It’s been 43 years in the making, but my childhood home, 1108 Inner Circle Drive, is finally up for sale. This means I have truly hit the home stretch at my Henshaw house. I said home, but the sad reality is this house stopped feeling like a home for me on September 20, 2000 when my beloved mother took her last breath after a 7 month battle with colon cancer. In the 18 years since her passing I’ve tried my best to put my own mark on this house: remodeled the bathrooms, expanded the deck, added a hot tub, but nothing I’ve done has filled the void that her presence left. It has served me well. It allowed myself and my cousin Alex a place to grow up, but now it is time for another family to make it a home again.
I really thought I would have been further along at Henshaw, so that I could have listed the house early in the summer to take advantage of the prime selling season. Fortunately my agent, Steve Petersen, shared that there is another window in September and October. Armed with that information I was determined to hit that date. Steve came out to the house last week of August and stressed the need to de-clutter and de-personalize the house. The key is to allow perspective buyers the ability to imagine themselves living in the space. We set September 10 as the day for him to take pictures, September 12 as listing day, and September 16th as the first open house. A firm deadline was key for me to work towards, but getting this house ready for market has led to many sleepless nights, especially in the last 4 days leading up to picture day that got pushed back a day.
Key to decluttering………LET IT GO! This was easier for me than I thought. What I realized quickly is that I have been existing around objects that I never placed in this house and didn’t even know were here. For instance, the laundry room closet was jammed with stuff. Steve said he wanted to be able to see the floor. Once I went through it I realized there were things in that closet I had not touched before my mother died. The vacuum, iron board, and laundry supplies were never kept inside the closet until now.
The entry foyer closet was similar, but it was full of boxes and boxes of pictures, her year books, etc. I was able to condense 4 boxes of pictures down to two. As a child of the pre-digital age where you can’t delete bad shots, it amazed me how many bad photos I had. Images so dark you couldn’t tell who was in them or pictures of skylines taken from moving cars. Oh, my favorite, an over abundance of zoo animal pics. I have taken a lot of relative’s kids to the Cincinnati Zoo over the years. Pictures I thought would be of importance to others, I mailed to them if they wanted. Duplicates I pitched. My mother’s high school yearbooks found a home with a neighbor that attended the same school. He was greatly appreciative as he knew someone from her class that had lost his senior book in a fire. I sent her college yearbooks to my father as that is where they met.
Goodwill, Habitat Restore, and Vineyard Church Healing Center were my go to places to donate gently used items. I took donation slips from all and will take the tax write offs.
Once I got out all I, or my cousin Alex, did not want it was time to pack up and store offsite things I knew I wouldn’t need in the next couple of months. This helped primarily with the de-personalizing, removing of pictures that sat on furniture in my living room, and de-cluttering of kitchen pantry. The hardest rooms to de-clutter were the garage and office. The garage has been the storage place for all the doors and some of the molding from my house. With demo over there was really no reason they could not return.
The office was a whole other beast. I’ll admit, I had years of various statements piled on the floor and in boxes. Basically when I needed to clear the kitchen counter and table I’d throw whatever was in the way in a box and into the office where I’d close the door during the gathering. It took me about 6 episodes of the new season of Ozark to get through all the piles and decipher what could go and what should stay. The vast majority of it went and I divided that material into two piles, trash and shredder. Anything with account numbers (current or expired) I put in the shred pile and that filled two construction garbage bags. I had hoped to take advantage of a free shred program Furniture Fair was holding to raise funds for Crime Stoppers, but their event was cancelled due to weather. I did find Shred It, located in Fairfield, who only charged $75 for up to 10 bags or boxes.
Alex took her bedroom furniture and the kitchen table (she found a roommate and apartment), but I still have a house full of furniture that I can’t use at my new house, so the final aid to getting ready has been the use of online selling sites. I started out on Ebay, but they charge a fee. I then started posting on Facebook Marketplace where I’ve already made over $1000 selling my sectional sofa and an IKEA day bed. My aunt Marsha hooked me onto Offer Up where I duplicated the items posted on Facebook. Facebook Marketplace allows for more pictures and you can post on your computer. Offer Up forces you to post via their app, which means a small keyboard to type (your phone) and they only allow five pictures.
Warning with these sites. A man accepted my price for my brass etegere and sent me a “certified check” for an amount exceeding the purchase price with instructions that I was to give the difference, $1090, to the mover he had hired to haul several items for him. The return address on the envelope had a different person named and a CA address, but the check was drawn from a bank in Utah. 9 times out of 10 these are fraudulent checks that would never clear, so a scam. I promptly returned his check (I should have torn it up) and reported the person to Offer Up. I haven’t heard from him since, so clearly he had ill intentions. Here are all the items up for sell, so far:
Vintage Kent Coffey full-size headboard: https://offerup.com/item/detail/546727708/
Vintage Kent Coffey Chest of Drawers: https://offerup.com/item/detail/544095679/
Vintage Kent Coffey night stand: https://offerup.com/item/detail/544095237/
Vintage Kent Coffey 9-drawer dresser with mirror: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/320522645375027
Brass Etegere: https://offerup.com/item/detail/542455354/
Stacking End Table: https://offerup.com/item/detail/542476595/
Brass Chinese Noodle Stand: https://offerup.com/item/detail/542465528/
Sleeper Sofa and Love Seat: https://offerup.com/item/detail/546729635/ (if doesn’t sell I will use at my house until I find the sofa I really want)
Miss Martha Original Hallie Music Box: https://offerup.com/item/detail/546376134/
In addition to de-cluttering I painted all three bedrooms, laundry room, office, and touched up the dining room and entry foyer. I got the windows cleaned by Blue Skies Window Cleaning, a company I found through Home Advisor and the carpet cleaned by Clean Steam. I would not recommend nor will never use Blue Skies or Home Advisor again. Stank, minimalist attitude by crew and Home Advisor bugs the crap out of you for more business. Not to mention they only gave me one option for window cleaning, so I’m not likely to trust any future recommendations. I highly recommend Clean Steam, owner Travis Landsdale, for carpet. They were referred to me by a friend several years ago. This was the fourth time I’ve had them out to clean and they’ve never disappointed and are efficient and affordable.
Inner Circle feels cavernous now, definitely too much house for one woman and her two dogs. With Alex’s room emptied out upstairs echoes when I walk through the hall. It is hollowed out in actuality, matching the feelings I’ve had for the last 18 years. I’m so ready for the change that is going to come once the sale is complete. Henshaw here I come!