Lessons on selling a house: why I’m not writing

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”~Matsuo Basho, Japanese poet

Once we listed our house, I thought I’d get my life back; I did, but I lost my mind in the process.

Some people would argue that that happened long before any house listing. Be that as it is, I thought I’d relax once all the packing was done. I’m not relaxing.

Have you ever sold a house? I really haven’t. Our townhouse in Delaware sold instantly at our asking price, stained carpet and all. Not to be stereotypical, but my husband took care of most of that sale, as did his new company in Michigan. This is the first time I’ve had a personal investment and active involvement in something like this.


The house needs to be pristine at all times so that potential buyers get a positive vibe. I doubt anyone would not buy a house if the toilet wasn’t flushed, but first impressions and all.

I don’t have the luxury of being tired. I can’t say, “I’m exhausted today, so I’ll take care of the dirty dishes in the morning.” I can’t leave dirty laundry out anywhere and have to be mindful of air-drying my bras. The dining room table-turned-office has to be tidy every night before bed. Put all the toys away when you’re done playing with them. We could get a call the next morning for a quick showing.

When we leave the house, we have to run through our mental checklist: Are all lights turned on? Is the driveway and sidewalk shoveled and salted? It is winter in Michigan, after all. Is the computer turned off? Is the mail on the counter or in the armoire? Have the countertops been wiped off? Is trash and recycling in the garage, not the kitchen? What about dirty dishes in the sink? And yes…have all toilets been flushed?

Oh. I just thought of something. There was a last-minute showing today. Did I put my toothbrush in the cabinet? Did my husband tuck it away before he left, or is my teeth hygiene out there for everyone to see?

Yes, we can say NO to any requested showing. We are doing that during the holidays when we’re away, unless the showing agent is our realtor herself. So far, we have accommodated all showings as proposed or with a rescheduled time frame. Let’s face it: we do want to sell the house. We’re not desperately time-constrained to do so. However, the sooner it’s sold, the sooner we can focus on housing on the other side.

To that end, I am developing a routine of sorts. There are rooms I don’t go into anymore because they are clean and clutter-free. I wear the same clothes, which is not to say that I’m all stinky, but wearing the same shirt twice means one less article of clothing that is strewn about. Putting one pair of pants in the same location means I can find it and have easy access to it. I have one set of jewelry that I wear these days: my wedding rings, of course; the gold necklace I have with Dad’s wedding band on it; my watch; my Fitbit; and my grandmother’s diamond engagement ring. I’ve narrowed my footwear down to a few pairs of comfortable shoes that are acceptable enough for work. When I leave for the day, I’m set as much as I can be.

Obsessive? Maybe. Think about it: do you want to traipsing into someone else’s house and trip over dirty underwear?

Thank goodness our realtor said we can leave the coffeemaker on the counter. Priorities.

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