In a crisis of I don’t know what, we decided to sell our house this spring after nearly 23 years of putting away clothes that might come in handy if I ever reincarnated as the person I was two decades ago, and to collect gardening tools, sprinkler pieces and old holiday cards that looked too cute to throw in the trash.

The concept was brilliant: downsizing to a condo where someone else shovels the snow, weeds the flower beds, and fixes the leaky roof. Live a simpler life, unhindered by home maintenance and the inevitable trash that accumulates over time and too many square feet.

Diane Carman

The reality is by turns hilarious and disgusting, while being deeply exhausting.

First, to sell a house in 2022, you need to eliminate all evidence that living, breathing, eating, pooping people lived in it – ever.

It’s called staging, which is brilliantly cunning language because staging is shamelessly manipulative real estate theater.

It works like this: you take everything – your furniture, pictures, towels, shoes, tissue boxes, even the salt and pepper shakers next to the stove – and throw it away or hide it. You clean the place until the windows sparkle, the floors gleam, and the toilets smell of spring rain.

Then a professional with a warehouse full of off-white furniture, mountains of decorative pillows, and all manner of black-and-white abstract art arrives to make the place perfect.

All available research shows that deeply flawed everyday people who regularly leave their dirty socks on the closet floor insist on this kind of gimmick or they won’t buy your home.

So you, the ever-hopeful seller, try to live there without touching anything. You should also be prepared to grab the dog and run away whenever potential buyers, preferably highly motivated buyers with excellent credit, come to inspect the place.

In addition to these elaborate rituals, some real estate agents recommend that you purchase a statue of St. Joseph ($6.65 on Amazon) to bury upside down in your yard to rally spirits in the estate sales department and deliver a solid offer quickly, preferably above the asking price and without contingencies.

I’m not sure of the research to back this up, but after a few days of feeling like you have to make coffee in the garage and have breakfast in the car, it’s starting to sound like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. . And atheist, Jew or Buddhist, you might find yourself reciting the estate prayers that are conveniently packaged with the statue.

Life in Neverland between stable homes can drive even the most rational of us insane and utterly gullible.

When you’re not in the car with the dog parked a block away waiting for strangers to get themselves and their sticky-fingered kids out of your sterile home, you’re packing stuff, selling stuff, giving stuff away and you argue with your spouse about who’s worth keeping the boxes of really important stuff that haven’t been opened since 1975.

The answer is obvious: mine.

Every day you scour the toilet, the stove, the refrigerator, and all those dusty places behind the furniture like crazy, and you swear that in your next life you’ll be a better, tidier, and holier person.

Click here for a reality check.

Your main source of entertainment during this difficult time comes from what is cleverly called “feedback,” which produces the same reaction from the salesperson as when a microphone in a meeting goes haywire and nearly ruptures your eardrums.

The dining room is too small, people say. The room is on the wrong floor. The park is too far. The school is too close. The bathroom decor is soooo 1999.

Stop, everyone says. It’s not personal.

Except that the criticism spins you like a mackerel every time.

And just when you think you’re going to have to give up hope of having a retirement nest egg and give away the damn house, it sells. Alleluia.

Then it gets worse.

There are contracts, inspections, title searches, transfers, changes of address and all those infernal boxes, half of which contain stuff that you will surely have to throw away when you arrive in your cozy condo and realize that there is no There’s no place to put them and not a single sentimental bone is left in your body to care about those pictures your kids drew in third grade.

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We will be fine. Really, we will.

It’s my mantra.

And one day maybe we’ll even recover from chronic insomnia and wake up after a good night’s sleep in our condo with the red fridge and the Murphy bed in the guest room.

In the meantime, we’ll remember how lucky we are to have a house to pity, obsessively clean, and ultimately sell to someone who will love the birds singing in the trees outside the house windows as much as we do. room. .

It is a privilege. I sincerely know that.

After all, we could shiver in a crowded subway station in Mariupol with explosions shaking the ground, and death and destruction all around us.

So, St. Joseph, if you’re really out there, forget the overprivileged people and their corny real estate dramas and look after the people who desperately need your help.


Diane Carman is a communications consultant in Denver.

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