The long, dreary process of attempting to sell a house in today’s tight market can daunt even the most Pollyanna among us. Not to mention, purse strings are snug when you’re in the process of relocating. So in the spirit of keeping those spirits up and thumbs from twiddling into numb oblivion, here are the top twenty low-cost things to do while you wait for your house to sell (in no particular order.)
1) Gather up every cleaning product you’ve ever purchased and whip through each room until Martha Stuart would be proud to move in. Since this is a given and may have the potential to be quite boring after a day or so, quickly skip to item number 2.
2) Raid your makeup stash and dig out the seventeen bottles of nail polish hidden there. Give yourself, your children, husband, neighbor, and cat a pedicure. Heck, why not throw a pedicure party? Just be careful not to spill polish on the carpet or you’ll have to revert back to item number 1.
3) Read every book in the house, starting with those juicy summer reads you never got around to reading this summer because you were too busy cleaning.
4) Grab a few packets of seeds and use your planters and old storage containers to plant a portable flower garden outside. This will serve a dual purpose: people perusing your property will be attracted to the pretty plants and you’ll reap continued benefits of your efforts by the ability to transport the garden when you move.
5) Roll all the loose change you’ve collected when you cleaned your home and accumulated at the bottom of your purse.
6) Cash in your loose change and splurge! Spend the day at the spa, shopping for a new purse with a wide bottom for accumulating new change piles, or treat your significant other to a romantic dinner.
7) Visit every local library in town and check out the best movies you can find from each. Make a few bowls of popcorn to share and host a family film festival.
8) Go through your neglected stack of magazines and pull out the information, recipes, coupons, and so forth you wish to keep. Box up the remains to take to your local recycling center or to donate to a local school or daycare for art projects.
9) On the recycling kick, it’s time to weed through the contents of your closet and other storage areas to determine what you can clear out to charity, auction on Ebay, or reserve for a moving sale. This will dramatically lighten your load when it comes time to move, and may even afford you some extra pocket change when the anticipated day draws near.
10) Get some fresh air. Keep up with the yard work, snow shoveling, raking, or whatever upkeep needs to be done. Play kick ball with your children, go sledding, or run through a sprinkler on a hot summer day.
11) Catch up on your phone calls and correspondence. Reconnect with friends and family you neglected while preparing your house to sell. This will also make them feel warm, fuzzy, and cared for, so when it comes time to move, you’ll have more willing helpers at hand.
12) Empty your cupboards. Bake the cake you’ve been saving for some unexpected occasion. This is an unexpected occasion. You’ll be moving soon and you don’t need to carry the cake with you. Donate food you won’t use to your local food shelf.
13) Test all your smoke alarms and change out older batteries. Just remember not to do this while people are looking at your home. Dashing for emergency exits and a shrill ringing in their ears will not leave potential buyers with happy memories of your property.
14) Dig out your craft supplies and finish the projects you’ve been putting off. Moving with completed scrapbooks, quilts, or Christmas gifts will be far more satisfactory than shuffling unused supplies from your old home to the new one.
15) Use your camcorder or digital camera to take a current pictorial inventory of your home. While this is always a great asset to have available for insurance purposes, it will also be a nice memento to have years later when your children are curious about the house where they were born or for your own reference when you try to recall exactly how the CD shelving unit is supposed to be reassembled.
16) Learn how to play your child’s favorite video game and share in their fun. If you are already hogging the video game console, move over and teach your children to play. Host challenging matches an award prizes of treats or extra game time for categories such as the “most creative player” and the “most flexible game thumbs,” sure to inspire laughter and a more fair playing field.
17) Use potential buyer visits as an excuse to take a walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the nearby park, if weather permits. Just don’t leave if you are hosting an open house on your property unless your agent recommends it. Typically it’s best if both you and your agent are available to answer questions and to watch any guests who may stop by without an agent to monitor their activities in your home.
18) Empty your medicine cabinet. Do you really need to hang onto those Tums from 1992? Check all the expiration dates and dispose expired medicines according to the label instructions. If you have prescription medicines, it’s best to put them under lock and key. Believe it or not, some people will snatch prescription medicines; it’s commonly known as the number one theft from homes on the market.
19) Clean out your computer files. If you are a perpetual bookmark junkie, weed through the websites you’ve saved and file or delete them. Go through your digital pictures, files, and programs and do the same. If you have a mass amount of digital photos or large graphic files, consider writing them to disk or other storage media for safe-keeping. Your computer will be happy with its lightened load and will enjoy the move with less baggage to weigh it down.Savor the memories of your home. Reminisce about the good times you’ve had there and if the mood strikes you, jot down some of these snippets in a journal. When the house sells and it’s time to move, you’ll have already said good-bye.