We are currently selling our house. With the current market in Adelaide, I have very little expectation that this will be a quick process – recent reports suggested that the average time on the market is 91 days, that is, 3 months or 13 weeks. At least 13 open inspections, at least 13 times I have to polish the shower screen to a mirror like finish, at least 13 times we need to make the house look like no-one actually lives here – I mean really lives, as in living like a normal human being – messy, disorganised, stretched, involved in lots of things, connected to friends and family and community and work and having fun – that type of living. Like most of us do. It amazes me that buyers expect your house will be ‘show home standard’ – don’t they realise that no one actually lives in show homes? We put away the photos that show real people, we de-clutter every space, even the spare room, by taking our clutter somewhere else for someone to store and we simplified the furnishings and the amount of ‘stuff’ that we have.
The upside of this is that this type of simplifying, while in itself was an arduous task, did force us to consider what we would need over the coming months while the house is on the market. Out of everything that has gone into storage I think we have only recalled one or two things in the past weeks. Things which we were so connected with that we couldn’t possibly donate, recycle or re-purpose them that we had to store them. We did donate, recycle and repurpose some things – coming to a realisation that perhaps that book or other ‘thing’ was no longer required, that in some way we had moved beyond needing it. With a new focus on how we want to live more sustainably and lightly, our needs and wants have changed – things which seemed important when we were first together, no longer seem to be so important. Books on organics, farming, self-sufficiency and Permaculture have replaced comics, science-fiction books, lifestyle magazines and trashy novels. Items which will continue to give good service and were in good condition stayed, including the 2 analogue TVs – we don’t watch that much TV and the delay of the analogue signal being switched off has meant we can still find something to watch when we want to actually watch TV, which isn’t very often these days or we watch something we’ve recorded previously.
Even though living in a ‘show home’ may not feel quite as homely as usual, the simplification process has been valuable – once again we are consciously considering what is really important in our lives and the opportunity to remove some of those things has been almost cathartic and a confirmation that we are changing, responding, moving forward into a future which is more sustainable and straightforward, giving room for new habits and practices to come into our lives or perhaps leaving just a little bit of space to breathe ….