You listened to our last article on this subject and followed the advice and now, of course, you have a house. But what do you do with a house once you’ve got one? Interior decorators suggest that you hire them and let them take care of you at an insane price. Inspectors want you to do preliminary maintenance so that you don’t have a real money pit in a few years. Your parents want you to just move in, hurry up and get out of their house!
Well, I have been living in the Sneer HQ for a few whole days and I already have so much life experience as a result that I just have to share it with you now, today. I already have too many projects going on, so I shouldn’t add “open a house-owning consultation firm” to the list. I’m still only one girl, no matter how often I wish for clones with a shared hive mind! Nevertheless, I am very much an expert on this subject, but I don’t mind sharing wisdom for free.
Step One: Slowly Move Your Things There One Small Carload at a Time
It sounds fancy to have your belongings strewn about across states, in different homes, and at first it is a luxury worthy of bragging. Of course, if you encounter anyone who has done this, they know better and will shut you down. Other than the rare possibility that you can boast, this is a grueling and annoying part of life. No matter which house I am in, I need things that are at the other location. Every time. No matter what. But it builds character and lets you see what you really need and what you own that could be thrown away and you probably wouldn’t miss it. Eventually, you’ll have it all here and you won’t throw away a thing, so don’t worry.
It is a good idea to make several lists containing all of the things you think you might need the most, so you can bring that first. Most of the things you need the most will actually be going back and forth with you, because you can’t go without it. You will feel like you are on a fairly repetitive, tedious road trip as you travel to and from your new home to and from your old home. Maybe this won’t apply to most of you because you actually drive and own a car, unlike me, and so aren’t depending on rides. Maybe you will even rent a U-Haul or hire movers like you’re a real adult. Show off.
Step Two: Clean
After you have your precious utilities turned on, you will have water for mopping and electricity for vacuuming, so get to work immediately! Clean until your fingers crack and bleed. Clean until your spine cracks and bleeds. Clean until your nasal cavity and lungs are stripped of protective lining. Knees will be a thing of the past as you kneel on tile and scour until the grout gleams and all traces of the germs and (shudder) hairs of the former tenants are removed forever and ever. Clean so thoroughly that Joan Crawford’s ghost appears above you and can’t tell you that you’ve missed a spot, so she nods in approval and evaporates. Clean in ways that you didn’t know you knew how and begin to think that maybe you should seek therapy, but at least you will be able to relax eventually some day.
I don’t think I have ever cleaned as much as I have this past week. I’ve been dusting ceilings and washing walls in preparation for ultimately soaking them in bleach and then painting them with hospital-grade antiseptic wall paint (matte finish, thank you). Carpeting has been vacuumed every day, sometimes repeatedly, sprinkled with scented powders and vacuumed again. Hearth tiles have been scrubbed for what must be the first time in their 120 years of existence, and oh how they have been scrubbed. At the end of every day, I take a pre-bedtime shower in the gleaming bathroom and feel like I am also finally clean, clean enough to deserve to sleep. And then I step out and feel dust particles land on my skin and know that I must do it all over again the next day.
Step Three: Bring in the Pets!
Part of the cleaning frenzy is because I know that this is the only time the house will feel nice, because once there are animals living indoors with me, it will never feel clean again! Dander and shed fur will be unmanageable and I will never be fully happy, but at least I have their companionship. I guess. Living with pets is a rewarding experience because you can feel good knowing that you have accepted the responsibility of caring for these little buddies for their full life spans and kept them from cluttering up the kill shelter system, or have prevented a strain on the ecosystem by preventing strays. Good for you. Good for everyone.
Your friend animals will probably act like fools at first, so prepare the house with little beds and kibble bowls and things. They will be stressed during the travel because for all they know, you are going to abandon them in a field, or take them to the veterinarian’s office. But soon they will settle in and show you all of the new ways they can destroy original woodwork and antiques that you had hoped to decorate with.
Step Four: Perform Exorcism
Now I am not saying that Judy the Ghost is unwelcome, or even that ghosts exist, but IF they do, I sure don’t want to be haunted! This is a big house and it is very old, old enough to harbor Victorian Ghosts, which are the ghostiest ghosts out there. Fortunately, I have recently discovered through the power of my imagination and having time to idly think, that ghosts don’t actually exist. What we see and think are ghosts are actually manifestations conjured by the houses themselves (or graveyards, spooky old bridges and roads, and other “haunted” places). Places do this in an effort to scare us away, in the same way that skunks will posture threateningly, or how cats will fluff up in an effort to appear larger.
What you want to do is to soothe your new house’s concerns. Hug its walls and doorframes. Whisper to it that you love it and wish to take care of it. Ask it to please, please like you. You shouldn’t be too proud to beg when a haunting is at stake! The bonus side effect to all of these pleas for friendship is that the house will hold itself together better and need fewer repairs. You will become the kind of buds where one lives inside the other. You can be a beneficial parasite! The goal of all.