keep the grass green. You will eventually break down and eat sandwiches every day off of paper plates because the thought of doing dishes while keeping the house constantly looking like no one actually lives there is overwhelming.
  • Go ahead and pack all hobby related items. You will have no free time.
And for some comic relief now that we are done: Be sure and check out "The House That Loves Paint" (among many other funny ones).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Minimalist Packing

I really enjoy the concept of minimalist packing. It keeps you from feeling weighed down when you travel. It frees up time and mental energy. When you return home, there is not a mountain a laundry to do.

There are lots of resources on the web, but here is my take on traveling light from my last week long trip:

From upper left, clockwise: shorts and shirt, shorts and shirt for pajamas (but could be worn to go for a walk/exercise), flip flops, grey leggings, snack bars, a magazine and notebook and my Kindle, chargers (phone, Kindle, camera battery, and headphones), shoes, comb, Tide to-go, 3 pairs socks, 4 pair underwear, swimsuit, jacket. Not pictured are deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face cream, sunscreen, and camera. All of this fit neatly in my small backpack with room to spare. I wore a lightweight dress which was my primary clothing except when hiking or sleeping (or swimming, obviously!). You can buy "travel dresses" from REI or various websites, but you can save a ton of money by locating one with similar properties at the thrift store or Ross. A good dress for travel should be lightweight, a dark color, a conservative cut (so it works at a variety of places), and a high percentage of synthetic fibers (except nothing strecthy). Most synthetic fibers will dry much quicker than natural fibers. Just think of the shorts and skirts that dry the fastest when doing laundry at home and try to find a dress (or pants/shirt if you are a guy) in a similar material. Quick dry is important because then you can wash them in the sink, hang them up, and have them be dry within in a day.

My husband and I did a similar minimalist packing experiment when we went to Ecuador. That time we did invest in REI pants. That was the best clothing investment ever. After the trip, I wore those pants to do hundreds of hours of field work in rough conditions. They held up beautifully and are only just now getting too worn out to travel with (unfortunately, I snagged myself climbing over a wire fence and got concrete adhesive on them).