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5 weeks, start to finish - that's how long it took us to sell/donate/trash just about everything we've accumulated over the last 17 years.

Once we decided to sell, we had our lovely agent and her equally lovely inspector come to our house to walk through to tell us what they felt would be items to be addressed before it was listed. There were some minor repairs to be done to the structure and they gave us advice on what to keep for staging purposes but the rest could go.

It was a huge "To-Do" list. To be honest, it was really overwhelming to stand in our house and work out what to do with all these things. Opened closets were quickly closed again with a muttered "I'll deal with that later". The garage and office inspired us to look at each other helplessly and reach for the gin bottle. We both felt like we should have had a hoarders intervention. How did we accumulate so much STUFF? (In reality it felt far more dramatic than it really was - reading this one would think we're a pair of drunkards swilling perpetually from a gin bottle in the midst of towering piles of magazines, 37 cats and boxes of used band-aids and fingernail clippings. We're not really like that. Well. Not the hoarding part anyway.)

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time of course, so each night after work we chose a project we knew we could complete, and left the big stuff for the weekends. Our goal was to only keep items we couldn't replace and we needed to maintain a reasonable collection of clothes for work. Keeping irreplaceable things was the easy part. Culling clothing was more difficult and at the time we felt like we were really brutal with discarding items, but as it turns out we need another round of that. As we completed little projects we felt so motivated it was easy to keep the momentum going for the larger weekend ones. I won't lie, it was a lot of hard work. But we really came to enjoy it and the sense of accomplishment we felt as rooms slowly emptied and another trip to Goodwill was completed. Landscapers and painters tizzied up the outside as we worked inside and it all started coming together. When we had enough of the mess and chaos we'd go stay on our lovely clean boat to rest and get ready for another round.

Finally it was all done - the house was mostly empty, we'd moved onto the boat, we put some things in storage, windows and carpets and bathrooms were cleaned, it looked lovely - so much so we wondered why we were leaving after all! The listing went live at 10:00am on Friday and by 3:00pm we had our first offer. We were having an open house on the weekend and had decided to let Petrina do her job without us getting in her way and regroup Sunday night to see what happened.

And so we had a bit of a nail biting weekend. We'd gone from our wonderfully clean and spruced up house to our boat which was not the sanctuary of clean and tidy bliss it had been previously. We had stuff all over the place and we had to work out where to put it all now! It actually turned out to be more difficult than we originally thought - we really had to think about where we stored things - not much point in having the ketchup in a locker under a settee inside a plastic tub under the water heater while a strawberry stem remover is front and center in the pantry cupboard above the stove, right?

Sunday night we met up at the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner with Kelly and Petrina. We had 8 offers on our house. We were absolutely gobsmacked. Petrina said it had been really busy and lots of people had come through to look at it.

I have to say here that without Petrina's hard work and guidance, and Kelly's advice and help sourcing tradesmen for repairs, we wouldn't have had anywhere near the result we ended up with. They went above and beyond for us and we appreciate them both so much!

After much hand wringing and going back and forth and weighing pro's and con's we finally settled on a cash offer 26k over asking. We were thrilled of course. We closed 3 weeks later and that was it. 13 years, many wonderful friends, fun parties, crazy driveway BBQ's, wine at the mailbox, covert missions of various complexities and levels of danger and drunkenness, Sunday night "family" dinners - so many wonderful memories.

Now it's done. Chapter finished.

Time to start a new one.

Well...not until we find somewhere to put all this stuff...

Ugh...what a mess...

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