Slice of Life Tuesday:…a new shade of paint

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

renovation

The children have long since moved out of the house they grew up in, and the time has come for the house to welcome a new family with young children who will fill it again with happy noise and boundless energy.  

We are cleaning out, packing up, preparing for this new thing in real estate (well, new since we bought our house twenty years ago) called “staging”.  In the old days, we wandered through prospective houses that had most definitely not been staged, for there was  abundant evidence of the owner’s personalities (what they read, where they’d travelled to, what their kids looked like), and the work we’d need to do (paint this, retile that, re-do the other).  It was part of the experience of buying a house, and none of us seemed to mind it back then.  Now, apparently, it’s a whole new ball game: all evidence of who has lived in the home (no matter for how long) must be erased.  Now, apparently, we must prepare the house so that the new owners can envision themselves in your thoroughly neutralized, depersonalized house.

This seems easy to do when your broker first speaks of it, less so when they walk you room by room and list what must be removed/changed, and impossible when you begin to clear away, pack, and discard.   Our kids have done their parts by stopping by to sift among their vast belongings and fill boxes labeled: PLEASE DO NOT THROW AWAY or TRASH!  And now it’s our turn to do the same.

I am not enjoying the process: it is a LOT of work, and it is  emotionally taxing.   Every day brings some small moment when you are forced to contemplate the big change that such a move reveals – your children have really grown up and left the nest, that phase of your life is really over.

Yesterday, the painters removed the radiator in our youngest daughter’s room.  Walking by, I could see every shade I had painted this room in the years she lived here: frothy pink, sunshine yellow, teal blue – her gradations of taste and sophistication.  I remembered each color being proposed, the case she’d make for how necessary the new color was for her very existence, and her delight when she came back from school or a weekend sleepover to find her wish granted.

It was all so simple then, when your child was so easy to please. To paraphrase William Carlos Williams…

so much depended upon

the willingness

to be open to a new shade

of paint

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16 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday:…a new shade of paint

  1. Tara,
    This journey goes far beyond a new shade of paint. If it were only that easy. I too shopped for homes when the owner’s presence was keenly felt. This scrubbing of the past makes the transition premature. Or maybe that’s just how it goes now. You must leave before you leave. This is a gorgeous post.Tara.

  2. The world of HGTV has certainly changed the landscape of selling and buying homes. It is difficult to transition into the new phase without mourning the loss of the previous life. I love your WCW poem, so much depends on . . .

  3. I understand the concept of staging for possible buyers but it does take away from the warmth and personality of the home making it just a house. Necessary, yes. Hard to depersonalize…definitely.

  4. I am surprised you have to prepare your house like this. Extra work for you. You would think the new owners design it the way they like. The layers of paint you revealed each hold a layer of memories.

  5. I can only imagine how difficult this must be. Even though my daughter is “just away” at college I’m preparing myself that she will not be returning to her little girl room as I know it. As you go through this stage, it is a bit exciting to see where the next step in journey will be.

  6. Like Julieanne said, it’s the leaving before the leaving. It’s all a process of saying goodbye. I know this is the hardest part.

  7. Tara, your post speaks volumes to me as our house is empty and for now we are hanging on until the next big decision in our life needs to be made. Will your new home be in the country by chance?

  8. Tara, I’m saddened by the necessity to neutralize and depersonalize our homes. Although I do know it’s the new norm. When we looked at our current house, 20 years ago, I was excited that the owner had many of the same books on her bedside table that I had read or was currently reading. It was a fun connection. In the midst of this stress, I love that you can look at this as an opportunity – “the time has come for the house to welcome a new family with young children who will fill it again with happy noise and boundless energy.” And oh, your move to the farm will mean more delightful pics for us during all the seasons.

  9. What a touching piece and it tugged at my heart. It made me really reflect on the paint colors over the years and what to do with my college daughter’s key lime/teal bedroom which is on the list to update. Remember the goal of getting to the farm, maybe it will help with these unexpected feelings.

  10. It must be very hard to pack – so many memories to deal with! It might look neutral, but the walls will remember it all. Good luck as you start this new chapter of your life. By the way, the walls is my daughter’s bedroom have been purple, pink, teal, and yellow.

  11. It’s the small things that bring such memories. These lines grab me: “Yesterday, the painters removed the radiator in our youngest daughter’s room. Walking by, I could see every shade I had painted this room in the years she lived here: frothy pink, sunshine yellow, teal blue – her gradations of taste and sophistication.”

    I know little about selling a home, having done so once but I would like to believe that leaving bits of your life about makes for a more interesting and imaginative invitation to buy.

    Best of luck with this.

  12. The description of all the paint colors of your daughters room… that really got me. Tears. Life moves so quickly. I hope that the joy of your move to the farm outweighs the sadness.

  13. The reflection on how moments turn into days turn into months and years can be overwhelming emotionally. Courage (say it with a French accent), you can do this. The only way out is through. xo

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