February 23, 2014

IN LIMBO

We have spent the last two weeks in frantic activity, turning out everything and turning our house into the show home that the agent wanted to see when the photos were taken for the website.

cupboards

The kitchen before.

To say this has been blooming hard work is the understatement of the year.

(So far.)

kitchen after The kitchen after.

Our garage is full of the excess contents of the house that littered all the surfaces such as the kitchen worktops, bathroom and other furniture.  That’s after we had filled my dad’s garage and spare room with as much excess as we could get into the space available.  We even removed six bookcases (and all the books contained thereon) from the third bedroom so that people can see properly how big it is.  (Definitely big enough for a bed.  A single bed would leave lots of space for furniture.  A double bed would leave about the amount of space that you get in the “master bedroom” of some of the new houses we have been looking at lately.  I don’t think we could physically fit into a new house.)

We do have an awful lot of stuff.  It’s tempting to just scoop it all up and take it to the charity shop or tip.  In reality, it represents so many chapters of our lives so far that we are painstakingly sifting through each cupboard and each drawer to inspect the contents and decide properly what we want to keep, what we can do without and what we can throw away.

It’s not easy.  It sounds easy enough but when we find ourselves looking at a pile of stuff that hasn’t been used for an embarrassingly long time, but cost some of our hard earned cash and has its own story to tell, it’s difficult to make the decision to part with it.

I have to balance this against the knowledge that when I have been in our little cottage in Le Grand-Pressigny for an extended period, managing perfectly well with a fraction of the stuff we have at home (thinking that we still think of our house in Derbyshire as “home”), if someone had sent me an email saying “I am sorry to report that your house in England has blown up” (or burned down), I would not have been the least bit perturbed.  I would have missed some of my cake stands and crockery, and my beads, but not the rest of the stuff.

This weekend we have been having a bit of a breather before the real work really starts.  We have hidden as much as we could behind the cupboard doors and in my dad’s house.  Now we have to truly get down to the nitty gritty of really sorting out and getting rid, whilst trying desperately to keep the place clean and tidy just in case someone wants to come and have a look round.

We are in limbo, playing the waiting game.  We can’t move forward now until the house is sold and the money is in the bank.  This is not easy for a Sagittarian, whose main accomplishments do not include being patient.

Have a good week !!

19 comments:

  1. Speaking from experience, the trick is not to think about whether you keep something or not, just do it, one way or the other. I also received some very good advice which I have generally followed -- 'if in doubt, throw it out'.

    Maybe you need to try the old 3 boxes, 15 minutes a day trick. The boxes are 'keep', 'charity' and 'chuck' and you spend 15 minutes a day sorting stuff, any stuff. Use a timer and work as fast as you can for your 15 minutes, don't think about which box stuff goes in, just do it instantly and instinctively. Stop immediately when your timer goes off, and when the chuck and charity boxes are full put them in the car immediately so you are not tempted to retrieve things and they get delivered to the tip or the charity ASAP.

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    1. Susan, that's a good tip and we're trying really hard to be ruthless.
      However, we have already had a situation where I found I needed something I have parted with.
      I need a presentation folder for something but I have recklessly given the whole box of ours to a neighbour for her school stationery cupboard. I hadn't used them for years.

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  2. Oh Jean, I know exactly how you feel. Why do we hang to stuff we haven't seen or used in years? I had the same feeling when I moved in 2011. I still a few cases that I haven't unpacked since then. So why keep them? Parting and leaving part of one's life behind is always hard to do, especially when you are making an important change in life like you are doing. Hang in there and look forward to the lovely life that is awaiting you in 'la Douce France' and tthe ' Lumière de Touraine'. Martine x

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  3. Oh what memories...and it was only a year ago. Be careful what you wish for. Our house sold in record time and we found there was so much still to do in such a little time. In the end we had to hold a garage sale to compliment the Ebay sales, which was unbelievably successful. We managed to sell almost everything. Fortunately it wasn't raining. I can't believe a year has gone by. Hard work, isn't it? But it's worth it. Good luck with the coming weeks. I'll watch with interest.

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  4. Oh good luck.:-) Your post brings back memories of when we put our house in Suffolk on the market in 2010 and the need for the 'show home look' [oh and bought the house here in a juggling double act] ... it is worth it but I'm still repressing a shudder at the memory!!
    Having moved on average every 5 years we have become very good at being ruthless like Susan; though we do still have a few boxes which are from the last but one move and yet to be opened [we can tell by the removal co. logo LOL!]

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  5. Good luck, Jean and Nick.

    I can only imagine how difficult this is for you both, as only you will know the memories various pieces have stored in them. However, look to your dreams for the future for some emotional support.

    I'm generally less sentimental about keeping things than Tim is, in fact it's almost impossible to get Tim to get rid of anything and the only time he is grumpy is when 'encouraged' to bin something! In the loft of our garage we still have unopened boxes of stuff we brought to this house more than 30 years ago!

    I think Susan's advice is very useful and something I might try.

    Bon courage x

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  6. I like the look of all your cake plates and pretty things in the kitchen in the before photo. I'd be likely to buy a house because I liked the contents, even knowing they weren't part of the purchase.

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  7. Been there, done that, got the boxes labelled "Tim's for sorting" to prove it. I got rid of a few things I've subsequently wanted, and a lot of things I haven't thought twice about since. We preferred the "lived in look" but our ultimate buyer was German - to that nationality "clear the house" really means it (you can leave the floorboards but everything else has to go). I can't help thinking how bare the "after" picture looks. Here's hoping it's all worth it. P.

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  8. It's a pity the house you're selling isn't in France, where, to judge from the agents' photos, the lived-in look is de rigueur with French sellers and buyers. :-) I really don't envy you. We had three house moves in 7 years with my job and still have stuff in boxes from the first of those moves. DH is a born hoarder and finds it almost impossible to get rid of things. Sigh....

    Good luck and make sure you don't get rid of your cake stand collection. :-)

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    1. Perpetua, nobody needs that many cake stands but they're definitely staying! They're safely boxed up and in my dad's garage, ready for transport to who knows where!

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  9. WE read of your journey with much anticipation with the view to the same in a few years down the track. Friends of ours did the move and threw out those unwanted things while putting the undecided into storage. You know that after paying months of storage fees, they ended up throwing that out as well. Best of luck with the sale.

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  10. I hate throwing things away and I do regret some things I have chucked but.... We have moved so many times over the years it at least keep a lot of the things in check! Keep well Diane

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  11. I have moved houses lots of times, so when it came to clearing out the clutter to move to France there was not much to get rid of. Good luck with the house sale. Hope it goes fast for you.

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  12. All the best with this portion of the adventure. Yes, it will take patience. Sorry.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  13. I remember how painful it was to watch things disappear when we threw out, gave away, and then sold as much as we could out of our house in San Francisco. But memory is selective and you forget about those unneeded things pretty fast. You two have obviously done a great job getting your house ready to be shown to prospective buyers.

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    1. Thanks Ken. The real challenge will be keeping it clean and tidy while we carry on the sorting out process.
      My dad's garage is still gradually filling up as we move stuff there temporarily. At least that way it's harder to fetch it back into the house!

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  14. What a wonderful kitchen. I'll take it! (Sorry I can't...) We did our major downsize before moving to Spain. The first few tries were challenging, but the more we weeded out, the more free we felt. Good luck!

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    1. I have to say, I'm finding the process strangely liberating and already not missing the stuff that's stored at my dad's.

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  15. Limbo is a restless place to be; you want out, any way will do. Being in limbo and having patience is a challenge indeed.

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