Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Foot off the Wagon

Our house failed to sell. I had very high expectations. Inventory in our area was moving very fast. Many houses were on the market for less than a month and getting very close to their asking price. Why not ours?

The biggest reason is the bedroom layout. Overall, our house has four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. However, the second story has two bedrooms - the master and the kids'. There is one full bathroom and it is not particularly big. The third and fourth bedrooms are very small and in the basement. At the price-point of our house, people were looking for three bedrooms and two bathrooms up.

In the meantime, the house has been on the market for around eight weeks and we have had around fifty showings. Yes, 50.

The bulk of those came in the first two weeks; I think we had fifteen or twenty in the first week alone. Someone asked for a showing the first day it was on the market.

Having our house on the market means that it has to be in show condition almost all the time. There were one or two times that I let it go - didn't pick up after the kids, didn't have the laundry in check, didn't have last night's dishes done before going to bed. Then there would be a showing the next day.

When we have a showing and the house is in good order it still can take an hour to ninety minutes to completely clean. Make the beds, dust, clean the mirrors and windows, take out the trash, wipe down the bathrooms, put all of the toiletries away, wipe down the counters, sweep and mop the floors, organize the counter tops, put bills and art projects away, and vacuum. Vacuuming takes a while, too, as we have wall-to-wall carpet everywhere except the kitchen, which means that there is around 2400 sq ft of carpet.

So, if I add in laundry, putting toys away, organizing closets, washing dishes, and other disorganization, that can easily add an hour, making the task over two hours long.

In the last four weeks, I've gotten really good about keeping the house clean and organized. Vacuuming is done almost every day, regardless of a showing. Clothes are always put away. The bed is made. The dishes, pots, pans, cutting boards, and utensils are put away. The toys are stored. Mail is either recycled, paid or filed.

Now that we are in the last week of our house being on the market, (which basically means that it is off the market,) I haven't been quite as diligent. It's the first week of summer vacation for the kids, which sort of means it's the first week of summer for me. Not that I'm getting reckless, by any means, but the kitchen hasn't been cleaned all the way every night; the toys haven't been put away every night; some dirty clothes have been left on the floor in the bedrooms. Odds and ends, but they add up. And, I'm noticing.

Then, this morning, I wondered if my friends are taking bets on how long it will take before our house becomes a train wreck once again. It was never filthy but always disorganized. How long will it take before there are piles of "get to it later" here and there. Coupons, mail, excess scrap paper, magazines, empty boxes, and other good intentions. If I were my friends, I think the over/under would be around two weeks.

That's what I'm giving myself - two weeks to ensure that the cleaning thing - this homemaking thing - stays permanent. That means putting systems and schedules into place. That means continuing to wake up at 6:30am even though the kids don't have camp until 9am. (Camp? They have camp? I'll get to that next time.) A continuous regiment that is less a short-term diet and more of a lifestyle change. I've been doing it this long, why not keep it going?

And, in my soul, I know that screwing around is less fulfilling than doing my job to the best of my ability. Time management, a common theme in my entries, is the key to my success.What do I do when I wake up? Have to make the bed, right away. Immediately. Have to get dressed right away. Have to get the clothes together and to the washer right away. Lunches made. Dishwasher unloaded. Kids up and dressed. Make their breakfast. To camp. Vacuum. Windows. Dinner. Shopping. Right away.

Then I can blog. Then I can read. Then I can hit some golf balls. Then I can meet with a friend for lunch. Then I can landscape. Work out. Whatever.

No matter what, must do work first. Stay on that wagon.

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