old house pics + how to show your house with children while retaining a small shred of sanity

19 August 2015

I'm sure no one cares but I wanted to post the realtor's pictures of our old St. Louis house well, just because. I love seeing photos of other people's houses because I'm a bit of a nosy creep so if I have any similarly curious brethren out there reading along .... this one's for YOU.

And also ... I hate doling out tips! and advice! because the older I get the more I realize I don't know anything about anything but I was thrown some helpful advice when it came time to sell our house and so I'm just passing the good word along in the terrible event that you have to show your house multiple times while housing/feeding/clothing small children. Me and run-on sentences .... we got a GOOD thing going, don't we? I know.

Okay we'll start here ...


In alllll her glory. I suppose.


The living room. It will forever drive me a teeny tiny bit crazy that the left cushion on the couch front and (not centered! the horror.) has the zipper showing. Okay, not forever. I might already be over it.


(right off the living room) ... the photographer labeled this, "the music room" .... hearty laugh.


you'll never guess!! .... the dining room.


the sad kitchen that is no longer painted my favorite shade of aqua. crowd hiss forever.


Theo's room. And also the room that housed all of my clothes. And Phoebe's clothes. And theo's clothes. Such a helpful room!


bathroom, baby. Definitely needs to be updated ... but it wasn't the worst.


Another view of the living room. I knew you were itching for another slash ... accidentally threw this in and I'm not deleting.

Sebastian's room ...


the bed needs a bed skirt and I think the photographer flipped the comforter up like that? Maybe he was offended by the white sheets? Not sure.


The attic where the girls slept. Also where many dirty shoes walked, apparently.

(you might be wondering but probably not - why the boys didn't share and the girls got shoved in the attic? Well, because the boys are THEE LIGHTEST sleepers and we are enablers, I guess. Julia wanted to sleep upstairs with Phoebe in her toddler bed and it worked well to have Phoebe upstairs because she napped twice a day up until we moved anyway ... the boys share now and it's going semi-okay)


The other half of the attic (separated by swinging doors) where Simon and Grace slept. Or Grace didn't sleep while Simon was at the hospital.


The basement. I know it doesn't look like much but it was in VERY shabby shape before thanks to multiple pet stains from the previous owners and some really depressing dark beige walls so we put in new carpet and painted it white and light grey (pictured as beige -- WHY WHY WHY)


basement bathroom. Simon ripped out the dated (but useable! so we gave to Habitat for Humanity) toilet and vanity and light fixture and put new ones in ... wish I had a before photo for you. Just pretend you're impressed, okay? thank you.


And the backyard. My one big BIG thing when looking for a house down here was a fenced in backyard without death steps because getting outside with the kids was tough especially when they hit the "must scale stairs" age. Anyway, we lived. Obviously.

And now for my fire hose of wisdom ...

1. Get rid of everything. Really. Down to BARE BONES. Explain to your poor children that they can pick a few precious toys to keep out but the rest will have to be packed away for the move and some might even be given to other girls and boys. They'll be fine. I'll admit I haven't read the decluttering bible of the year but ... I do love a good run to Goodwill and we made MANY. We had (still have/kept/brought down here) a lot of craigslist/Ikea (not the cool Ikea stuff, not cool at ALL) furniture so it was easy to part with a lot of it and we saved a lot of money moving because we had significantly less stuff. Difficult math there, right? Anyway, the less you have ... the easier it is to clean on the FLY. And the house will show prettier and people can picture their belongings in said house instead of the basketS overflowing with your hoarder  of a 4-year-old's toys (euphemism for j-u-n-k).

2. Empty one drawer in each bedroom + the kitchen. This was Simon's idea. We had an empty dresser drawer in each bedroom to throw things in a hurry. While it's tempting to stuff the closets ... potential buyers are totally going to want to check out the closet space situation but if they want to go peeping in your dresser drawers (that don't come with the house) ... that's their problem. And we had an empty drawer in the kitchen to toss the random crap that would accumulate on the counters. It was a lifesaver.

3. Be flexible. I know, I know you can just straight up tell realtors that nap time is if off limits and that you NEED 24 hours notice before a showing but .... we needed to sell our house because we had to move by a certain date so I just tried to roll with the awful. There were times that I had to carry all the kids out one by one because the showing was during naps and I forgot my shoes inside and ... shudder. But, you do what you gotta. I did say no to the crazy "we'll be there in 15?!" requests because ... I only hate myself SO much.

4. Hire a cleaning pro. We hired a gal to help with the deep cleaning before our two open houses and it was worth every single penny. I hid behind the excuse that Simon was working a lot that month but ... no. She did a zillion times better than we could've done in probably 1/10th the time it would've taken me. So worth it.

5. Open houses. They were tough because they fell right smack in the middle of naps but it's such an easy way to get a lot of traffic. I know some people ONLY do open houses and don't even allow private showings ... personal preference!

6. Stack the showings. If I had multiple calls for showings on a certain day I would request and see if they could all come during the same block of time. That way it looked like there was lots of interest and ... one less hour we had to be out of the house. So smart, that Grace. 

Our house sold in three weeks which is when the real fun began with the trillion (maybe more) inspections and repairs and then packing began in earnest but ... we were grateful it sold, period because we all know how fickle the real estate market can BE. I'm sure I'm missing some good advice ... in case you're a house selling veteran and want to lay it on us, please do.

I'd love to ramble on and on and on but I won't.
However, tomorrow is another day.
Wide eyed, no blink smile.

45 comments:

  1. It looks like a fairytale house! So cute!

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  2. A laundry basket is also great for grabbing last minute clutter. I would put the kids in the car, grab my basket, pick up last minute clutter and bring it out to the car with me.

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  3. In our 16 years of marriage that includes 5 kids and 6 houses owned, I would say you covered it all. Where were you with the empty drawer in each room bit all my moves ago? Genius. The only thing I'd mention is that we also ate like crap & that crap was served on paper plates.

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  4. What a cute house!
    Oh, the basket weave floor tile in the bathroom! Squee! Mint green subway tile also does my heart good.

    Congrats on the move.

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  5. I'm in the process of house hunting/house buying so I'm looking at homes every day. Your patio and yard look so great! Your house in general actually.

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  6. We're getting ready to put our house on the market for an interstate move with a 9-month old, so this was perfect. I especially love the drawer tip...very smart! Thanks!

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  7. That is so impressive how you were able to declutter with so many kiddos!

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  8. I love your abhorrence for beige! Makes me chortle every time.

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  9. So cute. Are those wine corks in drawers in the kitchen??

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  10. That house is so cute! It looks so small from the front but it appears to be huge! Now we want to see pictures of your new house!

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  12. Grace, I would love to paint this house for you! I know that you have so many wonderful memories bringing your babies home to this house in particular.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/211745362/custom-house-portraits?ref=shop_home_active_1

    Please e-mail me if you are interested. :) taylor.leigh.norton@gmail.com

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    1. OMG you paint houses?!?!?! def gotta look into this!!!!
      Xo ellen from ask away
      www.askawayblog.com

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    2. Thanks, ladies!! I would love to paint your homes too!! :)

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  13. This is such a cute house! I second the decluttering, like to the extreme. We are on our 8th house in 10 years of marriage, and it's so much easier to quickly clean and show a house (or move last minute) with minimal stuff.

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  14. We are right there with you in the horrors of trying to sell a house with little kids. (Only 2 here, but still.) It was a lot more challenging than I expected. And super frustrating, because we had SO MANY SHOWINGS (to the point that we sometimes had to be gone literally all day, from 8 AM to 8 or 9 PM--what the heck do they expect us to do all day, trapped out of our house?!), with almost exclusively negative feedback. Apparently our photos were very flattering (eye roll). It actually did sell really fast, which I am grateful for--but I swear, those were the longest weeks of my life. This house was adorable. I can't wait to see the new one!

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  15. Yes! So glad you posted this. Our house goes on the market in six days and I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and have a 2 1/2 year old. So, great planning on our part.
    Thank you so much for the tips! And I loved seeing your house, SO much character! Very different from the cookie cutter neighborhood we live in now!

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  16. Loved this! I'm pretty sure the (outdated!) bathroom is my bathroom's long-lost identical twin!

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  17. Genius. I need the empty drawer in every room all the time. Because despite having bought said decluttering bible? Our house remains the life-un-changed magic of never tidied up. Meh.

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  18. This is literally on the top of my bookmarks for the end of this coming year... I am dreading this process but if you can do it... Wait you're way more awesome than me, shit.

    But seriously, these pictures look so beautiful and have me being nostalgic for that trip when the kids played in the balls in your basement and the love affair with doc mcstuffins began 😂 such good times!

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  19. I see from the picture of the basement bathroom that you and I would have regular arguments about which way to hang the toilet paper. JK. Kind of.

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  20. Um, those cork cupboards are kind of amazing, as is your music room! Hope you were able to replicate both in FL. The girls sharing an attic room is just like on the show "Just the 10 of Us"- a spin off of "Growing Pains." A totally obscure reference, but the picture made me realize that your girls were able to live out my childhood dream.

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  21. Love the empty drawer idea! And having the house professionally cleaned was a great thing for us as well - very much worth the money!

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  22. don't worry, the 'decluttering bible' can be summed up in these points 1) talk to your stuff and thank it for doing stuff 2) don't roll your socks, it makes them sad 3) get rid of stuff and don't feel bad about it
    that's a good idea about the drawers though. never thought of that! i didn't open anyone's dresser drawers but I did peek through their closets.
    I don't have kids but these tips kind of helped me anyway, because we are hoping to sell our house soon!
    ps your old house is addoooorable. I want it.

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    1. He he he! Thank you! Saved me $10:-)

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  23. That empty drawer trick is the best - I guess you don't become a doctor without brains! Go Simon!

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  24. Delurking to say that your main bathroom was much more classic than outdated - love both the wall and floor tile. Although I know firsthand how inconvenient a pedestal sink is unless you have another place for storage in the bathroom.

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  25. With all of those wine corks in the kitchen I now see how you are able to survive with 5 under 5!

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    1. ha. I wish. All old corks from my waitressing days :)

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  26. OMG I love it!!! it reminds me of my house on the inside! beautiful!!!!!!!!
    xo Ellen from Ask Away
    www.askawayblog.com

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  27. Such a cute house but dang I still can't believe the aqua kitchen is gone....the new owners are missing out for sure!

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  28. Super cute house and I love the tips! We might be trying to sell next year so I'm going to bookmark these tips. I especially love the empty drawer in each room! That's a fantastic idea!

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  29. I am filing this away for a later date (but probably not too much later). We're in the process of sprucing up for a move and these are EXACTLY the types of things that will help me keep my sanity while on the move to move.

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  30. That is a REALLY cute house and I love house creeping so much, I can't even describe it. I think I like, even get a little mad when people write on social media, 'moving!' but then never show pictures of their new places. #creeper #canthelpit

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  31. Thank you for enabling me! I have always (creepily?) wondered what the interior of your house looked like because the front was so beautiful!!

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  32. Your old home looks lovely. Can't wait to see more of your new home. I love the empty drawer idea. Maybe that's a good idea for me to implement all the time in case I have random unannounced visitors.

    www.candidcerebrations.com

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  33. Love your house pics! We are getting ready to move with 6 kids (3 of them 4 and younger). I'm scared. Thanks for the tips! We will declutter this weekend! www.suchatimeasthis.com

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  34. We're in the initial stages of thinking about selling our house; this is so, so helpful! Thanks!

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  35. I agree with a lot of your tips! We sold our home in a weekend using a lot of the same strategies! Best of luck on your new move! Beautiful home.

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  36. My house goes on the market next month. I have 2 small kids. We're having a yard sale this weekend and you just inspired me to add more stuff to the pile. WHY DO WE HAVE ALL THIS STUFF!?!?!?

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  37. love all of the photos and suggestions! I love posts like these - I managed to drag my mother-in-law to an open house the other day "just because" ;)

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