Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Guest Writer

Welcome Kris Louis of parentingwithkris.com . Her blog is self-explanatory. As a “clutter cleaner” by profession, I can certainly attest to the importance of her message. Enjoy!

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A Stress-Free Guide to Selling Your Home as a Parent

If you’re a busy parent with a home on the market, you’re probably feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now. Between prepping your home for sale and keeping it spotless for showings, the cleaning and decluttering projects never seem to end! However, selling your home doesn’t have to be as stressful as it may initially seem. Some careful planning and a good maintenance plan will help you keep mess to a minimum and ensure your home is always sparkling clean when potential buyers pop by for a visit.

Be Prepared for Last-Minute Showings

When buyers are on their way for a showing, you might have just 30 minutes to tidy up and get everyone out of the house. Be ready for these frantic cleaning sessions with a cleaning to-do list. For example, Old Salt Farm recommends a 20-minute cleaning plan that involves shining the kitchen sink, sweeping the floor, picking up clutter, and emptying household trash cans. If you have the time, try to vacuum high-traffic areas to give your home that extra “wow” factor. A stick vacuum, many of which are lightweight and cordless, can make all the difference. Before you purchase anything, take some time to check out reviews to find a top-notch stick vacuum. Eventually, you and your family will have this procedure down to a science!

Deep Clean Everything

Before you even put your home on the market, give it a deep clean from top to bottom. You’ll find it much easier to control everyday messes when you start with a clean slate. Scrub down every inch of the bathroom, wash the kitchen cabinets, spot-clean carpet stains, wipe the baseboards, vacuum under furniture, and organize every storage area in your home. A good deep clean will help you tackle stains, odors, and built-up grime once and for all.

After everything is clean, get in the habit of tidying up as you go about your day. Put the dishes in the dishwasher after every meal, wipe down the counters immediately after cooking, and make the beds first thing in the morning — and get your kids to help!

Reduce the Potential for Mess

What’s easier than cleaning all the time? Preventing mess from occurring in the first place! One of the best ways to reduce the potential for mess is to declutter as much as possible. Remove knick-knacks from tabletops, dressers, bookshelves, and coffee tables, and get your kids to pack up some of their toys until after your move. You may even want to rent a storage unit to get excess furniture out of your house. Not only will this make vacuuming easier, but it will also help your home appear bigger and brighter.

If your kids tend to destroy every room that they set foot in, consider blocking off certain areas of your house. Clean any rooms that your family doesn’t need to use every day, like your second bathroom or home office, and tell your kids that these are off-limits. This way, you won’t have to clean your house top-to-bottom before every showing!

Stick to Easy Upgrades

Certain upgrades can help your home sell faster and for more money, but don’t go overboard. Do some research into your local real estate market to find out what kinds of upgrades other sellers are making to their homes. If you’re in a seller’s market, NOLO suggests that you might not have to do much to impress your potential buyers.

Stick to simple, quick upgrades, like replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets, refreshing the grout in your bathroom, hanging a new shower curtain, and giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. Placing a couple of flowerpots on your front porch is a great way to improve your curb appeal without investing major time into gardening and landscaping. If your children’s rooms are painted in bright pink or lime green — or any other crazy color — consider repainting with a crowd-pleasing shade of light blue.

Selling a home with kids isn’t as hard as it seems. Declutter, deep clean, make a few simple upgrades, and be prepared with a last-minute cleaning plan. While you may run into some hiccups in the beginning, your family is bound to develop an efficient cleanup system by the time you find a buyer for your home.


2 Comments

“Stuff”

When you are helping someone downsize their life, or sorting through someone’s things after they have passed, it is quite an experience. My new client has been keeping me very busy!

I was talking to a dear friend this morning who has been slowly going through his mom’s things after she passed away last month. He got a bit teary eyed as he talked about the things he is finding and the realizations he is making. Often times, even though we know someone is a great person, sifting through their things raises your appreciation for them even more. He brought back many memories of when my own mom died. Lots of increased admiration for her, even though I already thought she was an incredible person.

My client is preparing to leave a fairly large home and move into assisted living. Her house reflects a life time of “stuff” and also that of an aging woman who couldn’t get around so much anymore. People are often very emotional about this process and I was expecting this feisty woman to be a difficult person to work with.

She has been anything but that. She is ready. I recognize that tired look and sound. Yes, I was this amazing professional for years and years, but I’m done now. I’m a bit worn out. And I don’t need the boxes and boxes of work I did. It’s not necessarily a sad thing as if everything you did was a waste. It’s just a recognition that the time has come to close that chapter.

I’ve found incredible amounts of bank statements and paid bills. She sure loved L.L. Bean! Years and years of carefully folded and stacked papers, all in the recycling bin now.

Talk about bittersweet. The sadness is obvious. But there is a peace that also comes with making your environment ordered and simpler. When you get older, you realize that the really meaningful things aren’t in any of those material objects. I know it sounds cliche, but it is completely, 100% true.

I just have to throw it out there. (OOOO, great pun!) You don’t have to be “old” to experience the relief of simplifying your life. Get rid of the clutter now. You won’t regret it!


2 Comments

Tired Out

I had surgery on my feet last week so I’ve been on crutches. Mostly, there isn’t much pain. The thing that has surprised me is how much I am sleeping. I can sleep for hours. As I slowly increase my activity, I find after an hour or two I need another nap. Someone pointed out that once I stopped, the last few months may have just caught up with me. I’ve been crashing hard.

My first time driving again, I went to a building complex for folks 62 and over. I have two jobs there I will be starting where I am helping the resident clean the built-up clutter in their homes. Both apartments are going to be quite a challenge. The conversations with the two women in their mid to late 70’s were amazingly similar.

“I’m tired.” Both ladies repeated that again and again. Tired with a capital T. Tired of taking care of themselves. Tired of taking care of other people, which is definitely what most women do for most of their lives. Tired of all of it.

One woman made it clear that she was not referring to “giving up” because there’s a big difference. It brought back floods of feelings and memories of Dad. I spent the last year or so trying to explain to others that exact sentiment. Dad was tired. He was done. But I saw that as completely courageous. There was no giving up, it was an acceptance. Done here. Ready for the next.

I don’t think the women I saw today were necessarily referencing the end of their lives. They are just ready for a change. Needing to simplify. Needing to stop and slow down. Wanting to be taken care of a bit which is the biggest change of all. “I’m tired.”

Later I spoke with one of the managers who asked if I had an initial assessment. I said it was too early to know for sure, but my gut feeling is that neither of them had a mental health issue of concern. They are both just tired. Tired with a capital T.

I’m aware that this week held one of those realizations that once again, God, the universe has brought my life experiences to dovetail beautifully with my work. I was able to understand and relate to them in a much deeper way more quickly than I would have a few months ago. Thanks Dad. It felt really soul-satisfying to hug one of them at the end and hear her say, “You are the only one that is listening. I could kiss you right now.”

My approach to these organizing jobs will have a slightly different slant. I will be emphasizing that peace is coming their way. They can sit in their chairs and direct me and I will do my best to give them rest. The soul kind of rest they desperately need.

My sleep has been more physical, just recovering from surgery and lots of stress. That kind of fatigue is important to respond to, but these women are tired in a much deeper, wide-reaching way. Send prayers for us as we begin our work together that the outcome will be much more significant than a clean apartment. This feels more like a ministry. I’m so glad for the opportunity!