111. Random thoughts about cleaning carpets and getting a house ready to sell

I know this blog is supposed to be about the cottage…but we haven’t been spending much time there of late. We’ve been trying to plant the sign in the yard of the city house. And until you sell a house, I don’t think anyone has a clue how much Time, Intensity, Money, and Energy is expended on a house that you are leaving…

It is emotionally (and financially) draining. Unless, of course, the house you live in is perfect, in which case you just sign on with the realtor, la di da. No worries about

    that imperfect room you just lived with,
    the plumber who never gave you the inspection paperwork for the new sewer system he put in,
    the basement ceiling tile that looks moldy and might be made of asbestos tile, (thankfully, it isn’t!)
    the tree in the backyard that you hope doesn’t fall on the power lines while you’re waiting for the tree guy to show up, or
    all Mr.H.C’s junk — never mind about mine; it isn’t junk.

Lately I’ve been cleaning up and painting my old sewing room in the city house.

It was just my sewing room, crafting room, storage room, so the coordinating yellow country wallpaper put over masonite (probably in the seventies) uh, you know, didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care about the fluorescent light in the ceiling; it was good for working. The faded teal carpet didn’t matter either. Bleach spills? Paint stains? No matter.

Apparently it will matter to potential buyers.

So I was tasked with turning it into a charming little attic bedroom for a child. Or a garret for an angst-filled teenaged poet. Or another sewing room for a mom who just wants some time alone in a freshly cleaned and painted space.

I used oil-based primer over the wallpaper, and then painted the whole room creamy white. I guess it will be up to the new owner to give it personality with color. I couldn’t imagine that the carpet would clean up, but I rented an R2D2-look-alike carpet cleaner and used my new favorite product to clean the carpet. It looks good, which is also good for the pocketbook.

attic bedroom

And the wonderful new product? Folex.

Sister Nancy told me about it several years ago when she was regularly cleaning up after a new puppy. I’ve had a bottle forever, because it goes a long way, unless you are pouring it into R2D2…

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I Love The Stuff! It is a miracle cleaner. Non-toxic, no smell, rub it in with your fingers if you want, and watch the stain on your carpet disappear! It’s amazing. It actually works better this way, than it does diluted in the rug machine. I did go around the entire edge of the carpet with my spray bottle and a rag. The edge of the carpet, which was black, is now bluish green again. (Folex has not paid me for this blog — they don’t even know I exist.) Although I should probably write them — in the past three weeks I’ve bought six bottles. It costs $5.78 at Home Depot.IMG_4466

That’s $34.68 + $30 to rent the carpet cleaner. I also cleaned the carpet in the master bedroom as well, and we couldn’t have bought new carpet for two bedrooms for $64. And believe me, that was a worry!

And just to prove to you, it isn’t a fluke, here is the downstairs rug that I spot-cleaned:

And now, I have to go tear down moldy ceiling tiles in the basement and secretly throw away some of Mr. H.C’s junk  in the bottom of a new garbage bag. Anyone want a vintage cigarette holder/music box that Uncle John brought back from London?
vintage cigarette holder music box

No summer vacation here until the sign is in the yard.for sale sign

13 thoughts on “111. Random thoughts about cleaning carpets and getting a house ready to sell

  1. I love FOLEX! We use it all the time on our white carpet, and it still looks great! It’s some of the most amazing stuff we have ever found, and we have been using it for years! It’s an amazing product…can’t even begin to imagine what our carpet would look like without it! It’s gone through 3 grandkids now (actually still going through), and it still looks great :)

    Hang in there on all of your projects – I know that it gets old and tedious after awhile, sometimes, it doesn’t even take awhile, but it will be SO worth it when the task is done, and the sign is in the yard. I hope everything goes well, and quick, so you can move into that charming little cottage :)


    • Oh thank you. Sigh. I know everyone says it, but here’s a repeat: fix it up and spruce it up Before you move. Then you can enjoy it for awhile!
      I’m so glad you love Folex too it should be on everyone’s Miracle Cleaner List. :-)


  2. I’ll be thinking about you as you go through this part of the journey. Our house is NEARLY sold after more than a year (and a close call with a tornado!). We will close in the next couple of months. They new people are renting for a few months until the bank comes through with their loan (more and more hoops through which people must jump nowadays, apparently). We are thankful. The cleaning, pitching, sorting, packing was horrendous as was the actual leave-taking. I believe my mourning is over and I’m so thankful for the many blessings our move has brought to our family.


    • Oh, a year… Sigh. We have had serious trouble with renters saying they would buy with Mr. H.C.’s former house. I really hope that doesn’t happen with this one.
      I’m glad you are done with your mourning — it was very hard for me to read your leave-taking posts.
      And yes, horrendous is the right word!


  3. I have never heard of Folex, but will certainly try it based on your recommendation. I had a box of ramen leftovers spill in the front passenger seat of my car today. Though I scrubbed it, I’m worried it isn’t really gone! I’ve also been pointedly ignoring a couple of spots I believe are “cat-related” (probably “erp” as we so delicately call it around here.” Good job on the room makeover! We, too, had rooms that we “put up with” including a bathroom that we endured for 17 years (then suddenly had to “fix” for potential home buyers). Sigh.


    • We have painted every room except the hallway, redid the upstairs bath, and attic bedroom. And now we have to do the basement office/rec room — a ghastly seventies paneled room that Mr. H.C. just used as his office. Ack! (We bought it just like it was; I guess no one does that anymore!) The June 1st deadline just keeps getting pushed back…So was your 17 year bath remodel beautiful?


  4. Not really, no! It was functional, inexpensive and “good enough.” It was also all we could manage in the few weeks we had. Fortunately (or not, as the case may be) my husband is “handy” or at least thinks he is — so he did nearly all the work himself. I will see if we have a photo of the “after.” We didn’t think to take many “befores.” I seem to be in a very “quote happy” mood today. Worse than usual. ;)


  5. I do believe my mourning is over, but I still miss people and places there deeply and unexpectedly. I’m slowly making new friends and connections here. I’m very excited to be starting the school year soon, back in the classroom as a music teacher! (I did a long-term sub job this spring for a maternity leave. The teacher decided to resign after her leave, so they offered me the job! I happily accepted and am very excited for the opportunity.)


    • And so you are getting ready for school now!
      I have to say, I’m not going back this year and I’m very glad to not be in the “back to school mode” this August. I’m sure I will miss it and the kids, but right now I’m breathing easy. :-)


    • Since we are selling the house, I will say that it is very nice to take rooms that were a liability and make them pretty. It makes me happy for the next person. I just wish we’d done it sooner. (Everyone who ever sells a house says that! So it must be true!)


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