One might think that this might be the easy part. With the house de-cluttered, with the cat living it up at her cat hotel, and with the house staged to help prospective buyers see themselves living at this address, what else was there to do?
Well… a lot!
Ironically, the first thing was to minimize signs of someone actually living here day-to-day.
Planning elaborate meals that would require serious cleaning time afterward was completely out of the question. I had already thought of that and prepared large quantities of food ahead of time, stored in single-serve containers, ready to go from freezer to microwave to stomach.
I even reverted to my young bachelor ways of eating certain meals right out of the containers to cut down on the dishes that would be needed afterward.
Next, my game plan was to keep to a minimal number of core activities that wouldn’t mess up the house. The home routine became eating, sleeping, reading, watching TV, using the computer and working out to my exercise videos. As I yearned to extend the core activities, I had to keep reminding myself that this was temporary.
Every morning, before heading off to work, I would set aside 30 minutes (which turned into 45) for a quick dusting, a quick vacuuming to restore the splendour of vacuum tracks into the carpeting, and a quick once over here and there with Windex or Fantastic. I finished by cleaning the bathrooms to reduce the perception that someone just got ready to go to work.
I was thrilled that this was the time to legitimately unleash my cleaning OCD and strive for perfection!
I knew that it would all be worth it in the long run and that every detail I tended to would only make the house move more quickly, or would be one less detail to make someone pause and potentially reject the house.
When I got home from work, it was the same thing: keeping to the core minimum activities, not making a mess and cleaning up after myself as I went along.
While in principle it sounds easy, it made me overly cautious to the point of psyching myself into spilling some of my morning Nespresso once (even though I haven’t spilled a drop of coffee in the six years I’ve been drinking Nespresso). I even knocked over a water pitcher on the kitchen counter as I had just finished cleaning the counter.
With this pretty rigid routine, it was still a challenge, and it was only me living here. I wondered how larger families get through it.
What further complicated this time was that it was the dawn of Covid-19. At that point, social distancing wasn’t in the headlines yet, businesses hadn’t closed yet, no one was told to stay home yet and open houses were still being held. We were only at the stage of proper hand washing techniques.
For that reason, every time I returned from work, I wasn’t using regular cleaning products anymore. Every door knob, cabinet handle, light switch and horizontal surface was getting mopped down with a solution that included bleach.
It smelled like a chlorinated pool might have been an added feature to this tiny townhouse, but that wasn’t the case.
Every day I marvelled at how my house sparkled, just like in the commercials!
Fortunately, the house sold in just a few days and I was able to return to a more relaxed pace. With no more strangers roaming through the house, it was one more deep cleaning and then I could return to my normal cleaning schedule, my normal routine and a more normal life overall.
What was interesting in that period of living within a smaller footprint was a lesson learned in living with less.
By keeping to a few core activities, I was indeed successful in still getting myself ready for work, keeping myself well fed, staying entertained, sleeping comfortably and in maintaining my grooming routine. Plus, I was able to accomplish that with a restricted set of “stuff”.
This called into question the possessions I have accumulated that sit in boxes for months or for years at a time. Could this be the mindset and the trigger to help me declutter some more before the move? Food for thought.
Either way, I was more than delighted that this transition period was over quickly and that I was able to bring Ivy the Wonder Cat home from her cat hotel to enjoy some quality time together.
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