How to Enjoy Your House

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Do you enjoy your house? I love everything about real-estate. It’s a fun hobby to me. At the moment, we have three houses, so I am not in the market to buy another. However, I like looking just to keep an eye on the market. The downside of this is that if you see a house better than the one you are currently in, it is easy to get a bit of house envy. On the flip side, you may be reminded of how nice your house is when compared to alternatives. 

We’ve moved three times in the last 17 years since coming to England. Whenever we put the house on the market, we spring into a frenetic flurry of fixing and tidying so that the house looks its best for viewings. Every time we’ve done that, we think, “Do we really want to move? The house looks so lovely!” By acting as if you are about to move, you can fall in love with your house all over again. Or, imagine the Queen of England is coming to visit. Wouldn’t you rush around and spruce things up a bit?

5 simple steps to either get ready for a move or to simply enjoy your house:

1. Eliminate all the petty annoyances.

Grab a clipboard and walk around your home room by room. Take note of what needs repair and paint. I make a separate page for each room in the house. Doing this, we find things in need of repair. We discovered a running toilet in the upstairs bedroom that must have been adding to our water bill for a month. In the kitchen, we uncovered cabinets that need a new coat of paint. We found finger prints in the hallways, a watermark on a bedroom ceiling, and a hairline crack in the plaster. All of these little things drain your energy every time you look at them and think, “I need to fix that.” If you have too many of these pesky annoyances, you’ll soon feel tired in your own home and may get that urge to move as a result. So, spend a weekend sorting out these little maintenance projects. You’ll feel happier immediately. And you’ll definitely enjoy your house more after all those items are fixed. 

2. Hire professionals to do a thorough deep cleaning.

Clean the carpets, windows, drapes, and inside of the kitchen cabinets. It is worth doing a deep clean at least once a year. Make sure the bathroom is especially sparkly. Clean the grout that gets gunky. Caulk the tub so it is nice and fresh. Put out fresh towels. I’ve applied this same principle to our cars. After a year or so, the car starts feeling a bit tired and old. As such, the desire for a new car arises. But if you take the car to get detailed it comes back all shiny and fresh. So, it feels very much like having a new car again without the expense!

3. Do a massive clutter clearing.

If you wouldn’t move it to a new home, why is it taking up valuable space? The average American home has some 300,000 items. Do you really want to box up 300,000 items? Now is the time to do a big purge. Aim to get rid of 1/3 of your things. Do you really want to move that old sofa or that old electronic stuff? By getting rid of big things, especially excess furniture, you’ll create the feeling of having a much bigger, more spacious home. You may even realize that you don’t need to move to a bigger house. I just took one chair out of the front hall and was amazed at how much bigger it now feels.

Get the whole family to help. The kids regularly grow out of clothes, books, and toys. So, we donate these items to a local charity or give to friends with younger children. You can donate excess blankets, towels and pillows to homeless or animal shelters. We just donated our chicken coop to a hedgehog sanctuary. It was gratifying to see something that was sitting idle in our garden put into immediate use for a baby hedgehog that had come afoul of someone’s garden strimmer. I was thinking of keeping it because we might need it someday. But now that I see that cute little hedgehog in there, I’m really glad we didn’t keep it. Instead of saying, “I might need this,” ask yourself, “What if someone else needs this right now?” A sure-fire way to enjoy your house is to get rid of things you aren’t using.  

4. Create some curb appeal.

If the Queen was coming to visit, wouldn’t you put a fresh pot of flowers at the front door and make sure the entrance was immaculate? Repaint the front door. Refresh the porch. Put out some plant pots. Pull the weeds. Edge the lawn. Get your garden nice and tidy. If you need to hire some help, do it!

5. Sort out any major issues.

For years, my mom held off on getting a new furnace because of the expense. I finally decided to help her replace it. I didn’t want it to break down in the middle of a terribly cold Wisconsin winter. Given Murphy’s Law (Sod’s Law in England), that would be when it is most likely to break down. Now that there is a new furnace, I’m not worried about my mom not having heat in the winter. I’m glad I can give us both a little peace of mind. As a bonus, the new furnace is more efficient and costs less to run. This made me realize it would have saved us money to do it years earlier. Don’t wait. Bite the bullet and get the big stuff fixed now, so you can relax and enjoy your home.

Anytime you start feeling a bit of house envy, take that as a sign that it is time to refresh your own home. By doing the steps above, you’ll either be in a great position to attract the next new home because you are ready to sell or you’ll discover you don’t want to move after all!

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