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8 Tips For Selling Your House in One Weekend

As my regular readers know, we sold our house in one weekend this Spring. Technically we sold it in less than 4 hours but the terms weren’t hammered out until after our open house weekend. Now we were the beneficiaries of a hot sellers market but we also did a lot of work to make our house show ready to ensure a fast sale. And our hard work paid off- we received multiple offers above asking price! We spent about 3 months and $1500 getting our house ready for sale. Our realtor came through the house before we listed it and she had not one suggestion to make on things we needed to do before she could send it live in MLS. Not one! Today I’m sharing some tips that helped us sell our house quickly with multiple offers and countless compliments. 

1. Declutter every space. I know, that’s the number one tip you get from every article, post, and website. That’s because it’s the most important first step. We started this process in January. I literally went through every cabinet, drawer, closet, and purged purged purged. Then I did it again. I sold or donated anything that we didn’t love or need. That included furniture, dishes, clothes, toys, rugs, decor, books, etc. Nothing was safe! I think we made at least 15 trips to Goodwill with full loads of stuff. Bonus- it makes it so much easier to pack for the move when you’ve done a good purge!

2. Neutralize your color palette. Most of our house was already pretty neutral but we definitely needed to paint Zoey’s watermelon room, Mason’s checkerboard room, and 2 bathrooms. It’s ideal if all the colors in your house flow together easily and compliment one another. I stuck to mostly khaki, greige, gray, and pale aqua. All the bathrooms were painted the same color, I used a similar shade of the pale aqua that was in the kitchen and nook when I painted Maia’s room upstairs. It really makes a difference. We also repainted all the trim in the entire house to a brighter white and repainted every single door in the same color. That instantly brightened and updated our whole house.

3. Rent a storage unit. We rented one just a couple of miles from our old house and packed up at least half of the stuff in every closet and cabinet. I packed all the Fall/Winter clothes, shoes, and coats, bulky toys, extra hangers, coolers, suitcases, china, holiday dishes, extra decor and furniture and we loaded it into the storage unit. If you shop around you can get a deal. We actually ended up only needing our storage unit for 26 days and since we found a one month free deal we only paid the $18 initial fee. 

4. Do all small house projects. Nobody wants to walk into an open house and immediately see projects they’d need to do. That’s a big buzz kill. Along with painting we also redid the gel stain on the kitchen cabinets and stair rails, redid caulking in the kitchen and bathroom, patched any nail holes and baseboards, replaced light switches, etc. All those little nagging projects- do them. 

5. Don’t forget the deck and garage. I know most people think- it’s just a garage. But it makes a big difference. We removed all the excess from the garage and painted the entire garage from floor to ceiling. We also painted the deck with Behr Premium Deck Over. I couldn’t believe how great it looked afterwards! With some sweat labor we added instant updated appeal to one of the biggest selling features of our house.

6. Clean, Clean, and Clean some more and not just the inside. We deep cleaned every square inch of our house from ceiling to floor. Then we did the outside. We pressure washed the driveway, sidewalk, front porch, and house. We even pressure washed the basketball backboard. It’s all about first impressions!

7. Spruce up the curb appeal. We added all new mulch, pine straw, and flowers to the front yard. We trimmed the trees and bushes framing the house. We touched up the paint on the front door and shutters. We changed the door handle and added a new front door mat. 

8. Hire a professional photographer to take your pictures. Our realtor already had a professional photographer on staff so we didn’t need to hire one ourselves. But we absolutely would have spent the money if we needed to. The pictures were spectacular and I firmly believe they sold our house for us. We had multiple offers the day we listed before we even had a showing!

Another big part of what sold our house was the staging. It’s too much info to put into one post so I’ll be doing a whole separate post on how I staged our home for sale.



The Last Home Tour With Professional Pictures

One of the best decisions we made when we decided to list our house for sale was to have professional pictures taken. Our realtor had a connection with a fabulous photographer and he took amazing photos of our house for the MLS listing. Heck, after we saw the pictures we wondered why we were moving in the first place. Ha! The professional pictures really highlighted the stuff we wanted to show off in the house- the new appliances, new flooring, expansive deck with built in hot tub, barn doors, etc. It’s been a long time since I did a home tour and pretty much every room has changed. So for one last final time- here’s the house tour from our old home. I’ve included links to some of the DIY projects we did in some of the rooms. 

Front View:

Front Living Room:

How to Gel Stain Banisters & Railings

How to Build Sliding Barn Doors

Family Room:

Breakfast Nook:

Kitchen:

How To Gel Stain Kitchen Cabinets

Gel Stain Cabinets 2 Years Later

Tyler’s Bedroom:

Turning Formal Dining Room into Bedroom

Upstairs Landing View:

Zoey’s Room:

Mason’s Room:

Maia’s Room:

Master Bedroom:

DIY Rustic Wooden Plank Headboard

Master Bathroom:

Back Deck:

It feels so weird to look at these pictures now and we don’t live there anymore. I hope the new owners are loving it as much as we did for almost 13 years!



5 Tips For Hosting The Perfect Backyard Cook Out

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We love to host cook outs at our house with family and friends. I guarantee we will be hosting one almost every single weekend this summer with various friends and family attending. It’s what we do. Over the years we have perfected the art of hosting the perfect backyard cook out, or as we call it here in the South- the BBQ. 

1. Do the food pot luck and buffet style. This is very important or you’ll end up in the kitchen the entire time. I usually send out a mass text to all the friends and family we’re inviting with details about what we need. For example, last weekend I sent out a text saying we were cooking pork chops and hot dogs and asking for people to bring side dishes, hot dog buns, and sodas. We had a lovely spread with pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and cake! It was great. And so easy. I lay everything out in the kitchen in stations to make it easier. One counter has plates, napkins, cups and silverware. The next has all the side dishes. And the last has the desserts. Everything flows clockwise to avoid congestion and I don’t have to worry about serving people. 

2. Provide lots of drinks. I keep one of our outdoor fridges fully stocked with drinks- kids drinks, sodas, water, gatorade, beer, and adult beverages. When we’re ready for our cookout I transfer kids drinks, water, and sodas to a big ice filled tub and then beer and adult drinks go into another ice filled bucket. I periodically check to see what needs to be refilled throughout the cookout. 

3. Plan a variety of activities. We always have the hot tub open with the jets on. We have corn hole in the yard and depending on the temps and the time of day we have the gas fire pit going. When our cookout runs into the evening we fire up an outdoor movie for the kids. 

4. Always have shade and sunscreen. I keep a can of spray sunscreen in the drink bucket for guests to use. It’s chilled and feels so good when you’re hot. We have 2 big umbrellas on the deck for shade and we keep the AC down low for people who need to cool off inside. It gets really hot here- up to 102-106 during the summer- and the last thing I want is guests dropping from heat exhaustion.

5. Consider the ambiance. You want your guests to feel relaxed and the best way to do that is to consider the ambiance you’ve created. We always blast tunes through a wireless speaker from my Summer Fun playlist. If it’s dark enough outside I toss some glow sticks in the hot tub. We have solar string lights around the hot tub and the deck railings that don’t attract as many bugs. And I light tiki torches in the yard. 

 Hosting the perfect backyard cook out doesn’t take much work, just some planning. And all the planning ensures you get to have as good a time as your guests! 

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40 Bags In 40 Days

Today is March 1st, which marks the first day of Lent. This year I have decided to do a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge to clear out my house. Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts and overwhelmed with the state of my house. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the stuff on my to do list done and the house is suffering. The purpose of the 40 bags in 40 days challenge for me is to be purposeful and mindful of what I’m choosing to keep in the house. I’ve never done this challenge before so I’m excited to get started. I’m hoping that this challenge will put me in the mindset of asking myself “do we really need this?” before I buy or bring something new into the house. I know we will never be minimalists but we can definitely do with less stuff! 

We spent last weekend doing some work in the kids bedrooms. Like I mentioned yesterday, Tyler’s futon broke so we had to do some bed rearranging. It was eye-opening, shocking, and downright appalling to see the amount of clutter and crap in the kids rooms. I mean, seriously! 

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All of that came from underneath Zoey’s loft bed. And that’s not all of it. That’s just one side of the room. See? Appalling. And I don’t even know what half of that junk is or where it came from. That’s embarrassing. Mason’s closet was scary and there are so many things in there that he doesn’t want or care about anymore. 

I have quite a few areas that I want to focus on- closets, pantries, laundry cabinets, master bedroom, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets…the list just goes on and on. I start today! In fact, I already have my first bag filled and ready to donate! I’ll keep you updated on my progress and hopefully in 40 days I’ll feel better about the state of my house.

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Managing My Household Hot Spots

After a couple of months of diligent searches, we’ve identified the neighborhood that we want to live in when we move. It’s the perfect location (about 15 minutes closer to the kids new charter school), the style that we like best (modern craftsman-ish), the amenities that we desire (2 pools, cabana, large playground, walking trails, tennis courts, etc), and offers the size of house and layouts that we want. We hope to build new because right now they are still building phase 1 of 4 planned phases. But it’s more expensive than what we originally intended to spend so we know that we will have to stay in our current house for at least 3 years in order to be able to afford to move to this neighborhood. Unless we win the lottery. *fingers crossed*

So based on our revised timeline I decided to identify and remedy the hot spots in our current house. What are hot spots? I’m so glad you asked. Hot spots are those areas in your house that drive you insane. Either they are cramped and cluttered, or they are non-functional, or they encourage chaos. We have several such areas in our house and if I have to live here for 3 more years then I need to fix these spots. Knowing that I’m going to be spending a good portion of my days in the car driving kids to and from school, and practices, and everything else then I need every inch of this house to function in an organized manner. 

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Our current hot spots:

1. The Front Entry Closet. We did a semi-custom locker system in the closet years ago when we only had a few kids but it’s not functional anymore for a large family. Shoes are just everywhere. There’s nowhere to put hats, mittens, scarves, etc. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to fix the situation but it will be fixed.

2. The Garage Staircase. I’m not sure what it is about a set of stairs that makes my kids think they should pile stuff there but our garage staircase is so cluttered that I almost fell down it last week. I’m going to take everything off the stairs and start over. I think I’m going to paint the stairs and railing too. Might as well make it look pretty. I want to move the dog leashes out there to free up space in the front closet. I have a general idea of what I want so now I just need to execute it.

3. The Laundry. Dear Lord, the laundry. It’s out of control. Right now each kid has an individual laundry basket in their rooms. Thanks to my new extra large capacity washer and dryer I could fit all 3 younger kids dirty laundry into one load. But the separating colors and whites and darks and jeans….it’s killing me. I need a central hamper system that can be in the upstairs hallway for all 3 kids to use. It’ll have to look nice because that area can be seen from the front door. I’m on the lookout for something.

4. The Shoe Clutter. The kids keep school and nice shoes in the front entry closet but all their play shoes are in a canvas bin beside the back door. It’s not working. They dig through the bucket and just dump out other people’s shoes all over the place. I need a shoe cabinet by the back door. I found one at IKEA so I just need to make it happen.

5. The Linen Closet. Right now it’s just a disaster catch all closet upstairs. I have extra school supplies, bags of clothes to donate, kids books, and a whole lot of linens in there. Oh and medications too. And Bailey’s dog food. And extra toiletries. I need to pull everything out, donate what we don’t need, and organize the heck out of that space. It’s just not functional right now. 

Those are the top hot spots in my house right now. There are others. Boy are there others. But I know if I try to do them all at one time I’ll get overwhelmed, annoyed, and stop halfway through. So these are the 5 I’m going to focus on before school starts up again in August. Then I’ll make another list. 

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