Monday, July 30, 2012

On cats and moving: Your cats are going to love home staging!

Maggie the cat sitting on boxes I have packed
Maggie finds a bed among the boxes.
Let's make one thing clear: When you're moving, your cats will love your realtor. Why? Because the things your realtor wants you to do will be the things your cat has wanted you to do all along.

Here's why. 

When you're preparing to sell your house in a tough market like this one, your realtors often encourage you to do something called "staging." In essence, you walk through your house and box up almost everything that has personal meaning to you.

That vase your grandmother gave you? Too personal.

That Asian lamp you bought at an antique store? Holds too much visual appeal.

If you do staging properly, your home looks a lot like a vast, vacant showroom that someone is camping in, not a home that anyone would actually choose to live in. And the corners of your home contain boxes of things you'll move months later, when you transfer ownership of your house. I hate packing, and leaving packed boxes around, but I also hate the idea of having the house on the market for months and months and months, so staging has been the name of the game here.

This seems to make Maggie the cat especially thrilled.

Maggie is a curious sort, and she's the first to investigate anything new. When we take items off the shelves in order to pack them, she's the first to give those items a sniff. When boxes are packed, she tries them out with her teeth, just to make sure they're solid. And Sunday, I found her sleeping on this pile of packed stuff in the sunporch. I guess she just can't help herself.

Packing with a curious cat like this holds some special dangers. In previous moves, Maggie has been packed inside of boxes for a few moments, when she crawled in and I hadn't noticed she was missing. She's also tipped over boxes of packing peanuts, and she's had her paw stuck to packing tape. It's entertaining, but it's also a gigantic hassle to keep moving her, scolding her and reassuring her when her antics make her frightened. However, I let her participate in the packing process as it seems to help her acclimate to the concept of moving. She can see that something is happening, and she is a part of this process, so the move might be less likely to frighten her.

At least this is what I tell myself as I remove her from the box I am packing, for the tenth time.