Disclaimer: Not the author's actual house

Disclaimer: Not my actual house

There comes a time in the process of selling a house when every homeowner realizes he or she is an enormously disgusting slob. Perhaps not of the sort that Hoarders would feature, saving every milk carton purchased since 1964 and failing to recognize a toilet brush for what it is, but the more insidious sort: the sort that does not have a professional housekeeper or an OCD diagnosis.

Before putting our house on the market, I used to think I was a marginally clean person. I picked up clutter, scrubbed the bathroom weekly, even went so far as to institute a tri-monthly schedule of scouring the grout on the kitchen floor with bleach and an inordinate amount of elbow grease. I now boast biceps like Schwarzenegger and calluses like a steel worker.

This, however, means nothing.

That deep clean I did annually, taking down all the Roman shades and gently washing them in the bathtub to kill the mold possibly hibernating in the wooden crannies? Meaningless. The strict dusting schedule to prevent buildup of mites that make every season a living hell for my allergies? Meaningless. The weekends wasted on maintaining the flower beds, which have a tendency to get annihilated by my friendly-yet-bull-of-a-dog? Meaningless.

I discovered this futility the past few weeks, as I prepared our beloved bungalow to go on the market. I repainted each room, polished the cabinets with oil soap, stashed my collectible Irish Barbies and hid heaps of epic crap in the attic to prepare. But as I completed each check mark on my to-do list, twelve more items sprouted up to take its place. Why had I never noticed the sludge and fly corpses that accumulate in the window jambs? For that matter, had I washed the windows even once since I moved in? Oh my gosh, look at the cobwebs that have collected in the ceiling corners! Where in the name of puppy breath did they all come from?

A few items I have never, ever cleaned in my house:

  • Light fixtures. They serve as coffins for various insects, aka the honored dead.
  • Electrical outlet plates. Upon closer examination, I see that yes, they should be cleaned at least once a millennia.
  • Sliding closet door tracks. Why have I never noticed the pile of lint and carpet detritus crudding up this neglected space?
  • Mirrored closet doors. Is it so hard to pull out the Windex and flex those elbows? I say yes.
  • Behind my easel. I won’t even tell you of the hideousness I discovered back there. Let’s just say, if you’ve seen Creepshowyou might be marginally prepared.
  • The windows and all respective jambs. As mentioned above.
  • Top of the refrigerator. If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.
  • The freezer. It’s a good thing no one ever looks in there.

This is just a small sample of tasks that will probably remain untouched for all eternity. In addition to all the regular work involved in just making the house presentable for the intense scrutiny involved in open houses and surprise visits from prospective buyers, these tasks stretch out before me in an endless taunting of to-do list hell. I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t complete all the above items in time, but I haven’t quite come to terms with my new identity as a slob.

It’s okay, though. If we sell the house, it will be someone else’s problem.

Since you really wanted to see what was behind the easel...

Since you really wanted to see what was behind the easel…

 

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Comments

A Homeowner’s Real Estate Fear — 36 Comments

  1. Atta girl! That’s the spirit! Seriously though, I feel you on this. I got up on the step ladder to get something off the top of the fridge and the amount of grime up there was a sight to behold. I’ve got cobwebs and I even found an ornately spun spiderweb in the closet that I hadn’t noticed until the light finally hit it. But hey – we’re busy women, right? We’re consumed with creating, not out Martha-ing Ms. Stewart. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! 😉
    Linda Roy recently posted…Song Parody: Teenage WaistbandMy Profile

  2. LOL – I hear you! I’m getting ready to have new windows installed, and when they came to measure my old windows, I was totally embarrassed… (Okay, I wasn’t embarrassed enough to clean them after all these years)… but then I remembered – they’re going to replace my dirty old windows with new clean windows. By the time someone else comes to buy the house or replace these windows, I’ll be long gone, and the new owner will feel the shame! 🙂 Thanks for making me smile. I enjoyed this, probably because I can relate to it.
    Cheryl recently posted…Free Meriam Yehya IbrahimMy Profile

  3. Since loosing the dogs, I’m happy to say I have cleaned all those things & more – the house will be really clean when you come to visit 😉

  4. I wish I would’ve known your bicep cultivating secret before I took up boxing. I hate cleaning, but I hate exercising more : ) Best of luck with the house. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect place.
    Karen recently posted…Creation MythMy Profile

  5. I know the feeling, since we are looking for a new house and have been working on ours for – well it feels like forever! But it’s so important. One house we looked round had dusty windowsills and door jambs, and we couldn’t help feeling that if they couldn’t be bothered to clean, maybe it showed how well they had (not) kept the house.
    We moved when our daughters were quite little, and while our house was for sale we went to visit a friend of mine. The girls clutter had got around, so I said we needed to tidy up.
    My three-year-old looked up and said, “Is someone coming to look round her house?”
    Yvonne recently posted…How Did You Choose a Blog Hosting Company?My Profile

  6. We have relocated several times and I can totally relate to this post! There is something about all that cleaning and purging each time we move that I look forward to for some reason. Not the aching muscles or aggravated allergies from all the dust and packing…maybe the sense of accomplishment or the excitement of starting a new chapter and leaving the old behind. Either way, good luck to you! We just sold our house in Texas and are currently moving from San Juan, PR to New Hope, PA. Here we go again!
    Little Miss Wordy recently posted…Statement: Bank Account Low. Immediate Deposit Necessary.My Profile

  7. Where in the name of puppy breath did they all come from?
    Ahaha! I ask myself the same question about the same things you listed. It’s just too much. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I either need to hire a regular cleaner or just accept the fact that my house will always be partially dirty.
    Kim at Awkward Laughter recently posted…Eat the Cake!: 30-30 SomethingsMy Profile

  8. Well at least chances are the prospective buys won’t be looking on top of your fridge either so you should be off the hook for a bit. 🙂 Best of luck on the sale of your house! Are you planning on moving very far?

    Love the creepshow pic!!
    Jen Brunett recently posted…She and He… and UsMy Profile

  9. Ahhh, I feel your pain. But I kind of knew I was a slob. Fortunately, we sold our house in about three weeks, thanks to a dramatic price drop at week 2.5. We move in about two weeks. I couldn’t handle having it on the market for a long time with three kids. Our previous home took about two years to sell. Nightmare! Our realtor says, “It just has to be priced right.” I hate that that’s true. Good luck on the sale!
    Kate Hall recently posted…Top 10 Funniest Tweets – May 2014My Profile

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