The Pain of Culling
Years ago, I recall the only thing you had to do when selling your home was to tidy up and then allow the lingering smells of baked bread to waft from the kitchen. These days, tidying up has been replaced by ‘staging’. And to get my house ready for sale, a deep and painful process of culling had to proceed the staging.
I saw the look on my realtor’s face the first time she examined my house. It was the slightly pained look of disapproval, a look that intensified as she made her way to the second floor and saw the long hallway lined with book shelves, books spilling from every row. “This has to go“, she said. “The potential buyer has to imagine themselves in the space. Don’t make it difficult for them.”
With much trepidation and a short deadline, I rolled up my sleeves, and began to cull the ‘stuff’ in my life. Things I wanted to keep went straight into boxes destined for a rental storage locker; other items went to the garbage and other objects I marked for give-away. As I got into the swing of culling, a curious thing happened – I started to examine the things I had acquired over the years and to ask myself, “will I ever use it, read it, wear it or display it again?” Suddenly, what and how to cull became clear. I had to find good homes for my babies. Huge piles of gorgeous art and photography books quickly found a new home in Canterbury High School’s visual arts program; three Ottawa photographers dropped by to choose books related to their fields; clothes I had been clinging to for years were bagged and sent to St. Vincent de Paul, a local organization that provides merchandise at low prices to low-income families; office wear was earmarked for “Dress for Success”, an organization that offers suits and accessories to disadvantaged women returning to or entering the workforce.
Well, the culling ended and my home was beautifully staged. But I’m on a roll now. I’m on the hunt for the stuff of my childhood. This weekend, I’m going to take a deep breath, go down to the basement, throw open boxes, and release all my stuffed animals and dolls. Tears will be shed.