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Selling a house is more interesting with a toddler around

By Stephanie Johnson

The Bulletin

If selling a house isn’t already extremely stressful, add on top of that a possible recession, a real estate bubble popping with changing times and a toddler running around wild, trashing the place every time I get it clean.

My husband accepted a new job offer, and it’s just a little too far to commute. I didn’t think we would be moving again, because our last move was pretty recent, and I didn’t want to ever do it again.

We’ve sold a house before; it sold within a weekend when the market wasn’t as hot as it is now. We had no issues, except for our move, but that’s another story. We also didn’t have a toddler throwing balls everywhere at the time, either, so it was a lot easier.

We survived Covid in this home and the big freeze. We converted a guest room into a baby’s room and brought a beautiful baby boy into this home. We’ve made beautiful memories in this home. That makes it even more special to us, because of those memories.

It’s only four years old, but after a drive-through baby shower, a first and second birthday party, multiple surprise parties for family and friends, and play dates where best friends were made, it feels like a lifetime of memories here.

But, it’s time to sell. It’s time to move to the next step in the adventure we call life. We put our dream starter home on the market and started getting ready for showings and open houses. We ended up packing boxes and boxes of toys up early so that we could walk through our living room.

All of those toys ended up getting thrown in the garage. That was our garbage dump. Haven’t played with it in a week? Garage! Taking up too much space? Garage! Makes annoying noises? Garage!

A simple and easy solution was the garage. It was magical. Until we no longer could put the car in the garage, then it was time to rearrange things.

The house was finally clean and ready for showings. Our toddler was at school, and as soon as he came home, he realized he didn’t have certain toys. We were the ones in trouble. He wanted a certain toy, and we couldn’t find it anywhere.

We ended up going to the store and buying a new one; it was the easiest solution at the time. Crisis averted! When we’re home, he wants more toys out of the garage, so we are bringing those out for him to play with at times.

The next day, we have a showing, and I have to pick up all the toys and put them back in the garage, wipe down all the countertops, vacuum, mop, you know, make it look like no one lives here when really we have an entire zoo here.

Showing after showing, open house after open house, it’s the same routine. We have had about 20 showings and six open houses. I’ve been doing the same cleaning and routine this entire time, and I think I have officially gone crazy.

As I was immaculately cleaning for each showing, my toddler started grabbing his play broom and vacuum, and he started following me around the house, copying me.

He grabbed a rag and spray and started cleaning his play kitchen. It was the cutest thing ever. He was following his mom around, helping her to clean. He didn’t care or need any toys, he just wanted to do whatever mom was doing.

I learned a life lesson from selling this house, as exhausting as it has been. My toddler just wants to do whatever I’m doing, and I should make sure to include him in my daily activities.

My life has become a lot easier, and he is learning great life lessons as well.

House SOLD - toys can stay where they are!

(You can reach Stephanie at Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)


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