Downsizing Part II

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Nothing makes the prospect of selling your house hit home more than seeing a for-sale sign waving on your front lawn.

The housing market in my area has been slow for buyers but great for sellers. My realtor already had realtors and potential buyers lined up to see the house before it even hit the market.  When we were officially open for business, Buddy and I sat in my car an entire day while people traipsed through my house and fingered my belongings. (Well maybe not exactly, but the idea of a stranger going through my house bothered me more than waiting in the car on a rainy day with a damp, smelly dog).

At any rate, we received an offer the next day and, barring any complications from the final home inspection, my house is as good as sold.

My relief and elation over the sale was short-lived (isn’t it always?).  Panic and anxiety quickly set in at the prospect of  finding a suitable apartment.  Stay tuned for Downsizing Part III, or Finding A Nice Apartment Without (Hopefully) Having A Nervous Breakdown.

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included a short video of me in my car complaining during the viewing extravaganza.

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Downsizing Part I

Downsizing from a house to an apartment requires reinforcements.

First, you need a lot of this:

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And occasionally this:

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And sometimes this:

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It’s been hard work doing this alone, let me tell you.  There is the satisfaction, however, every time a task gets completed that at the outset I thought I’d never get done. The kitchen cabinets, for instance.  I hired my handyman to paint them a neutral light colour, since the realtor thought the red might not appeal to everyone (go figure).  They turned out pretty well. (Clancy insisted on being in the photo).

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The kitchen has been quite a saga in and of itself, apart from the painting.  I secured the services of the local cabinet maker to build a new bi-fold door for my Lazy Susan.  It had to be painted, along with the rest of the kitchen, by my handyman so I had a narrow window of opportunity.

I waited 4 weeks for the cabinet.  Of course it was the wrong size.

It took many phone calls and persistent nagging to ensure I promptly received a new (and properly sized) door, so that my handyman could paint it and my kitchen would be complete.

There was a whole lot of other painting jobs I undertook myself that I won’t bore you with.  Suffice to say that if I never saw a can of paint or picked up a paintbrush for the rest of my life I would die happy.

I’ve also made so many runs to the local Goodwill that they know me on sight.  One person even asked me if I was relocating, waving his arm across my loaded trunk. Thank goodness for Goodwill and Salvation Army–what you can’t sell, you can donate.

Speaking of selling, I’ve managed to unload some stuff that way.  I visited a local artisan who deals in used furniture and “architectural elements” (read: junk) and she bought a whack of stuff.  Other things I managed to sell via Varage Sale. I’ve even been able to off-load items to family members.

Still, I’ve got a ton of stuff to get rid of, like all the stuff in my shed (lawnmower, wheel barrow, etc) and in my basement.  My basement, in the past decade, has been the place where unused stuff goes to die.

Now it all needs a proper burial.

Downsizing

How I looked when I realized how much money I had to spend to get my house ready for sale.

Only not as cute.

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So I’ve decided to sell my house.  I’ve been edging toward that decision for a few years and held off, mainly because the prospect of downsizing was pretty daunting.  Not that I have alot of stuff–compared to others who own their own homes,  I’m downright austere: living room–one couch, one chair, two end tables, plus tv/stereo;  kitchen–one table and four chairs;  bedroom–one bed and two dressers;  an odd table and a couple of chairs.  That’s the totality of my home furnishings.  Apartment, here I come.

My realtor recommends that I repaint my kitchen cabinets a more neutral colour.   If you recall, I’ve just spent a few years repainting said kitchen cabinets a beautiful, earthy red.  I love it, the painter loved it, but in the interest of appealing to the majority of prospective buyers, the red has to go.  The kitchen is open to the family room, so it’s not like it can be ignored or the painting deferred if you don’t like it.  I can’t say this came as a surprise.

Red being replaced by neutral.

I love my red.  So there.

One thing about not using all the rooms in your house is that you forget what work needs to be done.  The cat’s room (yes, you read correctly) needs painting too.  I forgot about it because I’m only in there to fill up his bowl and change his litter.

And then there’s the matter of the basement stairs.  I started to paint them but got tired.  And they look tired too.

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Basement steps need paint. Badly.

I never realized how onerous home ownership could be.  Something weird happens in your house and immediately you wonder how much that weird thing will cost to fix.

Take, for example, my washing machine.  It overflowed in December.  On a Sunday, of course.  I phoned the plumber (paying overtime rates) and he snaked the line, to no avail.  The plumber then phoned the city, who snaked the line and removed a blockage.  The city didn’t charge anything.  The plumber charged 500 bucks.

Then there’s the case of the weird winter leak.

For the past couple of winters, the cat’s room had an inexplicable puddle of water at the baseboard.  At first I thought it was ice-damming on the roof, but turns out it was an exposed gas pipe in the basement’s utility room which allowed house air to escape and then condense above, causing the puddle.

the puddle culprit

The puddle culprit.

What could have been a major expense in the attic turned out to be a $400 fix with insulation.  (That’s the purple stuff you see in the joist headers.)  Still, it’s 400 bucks that’s parked on my credit card (right along with the plumber’s bill) until I can pay for it.

I’ll miss my house, but not the work and worry.  What I’ll miss most is my washer and dryer.  I plan on smuggling in an portable apartment washing machine into the apartment.  I may be downsizing, but I’m not giving up everything. 🙂