Decorating, Organization

If The World Gives You Lemons, Donate, Keep or Throw Them Away.


We are moving across country this Summer!

Nope, no job yet, no house to move to and our present home isn’t even listed. But… we know where we want to live and where we want to work! So with our intentions clear, it’s go time.

My husband had a profitable interview with a company in Baltimore last week that would have him working in Philly, which means we could live in our chosen destination, South New Jersey.

Why New Jersey?

First and foremost, my husband has a large family to offer our children. Most of them I like, some I adore, but more importantly they are family. Once children come in the picture, family begins to mean a lot more. They all live in New Jersey. Which is reason enough, but New Jersey has NO HOMESCHOOLING LAWS. None, I don’t even have to send a letter. Huzzah!

Why South?

To afford a home and with significant acreage in North Jersey, we need a half million dollars and well..we are just shy of that figure(sarcasm).


South Jersey has a large chunk of land (1.1 million acres) called the Pine Barrens which is home to the Jersey Devil. There have been sightings for almost 300 years.  I’m not real excited about owning land backing up to an empty forgotten wilderness that might contain some leftover prehistoric bird bent on eating my livestock and pets. But, a Mother has to worry about something. Better a nonsensical wives tale than the fact I’m uprooting my family and moving across the country. Right?!

Here’s the real challenge. Instead of decorating each room carefully, slowly and lovingly, it has become Get it clean, get it pretty, make it look roomy and do it fast.”

So I’m sitting here with a spiral notebook, starting to feel overwhelmed at the growing list of work that must be done.  I still have a full life of homemaking  and child rearing that already fill my days. How can I possibly add more?!

So I thought I would return to my beloved blog and make use of it’s original intent. Accountability.

Every 3 days I will start a new room. I have 12 rooms to clean, declutter and purty up. At the end of 3 days whatever it is, will just have to be.

And you get to follow along, should you choose.

Oh,  and since I’ve never staged and sold a home, any advice would be greeted with enthusiasm and eternal gratitude.

24 thoughts on “If The World Gives You Lemons, Donate, Keep or Throw Them Away.”

  1. It is always exciting and daunting to start a new adventure. It is so important for children to grow up with relatives that add to their stability. Oh, you are wonderful parents. And, I’ll certainly follow along for the trip. My to-do list is absolutely over-whelming. I know how you feel!

    1. Ginene, you always have the sweetest responses!

      My girls have a Grandmother they have never even met. My oldest is 4, can you imagine? Their Grandmother has over a hundred 1st and 2nd cousins. Can you imagine that?! It will be incredible when they get to spend time with all those people and I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the support.

  2. I would love to join you! I always dread showing a home. We hired a stager to sell ours and I must say, it was the best decision that we made. She helped eliminate a lot of stress and the house had never looked better. Good luck!

    1. I’m trying to pinch pennies, but I definitely agree. Staging is important, so I’m going to attempt it myself. I do however plan on hiring a cleaner to give it a good scrub. I’m sure there is dirt I can’t even see.

      It will be strange to have my house looking better than it ever has, only to hand it over to another family. Oh well, it’s a learning experience and it gets us to where we want to be.

      Thanks for the luck!

  3. I don’t own a home or anything but I have watched a lot of TV programmes that have that kind of theme – buying houses/ selling houses/ buying at auction etc. one thing that seems to stand out is making it neutral with just a touch of personality. For example neutral walls but maybe a splash of colour coming from curtains/ cushions etc, or some photographs/ personal belongings and so on. I hope the move goes smoothly especially with the little ones. I also hope your husband finds a job that fits with your family.
    Have fun with it and enlist the kids help were possible.

    1. Yes, I know neutral! Doesn’t that seem just a little bit crazy? Can people really not consider painting? But everything I see and read tells me no, they can’t. I did discover that neutral does not have to be beige. Any soft hues found in nature is considered neutral. Which is a relief, I’ve got oodles of paint in my storage and lucky for us it’s all soft nature hues.

      Thank you so much for the kind wishes. The kids are excited, which makes it a little easier. My oldest keeps talking about our new house and meeting her “Grandmommy from Ireland”. She’s actually from New Jersey, but she saw a picture of New Jersey, said it looked like Ireland, yadda yadda yadda. It’s just so cute, I didn’t feel the need to start geography just yet.

    1. Oh, the local thrift store will enjoy many a visit from me. The only problem is I tend to drop off and bring a little something extra back home.

      Oddly enough this is the first city I’ve lived in that Craigslist isn’t really used much. But we do have the largest online classifieds through the local paper I have ever seen. We have already bought and sold so much since moving here. It’s actually one of the things I will miss when we leave.

      All around sound advice, thank you!

      1. Yes, I love the thrift shops as well. Fortunately, the one I go to the most has a loading dock where they accept donations, so I don’t have to go into the store to donate. I’d be in a whole lotta trouble if I had to go in! I’d never come out empty handed! 🙂

  4. My parents just sold a home. They are not as creative as you and didn’t want to put in the time and effort, so they hired a stager. Cost them about $30k – house sold immediately and the agent believes that the staging added $150k to the price. Not suggesting that you hire a stager, but am suggesting that the work you are putting in will hopefully be worth it :-).

    1. That’s the plan. I’m daunted for sure. I just can’t help but think I can do it myself. There is a serious possibility I will give up and pay someone to finish. At least do the painting, hang blinds, change out fixtures etc. That is an incredible return for such a service. If I turn out to be any good at this, I may just start my own business for that kind of money! 😉

      1. Great idea! Imagine working on other peoples houses every day. What fun.
        I was shocked at how much they charged also – although the before and after photos were also dramatically different.
        A great business for people willing to do it I think, as even if people only achieved double your fees, they would be happy and on a big purchase like a house, relatively large gains are fairly easy.

  5. Less is more. We moved ten times in ten years. We were in seven different states. We owned two houses and rented the rest. The key to it all – figure out what you NEED and get rid of the rest. 🙂 Believe me, you will fill in the gaps after the move. Ha! As to staging the house, start packing NOW. If you can afford it, get a storage unit and put any and all excess into it. I would pick out clothes for exactly 7 days plus two outfits for Sunday, necessary shoes and then packed the rest. School became the basics that would fit into a filing box that we could put in the vehicle next to the girls when it was time to hit the road. Clean out the clothes now. Go through the file cabinets and clean out the paper clutter – if you are paying for a mover to haul your stuff, it’s figured by weight and paper is HEAVY. Pare down your books – not that I was ever able to actually take heed to this advice myself. Those clothes that you took down to a week’s worth – pack them in suitcases and just live out of them. It’s easy to put away in a hurry if a showing happens. You will be weary of this by the end, but it saves SOOOO much time. Beyond all of that, pray every day; go to the park to get out of the chaos; invest in paper plates so you can pack the dishes early; pack a “bathroom” box that has everything you need up to the last minute in this house and that you will need immediately upon arrival at the new one, and plan to have it in your vehicle or to go on the truck last so it comes off first; get your little ones busy helping with dusting and sweeping – it will keep them busy and feeling a part of things rather than as a burden in the chaos; and just remember it’s all worth it when you get to where love and family are awaiting you.

    1. The suitcase idea is genius! That would make everything so much simpler. I can get the rest of the things packed up and stored for the move, hide away the suitcases for showings and already have it ready to go for the trip. All the things you said, I’m blabbering a bit because you just made my life a little bit easier. Thank you!!

      We are paying movers and I’d never thought about it, put paper is heavy. Another good tip.

      “Where love and family are awaiting you”, sounds like you get it.

      Thank you so much for the response and fantastic ideas. Truly, this was very helpful.

  6. I think clean is really important. Apparently, the woman who bought my house was sold on the cleanliness of the bathrooms. They were immaculate, so she felt good and clean about the house. One had just been put in the previous year, and I had made a point to keep it very clean. I didn’t want any dirt to build up. The other bathroom, had a brandnew toilet and sink put in, and the tub had just been refinished. We painted the bathroom a bright white, so it just gleamed white all over! Our house was thirty years old, but those rooms looked brandnew. We did our kitchen the same white colour. I wouldn’t want white kitchen and bathroom in my own home, because it would be too much work to keep clean of little fingerprints, but to stage a house, white can be a wonderful colour for kitchen and bath. A brandnew paintjob just glows with cleanliness.

    I think you have to pick your battles a bit, too. Our bedroom floors could have used refinishing, and we could have used a paintjob in the hallway and living room, but we just didnt’ have the time to go on and on. We chose kitchen and bathroom as important to be perfect, bedrooms as important to paint, and left the halls, dining room, and living room as they were.

    The other thing is decluttering, as your reader above states. My husband has a storage unit for his work stuff, and we filled it to the brim with our home stuff too, while we were showing our house. We packed everything that we wouldn’t need in the day-to-day. We had two outfits and one pair of pyjamas each, two or three books each, very minimal homeschool materials. One pot, and one crockpot, and one place setting per person. We basically camped out in the house. But it made our tiny kitchen seem as if there were enough cupboards to hold everything. And — as an unexpected benefit — we learned to live with less stuff. I am unpacking now, in the new house, and I do not want to keep so much of what I have learned to live without.

    1. I’m doing a good scrubbing as I go along, but I think in the end we will pay a service to really scrub, like on their knees with a toothbrush scrubbing. We took your advice and rented a storage unit close to our home. We have too much furniture for showing, but much of it I would like to keep. Specifically antique pieces that have been in the family for years. It’s really good advice.

      Ya know, I honestly hadn’t thought of packing up the daily needs and keeping it ready to go and separate from the rest of the house, until you and Angela mentioned it. It is truly such a good idea and I’m with you, I think at the end we will find we need less stuff.

  7. I like that you are giving yourself a period of time for each room. It makes it a more manageable project. Otherwise, you could stay in one room forever! Good idea.

    Our strategy was to take the worst room in the house, (the kitchen) and make it the nicest — it was a full reno, new cupboards and counters and everything. Then we took the next worst room — (the upstairs bathroom) and made it the nicest. That way, when we ran out of money, the two trouble spots were done. But it looks from the picture of your bathroom, that you don’t have trouble rooms in the same way we did. Your bathroom looks lovely already! 🙂

    1. My husband has been reading the comments, and this is one he really latched onto and I agree! Bathrooms and kitchens sell a house. It was the reason we bought this one, the other houses we looked at needed so much work in both those areas and although I still wanted to do more with this one, both bathrooms and kitchens were clean and in good order. It was something we had forgotten about until your comment.

      Luckily we just gave the kitchen a little makeover recently, although from a staging perspective we are going to need to declutter, but not much else.

      Thank you for reminding us!

  8. I used to study wilderness skills from Jon Young, who learned from Tom Brown, a famous naturalist and tracker who grew up in the Pine Barrens area and his books feature stories from there. You should check them out!

    1. I have Brown’s survival handbook somewhere in my treasure trove of books. I read it so many years ago, but I remember it being very impactful, not from a survivalist stand point, but more from a living amongst nature perspective. I don’t remember the Jersey Devil story though, maybe it’s in another book. I’m not sure I want to know more, some of the accounts I’ve read so far seem quite credible. My husband grew up in Jersey and to him, it’s just an accepted fact and it doesn’t phase him. I guess it’s a question of what you know, I grew up with poisonous snakes and tornadoes. Both those things are nightmares to my husband.

  9. “Oh!!!! The places you’ll go!!!!…..” 😀

    Hello, Lovely! I have very much missed our interactions. My fault. I just can’t seem to stay on top of things. Never a dull moment here, for sure, but sometimes hard to get a breather. Oh well..

    I am crazy excited to read that you will be moving!! For reasons we have talked about before AND the opportunities with family, it just seems like SUCH a great plan!! And no homeschooling laws is such a nice thing! Out here we have very few. I really appreciate that how I teach my children grows from my love (for them), instead of my fear (of “someone” watching/judging me). As moms I think we are all pretty hard on ourselves enough. I know I am. Now I know not ALL situations are going to have that love in the first place, but if it IS there, then I say, “Watch out world!” 🙂

    I hope all is going well with the home. I hope you aren’t wearing yourself out. I know for me I seem to do my best work when I am in a rush. Heh. But please remember that YOU are much more important that any house. Mwah!!!

    1. I know exactly what you mean, breathe!

      I am thrilled at the idea of living some place where my children’s education is in my hands alone. That is not easy to find.

      I’m not sure I’m doing my best job in this rush, but I’m a lot less sentimental about things. The give away pile is getting bigger and bigger. Although it may be a garage sale pile. Not sure yet. My mother is a garage sale queen, in her small town her annual 4th of July garage sale is renowned. I know just how much money can be made from a well organized garage sale and it’s hard to pass that up. So much work though, I don’t know how a 72 year old woman does it.

    1. Up until this moment in our lives I was keeping things I consciously made a decision to keep. Example, sheets for beds sizes I don’t even have, “just in case”. Once I started this process it’s amazing how quickly things become less important and letting go gets easier. I’m chucking out things 2 months ago I never would have given up!

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