Nightmare Before Christmas - De-Staging in the Snow

Home Stager with Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging

It's always great to get that call - the house sold and we need to schedule the de-staging.  This was especially satisfying as the house had been on the market for 7 months without a sale (see this link to my Blog posting) and received an offer only 6 weeks after staging.  The owners were going to let the staging go after only one month, but fortunately opted to keep it for just one more.  That was all it took!  We were scheduled to de-stage on 12/22 although the house was closing on 12/31/08.

Did I mention we live in Oregon and had no idea the worst weather conditions and snow storm since 1950 was approaching?  Of course, how were we to know?

Portland Oregon Snow

We then got an update that the escrow was being pushed sooner to 12/24/08 which made this about a 3 week escrow.  At this point there was still no real concern.  Then we got hammered and hammered with snow.  Snowed in on 12/19, 12/20, 12/21.  I called the agent to let him know our truck was snowed in and the roads were not safe to navigate.  He let me know the new owners were moving in on Christmas Eve (picking jaw off ground) and if the staging wasn't removed the house couldn't close!  Okay then!

We couldn't go anywhere on Monday, 12/22, but the weather was supposed to get a bit better on Tuesday, and worse case scenario we could de-stage on Wednesday morning, the day of the closing.  Well, mother nature did not feel like cooperating! Since our truck was completely snowed in, we wanted to do what we could, so we thought we could rent a truck to get the furnishings. 

Portland Oregon Snow

Our Truck snowed in!

Plan A - I called U-Haul and asked if they had chains for their trucks - they said no, but we could rent it anyway.  Seemed odd, but we were willing to try.  We carefullly navigated to U-Haul - 20 minutes to go 3 miles.  As we pulled into the driveway I got a call from them saying - "did we mention that you have to provide your own chains in order to take the truck off the lot?"  Well - no - and now we're here.   Darn U-Haul call centers!!!

Plan B - Go to our warehouse where they also rent trucks.  1 hour drive to go 7 miles to the warehouse.  We hadn't been here since the storm and wondered why the main phone line wasn't being answered.  It was more than obvious when we pulled up - the entire property was snowed in with about 1 1/2 feet of snow throughout the whole facility.  So now, even if we somehow managed to get our furnishings - we had no where to bring them.  Good thing we didn't hide any Christmas presents there as there was absolutely no access.  As a side note - Oregon is just not prepared for this type of weather.  There must be 4 plows for the entire city so almost nothing is plowed.

Plan C - After now driving around for over 1 1/2 hours and seeing cars and trucks spinning and stuck in snow everywhere - we realized this was a terrible idea.  We would not be driving a truck anywhere.  So I called the agent and let him know he had two options - everything had to stay in the house - or we would be willing to drive to the property in our CR-V and de-stage everything into the garage.  That was it.  We got a call back 1/2 hour later and the buyers were agreeable.  So we had to load 10 bins, pillow bags, shovel (for snow), swiffer, moving pads, and tool kit into our CR-V so we could get it done.

Portland Oregon Snow

Our snowy road on the way to de-staging

The property was 25 miles away which would normally be a 30 minute drive - pretty average for the area we cover.  Not on December 23!  2 hours to get to the house - but we made it and the snow wasn't as bad in this neighborhood.  We only had to shovel the front step so we could get the couch and two large chairs out the front door.  Everything else made it through the garage door.

We left everything at the property except our art as it can't be stored in freezing temperatures and we navigated our way back home in the dark - which was what we wanted to avoid.  3 hours to get home with a stop for dinner.

We hope to go pick up our furniture and decor early next week once it is safe to travel and our truck is unburied.

Just when you think you've seen it all something like this happens - this was another one of those things that seems to happen to stagers.  There was no reason to be angry or frustrated - just go with the flow.  We were proud that our staging sold the house.  We were happy for the sellers that they got ther money on Christmas Eve.  We were excited for the first time home buyers that they could move in before Christmas.  We were thrilled that we made it home in one piece. 

This is the season of giving and receiving.  No matter your specific job - if you are part of Active Rain you are most likely a service provider.  Be thankful for the career you have - for the people you can help - for the friends that you meet - and the life that is provided by all of that.  It's a wonderful time of year and we wish you a happy and warm holiday season.


Let Synergy Staging make your property irresistible.  Please call us at (503) 557-2244 for a free no obligation quote.

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Comments (15)

Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

great time to move to Sunny Florida - Close to 80 degrees here in Orlando and It's almost January!!!

Dec 26, 2008 04:49 AM
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

Great pictures. I had never really considered a de staging nightmare. I figured hey it is sold so great full stop . Interesting post thanks

Dec 26, 2008 05:02 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

David ~ wow that was quite an adventure!  You and Nik are much braver than I might have been ... I didn't venture out at all but fortunately one of my de-stagings asked me to keep everything in place for 2 more weeks.  You're so right that we have much to be thankful for and I wish you all the best for 2009.

Dec 26, 2008 07:13 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

WOW!  I was complaining this morning because it was 33 degrees and I had to scape ice off my car and windshield and Tuesday I was working in the rain.  Your photos are incredible and make me feel ashamed of myself.  My former assistant sent me beautiful photos of her home all snowed in-but my goodness-what a white out!!!!   May your New Year be blessed and very successful and SAFE!  

Dec 26, 2008 09:43 AM
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Now that is what I call dedication!  Glad you made it back home safely :-).

Dec 26, 2008 10:40 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

David: I was looking forward to this post after our phone call. Good grief, that was wild, but you got it done despite all factors being against you. The photos are great, and all the snow looks lovely from down here in Los Angeles. Believe it or not, my husband and I drove up into the mountains above Los Angeles today to play in the snow! Congratulations on the fast sale.

Dec 26, 2008 01:38 PM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

David this is a perfect "perseverance" story.  The strong prevail and overcome.  Congratulations to you and your partner for getting it done when needed!   Loved seeing the photos as I called your area home some time ago.

Dec 26, 2008 01:50 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Oh my, California here we come. You are amazing and a trouper.  Your clients are lucky to have you.

Dec 26, 2008 06:30 PM
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

David - You are amazing.  When the ice/snow first hit I said I wasn't staging at any price -- just wasn't worth it!  But what tenancity it took for you to destage!  The road to our warehouse was closed for several days - power lines and trees down.  I wanted a few days off, and boy did we get it -- but not this way!  Best wishes for a successfull 2009!

Dec 27, 2008 01:53 AM
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

What an interesting post, David-especially for those of us down south that do not experience the hazards of snow travel! Best wishes for a prosperous 2009!

Dec 27, 2008 09:54 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Richard ~ I lived in sunny CA for 26 years - it's nice to have 4 seasons up here in OR though.

Charlie ~ I hadn't considered it either.  There's always something new to discover in this business it seems!

Maureen ~ Thanks for the comments - nice that you got to keep your stuff out for a few more weeks until the weather passed.  Hope to see you sometime soon in the New Year!

Dec 30, 2008 03:20 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Cathy ~ We can always find something to complain about - but we must remember there is always someone in a worse situation.  It's why we tried to take this whole scenario with a grain of salt and just get it done.  Things could certainly be much worse!!!

Wanda ~ Thanks!  We were glad to make it home safely too.  Didn't leave the whole next day!

Michelle ~ Hope you had fun up in the snow.  Unfortunately we never got to enjoy or play in ours - it was too stormy.  There is no snow left and we got all our furnishings picked up yesterday!  Talk to you soon...

Ginger ~ So you were one of the few who moved from OR to CA instead of the other way around! =)  Thanks for the comments.

Dec 30, 2008 03:23 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Terrylynn ~ Thanks.  We'll always try to do whatever it takes - but even this one pushed the boundaries almost to the edge!

Margaret ~ Yeah - it's certainly not the best way to get a few days off when you are stuck in your home with no power.  Hope you made it through okay and are getting back to work.  See you at the RESA meeting!

Kathy ~ Glad you liked the post.  Best wishes to you as well for an abundant 2009!

Dec 30, 2008 03:26 AM
Lisa Roy
SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Yikes!!! Glad it all worked out in the end.  It was a great story to read :-)

Jan 29, 2009 01:18 PM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Lisa ~ Thanks for feedback.  It did all work out in the end =)

Jan 29, 2009 04:11 PM