Snow Day

As I write this, we are socked in, like most of the mid Atlantic, by a major Nor’easter.  Philadelphia has ground to a halt.  The mayor has declared a state of emergency.   My family’s weekend forays to indoor tennis and soccer, the local camp fair, and a dinner party have all been cancelled.   We have 18 inches of snow, and those small flakes from the big storms of my New England childhood are still falling.  Did you know that big flakes mean the snow is ending?  That is what I remember being told anyway, 30 some years ago in Connecticut.   We spent our snowy mornings on a virtually vertical incline in the woods above two skating ponds about a quarter mile from our house.  The skating ponds had an island we could skate to, or canoe to in summer, and a pipe connecting the two that in droughts we could run through, yell in, and later hide in to sneak cigarettes.  But that is another story.

Snow today.   Snow conjures Currier & Ives images of country roads, and simpler times, and smoke rising in curls from a stone chimney.  Snow covers the untended gardens, blanketing us in cleanliness and simplicity.  Snow makes for coziness and nesting: Tomato soup, fires, and grilled cheese sandwiches, dogs curled up, kids playing board games.   Snow gives houses the opportunity to protect us and warm our hearts.  A good snow storm is a romantic time to turn inward, when going out into the world means reading the paper by the hearth,.

Really, you think?  Yes, all of the above is true.  But snow is also work.  Snow means shoveling,  and  puddles of muddy water melting under boots in the front hall, mittens drying on radiators, and kids pulling down all the coats in the closet to build a fort with the neighbor’s kids.  Breathe, I say to myself, just breathe and enjoy it.

And if you are on the market, snow means extra work.  You can use the snow to your advantage.  Houses look great in snow.  But.   The paths have to be shoveled— within an inch of their lives.  It usually kills any potential sale, when a potential buyer wipes out on your front porch.  Bushes need to be brushed off so they don’t look like they are being dragged to the ground, garages need to be swept of all the old mud that tires have brought in, and all those boots and snow pants, hats and gloves, need to be stowed like you have all the space in the world.

For more tips on how to sell your house in winter, check out Piper Nicole’s Minyanville article:  I am quoted.    Here are my two cents: 

Hide the Shovel (and the Salt)
Make sure walkways are cleared of snow and ice. Porches, driveways, decks, and garages should have easy access. “Don’t leave your shovel or salt near the front door. These items tell the buyer that they’ll have to work if they own your home,” said Starr Osborne, founder of Philadelphia’s premier home staging company, Tailored Transitions, and author of Home Staging that Works (Amacom, 2010).