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Monthly Archives: October 2015

SOLD!

We’ll be closing on our house this coming week and if that seems fast to you, consider how I feel!  The house market it apparently smoking hot because we had three offers within three days of putting the house on the market.  I’ve always maintained that when the time is right, things will fall into place.  Let me tell you…  This has only strengthened that belief.

Everything is going so well, CC and I are both slightly dazed, but that hasn’t stopped us from snapping and snarling at each other.  The stress of getting everything together has been horrendous, but we knew it was going to be, so we’ve been really clear about not getting to upset about being short with each other.  That’s gone a long way towards keeping the peace.

Now let’s talk turkey.

We’ve hauled away four to five times the amount of stuff that we’re taking with us.  Good stuff.  Stuff that someone somewhere is going to be overjoyed to have.  When we started there was a horrible feeling of insecurity that went with getting rid of it all.  We’d put something on the pile to go with us because we couldn’t bear to part with it, but as the hours and possessions passed, we’d revisit the “going” pile and pull stuff out and shake out heads at ourselves.

Many of you might be thinking that we’re paring down to nothing, but that simply isn’t the case.  I’ll give you a good example.  I have a hand-crocheted wall hanging of my last name.  It’s beautiful!  I’m not taking it.  Why?  Because as beautiful as it is and as much as I appreciate the time and effort and thought that went into the making and giving of this gift, it is NOT my ‘style’.  I’m not in love with it.  I’ve kept it because I felt bad about throwing it out.  For someone else, it might be just the thing, but for me…  not so much.  CC and I discussed it and we concurred, that it just wasn’t our thing.  On the other hand, I have already packed up my seed collection and the baby doll that my grandmother made for me when I was a little thing.

The difference is love.  There is no point in having a bunch of stuff that you don’t really love cluttering up your life.  It weighs on your mind, even if you never consciously think about it.  I know because my load is lighter with every load we haul to the thrift store and each treasure that I unearth from the clutter.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Thoughts

 

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Someday has finally come!

CC and I have been saying for years that we were going to sale out and move back to the country where we belong, but we kept putting it off for this reason and that reason.  Lately, my health has become such that putting it off is no longer an option.  We have to get out of the rat race and move to a more laid back life.  We’ve had some concerns about uprooting BG, but in the end we don’t think it is really going to be a bad thing.  Let’s face it, we’ll all be much happier when she’s got more room to run around.  There is going to be some adjustment, but honestly there isn’t one of us that this move isn’t going to help.

We’ve put the house on the market and despite the fact that we’re in the process of sorting and packing, it will start being shown today.  I’m embarrassed for people to see it looking like it does, but who knew we had so much crap!  I mean, I knew we had a lot of stuff we didn’t need, but this is ridiculous.

I’ve found shoes that wouldn’t have fit BG last year and the worst part?  She never wore them!  They were in a box full of clothes that we were waiting for her to grow into.  We never even opened the box when any of it would fit her.  In our defense, she has a grandmother that sends several boxes of clothes every month.  Still no excuse.

 

We also have a lot of duplicates.  We have them because this one doesn’t do this very well, but it is great for this and so on.  For a laugh, I took a moment and looked at what a good one would cost that did all these things well.  I wasn’t laughing.  For the price I spent on all the cheap ones, I could have had one good one that did everything well.  I know exactly how it happens.  I see the price of the quality item and quell.  Instead, I buy the cheap one and when I get it home, I’m not happy with how it does this or that.  Then I go out and spend more money for one that says it fixing that problem.  The only problem with that is that is doesn’t do something else as well as the first one, so I wind up keeping both of them.  If I had just spent the money in the first place, I could have had one that did everything well.  I know, you know what I’m talking about.  I didn’t use an actual item in this example because there were too many of them.
The whole process would be too depressing, if it were not for the fact that getting rid of the crap is such a relief.  You literally feel like you’ve shed actual physical weight.  This feeling of relief made me realize that all those self-help and organization gurus are absolutely correct; having less is more freeing.

What this means for us moving forward boils down to several key points.

  1. Assess everything that we want to bring into the house for function and quality.
  2. Assess everything we have on a regular basis to see if it is still relevant to our lives.
  3. Change our mindset of more being better.  (Quality beats quantity.)

The thing that I’ve learned from this is that spring cleaning is not a joke.  It is important in this day and age to assess constantly.  We, as a society, live in houses that are so much bigger than what we really need that we accumulate stuff we don’t need.  Let me explain.  There are three of us and we’ve been living in (half of) a 1700 square foot house.  Half of that total is downstairs.  Do you know how much we actually used downstairs?  Two rooms; one was the laundry room and the other was filled with our books.  We’ve gotten rid of no less than three huge boxes of books just because we don’t read them, they aren’t that good, and we don’t want to move them.  That’s sad.  We’ve had those books for at least the three years we’ve lived here and we don’t even want them!

So let’s look at the math.  Assuming that the library and the laundry room take up half of the basement, that’s about 425 square feet.  Add that to the upstairs that we actually use and you come up with 1275 square feet.  That’s not that big of a house by American standards.  CC and I discussed it and what we came to realize is that if we had more land outside out house, we’d spend more time outside, which means you could probably shave even more off that number.

Smaller house – less money spent.  Less crap – less money spent.  Less money spent – less money needed.  Less money needed – more options for everything!  Think about it!  If you didn’t have to pay for all that crap that you really don’t use or want, would you still have to work as hard?  Would you be able to live on the income from the job that you’d really enjoy, but maybe doesn’t pay as much as you currently need?  Could you cut back to part-time?  How much (in money and other stuff) is your lifestyle costing you?  Do you really love it that much?

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in A Penny Saved, Thoughts

 

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Neater is Nicer

Displaying image2.JPGHave you ever noticed that your mind is clearer when your house is cleaner?  I have seen a direct correlation between the clutter level to the overall emotional vibe in our house.  I’ve also seen that when my daughter’s room is a mess, she doesn’t want to play in her room.  For that reason, I cleaned everything up, got rid of a bunch of toys that she’s outgrown, and organized everything else.  She now loves playing in her room.  Imagine that!

Now keep in mind, my daughter is three.  That means that she has the attention span of a knat.  Yeah, maybe not even that good some days.  That being said, with a little help in the direction category and some repetition, she is now reliably picking up her own toys and putting them away.  She’s a little unclear on my organizational pattern, but that’s okay because I haven’t stepped on a lego in weeks!

What’s more she seems to take pride in having done it.  I base this on the fact that she dances about the house crowing “I did it!  Mommy, I did it! Didn’t I?”

The added benefit is that she sees that her whole family is happier when the house is picked up.
Many people think that three is too little to be expected to help clean, but my daughter loves to help.  By letting her help, I’m instilling work ethic and good practices (i.e. clean up after yourself).  She holds the dust pan when I sweep, she helps water the houseplants and garden, and she even helps Displaying image4.JPGempty the dishwasher.  Will she still love it when she’s 13?  Probably not, but hopefully by then it will be a habit that she takes with her, her whole life, so that she never has to live in a pig sty like seems to be the image of college dorm life.

I say this as someone who was not taught this (with any consistency) as a child.  It’s a hard habit to learn as an adult.  I want to make my daughter’s life easier in the long run, so for now I will make it hard on myself by reminding her every night before bed to pick up and put away her toys.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Baby Genius

 

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