Why I Haven’t Been Writing: An Ode to My Baseboards

Oh, my blog people. I love you so much. Know what I don’t love? Painting trim. Evil trim. WE HATES IT, my precious. But it had to be done:

It’s gonna be so worth it when we sell our house. We’ve painted, poured gravel, planted herbs, cleaned everything, thrown away all the junk we didn’t need… (I used that as an excuse to chuck boxes out of my upstairs windows. The neighborhood kids were enthralled.)

So, I’m feeling invigorated, but exhausted. We list on Friday! Can any of you share your own house-selling stories to enlighten and/or amuse my weary husband and I on breaks between more painting and repairs tonight?

P.S How freaking awesome is it that I can come on the internet and ask people to tell me stories to make me feel happy, AND THEY DO IT? You do it. That’s modern-day magic, I swear, and I’m grateful for it and for y’all.

P.P.S. I’m compelled to post some more photos so you don’t think I live in complete filth, which I wouldn’t blame you for doing based on that picture above. And because our house has probably never looked as good as it does right now. πŸ™‚


77 responses to “Why I Haven’t Been Writing: An Ode to My Baseboards

  1. I love the bedroom color scheme!

    Is that a pallet-garden? I’m thinking of doing one of those if we are here this summer.

    • Thank you! Turquoise is tied with purple for my favorite color. When I moved home from Mexico, I missed seeing it! But – and this makes me so sad – the realtor strongly suggested that we paint that room. So, it’s now a pretty but boring soft yellow.

    • Oh, and yes! That is a box/pallet garden. We put a tarp underneath, constructed the four sides, and threw in a bunch of dirt. It’s worked beautifully for tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. πŸ™‚

    • You have to keep telling yourself that it will be worth it. Exciting changes take work! (At least, I hope you’re moving because of an exciting change.)

  2. No matter how you slice it Jennie, having your house on the market is a pain. And the two morphine-level pains are keeping the house neat and tidy, and preparing for viewings. Over the years, we’ve learned that we need what we call a “turbo-cleaning” routine. It’s all-hands-on-deck, and divide and conquer. Each person has their list of tasks that must be completed, because frequently, there’s no time for planning and discussion. And the good news is that if it’s done right, you can skip your exercise routine for the day. BTW, the baseboards look awesome. Best of Luck. ~James

    • Have I told you that we have THREE dogs? They’re the nightmare part of the equation, given that they scratch the (freshly painted) door when they want to go out, and rub against the (freshly painted) walls when they’re itchy. *sigh* So every time we have a showing, we’ll be scurrying home to hide their beds and toys, vacuum, spray air freshener, and cart them off to the park before guests get there!

  3. Very nice, Jennie S, and I hope you have a sale soon and can get into a new place. Getting it done feels so sweet. We moved last year, right around this time, and getting the place ready was intense. It looked so beautiful after we had it staged, but it was a total lie. A lie, I tell you. No poop smears on the staircase, no jam in my boots, no ropes and other restraining devices lying around. But I feel much better now, in the new place… other than when I stare at that list of things to fix up.

    Cheers, Jennie. Great photos.

    • I love your new avatar. It pops out at me when I’m scrolling!

      To your point… the last two homes sold in our neighborhood went in 16 and 33 days, so we’re hopeful. *fingers crossed* We have also cleaned all the poop smears (thanks a lot, dogs!)… but I’m afraid to touch anything. Thanks for the good wishes! I’ll feel much better too, once I have a commute of <10 minutes instead of an hour, and our pups have a fenced-in yard to romp in.

  4. Good luck! I’ve sold three houses and my life saver was empty laundry baskets. If there was a showing and I had laundry or other random stuff that I didn’t have time to put away I’d just pile it in the baskets and put them in the car. (Even dirty dishes sometimes…) Hope all goes well!

    • You are the second person to tell me about that trick! If it worked for you three times, I’m on board. I’m going to make a list of what needs to happen each time we get that phone call, so we can go down a checklist and not waste time trying to remember details. Whew!

  5. I too love the bedroom colors!

    I don’t have stories to share about selling a house. I just moved into a one, but this is a rental. I can tell you that today was a confusing day as I didn’t realize it was Monday already and I had to double check tweets. Well, basically all I did. Okay, I’m pretty much always confused hehe. Also! You throwing out boxes reminded me of my old neighbor who threw his TV out of the window because he couldn’t stand what he saw. Kid you not! He lived three floors up! Odd little man, he was.

    Wish you lots of luck and hopefully lots of rest soon as well! *sparkly waves*

    • I laughed – did you really use Twitter to figure out what day of the week it was? Oh, technology. πŸ˜‰

      I used to live next to an odd man, too! He was very sweet – and totally harmless – but he was a part-time nudist and I occasionally surprised him working naked in his garden when I came home from work during my lunch hour. I’ve never seen a retired man run so fast to hide!

  6. Jennie, your place looks wonderful. Seriously. The color in your bedroom is great. Erik and I just bought our first house in 08 and we were renters for years prior to that. I can say just from the photos I would most definitely take a tour. A clutter-free listing is crucial.

    • It’s a wonderful feeling to own your space and be able to make whatever changes you want – although, our current HOA kind of cramped our style.

      We’ll be renting for the next three years though – it doesn’t make sense to buy again until I finish grad school and know what city I’ll be working in. By the way, it warmed my heart that you would tour! Skeeeee. πŸ™‚

  7. I have a mermaid in my bathroom too! I found her in a junk shop in Philly – she taunts me with her lovely locks while I’m blow drying mine.

    Good luck on the rest of the project! Everything looks lovely.

    • YES! Dawn from Tales from the Motherland has a mermaid in her bathroom, too! This blogger penchant for sea sirens is the most random fun fact I’ve learned yet on WordPress. πŸ™‚

  8. Good luck Jennie!! I have never renovated and sold a house. I bought my investment property pretty much brand new and now have onsite managers to deal with maintenance. Thank goodness. Fingers crossed you will get a good offer!!

    • Thanks, Daile! When we move away, I will miss that our community took care of landscaping. On the other hand, I won’t be sad to have a bigger yard than the tiny patch of grass and shrubs we’ve got now. I guess we’ll have to buy a lawn mower…

    • You brought so much good here with you! I love it.

      Buying is absolutely more fun than selling. *grump grump* But I have this hopeful feeling it will be over with fairly quickly, and at least I’m tired from productive work!

  9. Isn’t it sad that the house always looks the best right before you sell it? My heart goes out to you for painting your baseboards, which I know must be done with oil based paint. I haven’t sold a house in a while, but a tip or two: If you get a last minute call for a showing, throw everything in laundry baskets and put them in the back of your car. Dirty dishes can be put temporarily into the dryer. If the lookers look in your dryer, shame on them. Good luck!

    • Yes! I mentioned to J that the psychology of that kind of bugs me. We weren’t willing to take the time and fix up the little things that annoyed us so we could enjoy the space more, but we do it for the faceless people who are touring. I guess we all want something perfect when it’s brand new to us, but over time we get comfortable. *sigh*

      I really heart your laundry basket tip! My mom did that too, but the dryer trick is new! If anyone looks, I’ll tell them they have you to deal with. πŸ˜‰

  10. I love the bedroom colors! I can only imagine how exhausting and stressful that is. We are renting here in Germany and actually trying to find a new place to rent for a while until we can buy or build our own home. It adds to the stress here because you typically have to bring your own kitchen. It’s such a pain!!

    • Oh, you’re thinking of building? That is a someday dream of mine, but I’m sure doing it in a foreign country would entail all kind of (ultimately worthwhile) headaches. How cool would it be, though, to live in a space you designed just for yourself? You really could build your heart room. πŸ™‚

      • I’ve done it once before in the states and yes, very stressful. Here though, that’s how most Germans have houses. Sometimes they buy from people, but mostly they build. They don’t typically have subdivisions like we do.

      • Oops sent too soon. πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’d love to build here so we really could design it ourselves. That would be amazing!

  11. Don’t worry that we have been put on the shelf for some masking tape and paint. We’re not sensitive at all. No. Not at all.

    When I got laid off in 2010, in between gigs, I painted. I FEEL YOUR AGONY. It’s boring. On the other hand, you can see the results of your efforts right away. So there’s that. Did you get any paint on the carpet? I did. A little.

    Why you move? Where you move? More importantly, how, in God’s name, did Duke get tossed in the first round?

    • I am virtually sticking my tongue out at you right now. *nanner nanner*

      The upside of all this painting is that I’ve finally gotten the knack of edging without painter’s tape. Not having to deal with getting that up and down saves a few hours per room! When you were a pro, did you use the tape? And yeah, I’ve been giving certain spots on our carpet little “haircuts.”

      We’re going to be moving to Durham, which will mean my commute gets slashed from almost an hour to ~10 minutes! (This makes me so happy I could weep.) J’s commute will stay about the same. Since I’m starting grad school in August, I’m going to need the extra time to study! Also, I cheered in my office when I heard Duke lost. I don’t even watch sports, and don’t particularly care if UNC wins, but hating Duke is burned into my soul. πŸ˜‰

      • :10 minutes! You call that a commute!? Don’t make me laugh. In the evening, you’ll be home and lighting a fire before I’m even out of Manhattan.

        I was indifferent about Duke until I met my sister-in-law; a Duke graduate with the attitude to match.

        • How long is yours? Like I said, my current one is AN HOUR. Of driving, because I don’t have subways and light rails like you urban folk. I’m pretty much willing to sell my soul – let alone my house – to not spend 1/12 of my day navigating traffic.

  12. We’ve always thought about moving, but the ridiculous amount of work that we’ve done that we would now have to undo to satisfy Joe and Janice McSnotty buying our house always convinces us otherwise. Painting every room, trim, ugh. More power to you.

    I did paint our trim the last month – just doing one room a day. It took forever, but it didn’t seem quite so overwhelming.

    • Buyers always seem like McSnottypants! I guess I’d be pretty picky, too… we’re always happier with our own mess than someone elses. But it is hard for me to swallow that they might not appreciate our little garden, or our art! I’d love for a fun, hippie-ish couple to take over our house – although of course I’ll sell it to anyone who’s willing.

  13. It looks lovely!
    I don’t have any amusing house-selling stories (too young for that at the moment), but there’s sort of an amusingly tragic story about the house my family moved into after my parents divorced, if you’re interested, haha.

      • Hahaha, no not at all. πŸ™‚

        Basically when my parents split when I was 10, my mom bought a rundown, falling apart house and we moved in to renovate it. Everyone slept on mattresses in the living room because the bedrooms needed to be fixed up, and nobody believed me that the floor was slanted at one end, even though I insisted it was for a couple of weeks.
        Finally my mom’s mattress slid to a part where the floor slanted, and she woke up complaining that her neck hurt, and she asked me if I thought the floor was slanted. I just gave her this “Are you kidding me?” look.

        I guess that was funnier in my head, haha. But my mom learned to listen to me from then regarding house structure, so that was a win. πŸ™‚

        • That’s hilarious! I’ve slept in tents on an incline before while camping, and it is the worst. Did she have to have it fixed, or did you live with it? Can you even fix that? There’s an episode of How I Met Your Mother where a couple moves into a “slanted” apartment.

          • I’ve seen that episode!
            No, we didn’t get it fixed, so the living room has a slight dip to it at one end — luckily the rest of the house is fine. πŸ™‚ And apparently the whole thing is being renovated again, but I haven’t seen it. My brother reports that it’s “awesome”.

  14. I bought an old cottage on a 35 acre lake in 89 for 40,000.00, remodeled it, lived there for about 12 years and sold it in 2 weeks at the top of the 90’s feeding frenzy for about 160,000.00. Happy days!

    Then I bought this property I am now on, built all the buildings myself, payed off ALL debts, cars, etc. and now live life as a broke, but gentleman of leisure πŸ™‚ . . .

    it can be done. . . . but it depends on the housing/economic condition . . . and I’m afraid that bubble is broken for this country for the foreseeable future.:-(

  15. Haven’t ventured into the world of purchasing a house yet, but the last time I moved and cleaned my previous apartment was an adventure. She said I did a great job but kept part of my deposit to get the carpet shampooed. :/ If I had known, I would have shampooed it myself. That’s terrible work but kind of fun at the same time. Now I’m in an apartment I love dearly but if something that was a teeny bit cheaper, closer to work, and had a bathtub and dishwasher became available I’d jump on it so fast! Hope that your house-selling process goes smoothly! ❀

    • Grrrrrrrr. I think some landpeople do that as standard practice, but it would almost be better if they told you up front that it was a cleaning fee, instead of a deposit with any hope of you getting it all back.

      We recently rented a carpet cleaner from the grocery store and it worked amazingly well! It took about six hours of intense work, but the carpets are probably cleaner than when we moved in.

      P.S. I could live ithout a dishwasher just fine, but a bathtub has become a necessity. πŸ™‚

      • I think I might rent a carpet cleaner at some point. I’ve been at my apartment for a year and a half almost, and I think it’s time to get that done.

        I grew up with a dishwasher, so I’m spoiled. I never feel like my dishes are clean and for some reason, washing dishes squicks me out more than cleaning the bathroom.

    • Thanks, Hook! Stop by if you’re ever (for some bizarre reason) in the area… (In the next weeks or months before it all goes into boxes!) πŸ˜‰

  16. I love painting!! I would so paint the trim for you if we lived closer. And I love the turquoise!! When looking for a house, I always appreciated when homeowners left candy left out. Ha!

    • Then you are a lucky person! I love color, so the painting is a necessary evil. I will say this – I’ve finally figured out how to paint straight edges without painter’s tape, and that is a game-changer! And I think I’m gonna take your tip about the candy… the funniest “staging” tip I read was from a realtor who always left a black silk nightgown hanging from the towel/bathrobe hook inside the bathroom door. She said the husbands in touring couples always remembered that house!

  17. A few days too late, Jennie, but your place looks great. Good luck with the sell. Funny, a friend of mine just painted her trims and she needed a few strong ones to pull her through it.

    Also, I heard having cookies in the oven on show day makes people feel at home. Personally, it would send me to the nearest store.

    • Thanks, friend! With comment updates, you’re never late. πŸ˜‰

      I have also taken to heavy drinking and off-the-charts candy consumption to make it through this week. This morning I looked out the widow while brushing my teeth and watched the garbage men haul sooooo muccchhhhh of our junk away. It was orgasmic.

  18. I really love the colour scheme, Jennie – that’s gorgeous. Totally with you on not loving the act of painting, but I do tend to get enormous, perhaps excessive, joy out of cleaning up and cleaning out and reorganising things. Something refreshing about using one’s hands for a tangible outcome (instead of all this digital stuff…).

    • Thank you, Alarna! I know precisely what you mean about working with hands-on results – actually making, actually destroying, actually shaping the physical world. It made me unreasonably sad that the realtor asked me to repaint our bedroom, and it’s now a pleasant but rather dull buttery yellow. I’ll have to re-create my Mexican turquoise theme in our next house!

  19. Woah, swanky crib. I love the fact that you posted up pics of a clean house. P.S top marks for the pillow arrangement.

    Looking forward to seeing you back!

    • Awww, you called my little house “swanky.” *blushing* Anything I know about pillows I learned from my mama.

      P.S. You’re gonna get your wish, as I’m about to post a somewhat whiny piece about April being the cruelest month.

      • It kind of is. Except that it’s when the good weather comes back. In England there’s this tension; like sprinters at the starting block. We’re going to have about 17 hours of summer and everyone is waiting for the gunshot.

  20. Your house looks lovely. Why are you selling? (Just curious.)

    I agree with you that positive, supportive communities formed online are true modern-day magic. Ain’t it grand? πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Stef! If we could lift our house up and move it to the neighboring town (where we both work), we would. Well… that and if we could add a fenced backyard, which we can’t do either. (Dang HOAs!)

      But having a new home, with room for the dogs to romp, will be grand – just like this home here. πŸ™‚

      • Ugh. HOA’s are the worst. I’m so happy that my sweetie and I no longer live under those constraints.

        Enjoy your new digs!

  21. Wait, what? Moving? No! I miss blogging for a few weeks and how does this happen? Does this mean you may not be there, if I am able to get my tickets and come to visit in June? I’m still trying to line up travel plans, to go to that wedding on June 14th… with a side visit to you. Um, you can’t move, cause, well… it’s all about me, right?

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