Selling in a buyer’s market

If our house ever sells, I’m going to go a week without doing dishes, cleaning countertops, and putting laundry in the basket. In fact, I’m going to leave wet towels on the floor and tell Peanut there’s no need to put away toys. I am so freaking sick of making my house immaculate every morning, noon, and night, that I’m ready to just…well, that’s where my petulance stops. Because what am I going to do? Lose even more on this frickety-fracking house by leaving it in our typical tornado style? Feel vindicated when someone buys it, mess and all…two years from now? Take it off the market and have to clean it for renters? I have no choice but to keep it camera-ready all day everyday. So I tidy when we first get up, I tidy after breakfast, I tidy before nap, I tidy before dinner, Peanut tidies after dinner, and I do a thorough cleaning before bed.

When we first put the house on the market, this whole process was like a gift. Suddenly, we had to keep things in their place, keep counters and horizontal surfaces clear, and maintain the yard with manicure scissors. It was lovely to realize how much less time it takes to put things away right after using them, rather than putting 47 things away at the end of the day. It was glorious to have horizontal surfaces again. It was lovely to see the tile it took us so long to select, and the cork it took several gracious men so long to install.

But now I’m just plain sick of having everything in its place. Just the fact that I have to rather than choose to is making me want to go on a dirt binge. I want to gather sand from all the local playgrounds and beaches, and make piles in the living room. In the kitchen sink. In the master freaking suite, right in the middle of an unmade bed. Ah, how sinfully wonderful it would be to have an unmade bed again. Without all the annoying decorator pillows.

My mom’s friend used to joke that, while she was selling her house, she’d attach a duster to her bum and walk through the house briskly each time she was about to leave the house. Ha freaking ha. I get a toddler ready to go, with the typical 30 minutes of creative games and suggestions for getting clothes, shoes, EWG-approved sunscreen, and hat on (good heavens, just put on your f$%&*@g shoes so we can go!) and then realize I have to tidy seven rooms before I get the kid out the door.

So much for those condescending new-mom articles about how you can’t do everything and might as well relax your housekeeping standards when you have a child, else risk losing your mind. I didn’t have much mind left before the house went on the market, and what little remained has long since been scrubbed away with eco-friendly cleaner. Doesn’t matter whether I’m scrubbing or spouse is scrubbing. It’s a pain, it’s a hassle, it eats into my half hour of sanity time, and it sucks. And I have to do it or we’ll never get out of this house.

And I wonder why I’m not finishing my novels—reading or writing. I’m too busy cleaning, complaining about cleaning, and contemplating not cleaning.

Mmmm. Not cleaning. That sounds lovely right now.

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