We’ve Moved!

A lot has changed since I last wrote a personal update. We actually did something drastic and not at all what we had thought we had in store for our future – but we couldn’t be happier!

In January we met with our old realtor and he said if we wanted to sell our house we needed to completely finish the remodel and get it listed ASAP. DH wanted a second opinion, so he brought in his business partner’s realtor and met with him. They hit it off really well and we decided to go with him! He’s really awesome.

Anyway, he agreed we needed to get the remodel done as soon as possible. So we made a plan with timelines and deadlines and worked hard. DH work HARD hard. So hard.

In the mean time, we were not certain what we wanted to DO after we sold our house. Our dream has been to have a mini farm. But we couldn’t find land reasonably priced in our area (one of the most expensive areas in our state for land prices!). We thought maybe we would rent until we found what we wanted. But DH wasn’t comfortable with that idea – it’s essentially throwing away money every month that could be put toward a mortgage.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I suggested maybe we look into buying a condo or townhouse. It’s the absolute opposite of what we wanted – no land, close neighbors, no yard, etc… but it had the advantages of: being less expensive, yard work is taken care of for us, we can be in the location we want, equity is built really fast in our desired location, etc. So we looked more into that!

It was kind of on a whim, and kinda spur of the moment… but we decided to go that route! We toured a few condos (one of which had the vibrational energy of a mad house, eeek!) and found one we loved. And we bought it!

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Our condo is so lovely. It’s the top floor unit above all the garages. That’s our balcany. The two windows on the right are the bedrooms and the two on the left are the living space. Our garage is the last on the right.

It’s a little under 1,000 square feet. Our house was 1,800 square feet. We had some major downsizing to do!

We had been working on that for years, really, as I have discussed before. But it was time to get serious about it! We sold A LOT. We made A LOT of Goodwill trips. We made several trips to the dump. We made over $2,000 selling our furniture, electronics (TVs included!), and other miscellaneous stuff. It was liberating and freeing!

So we packed and got rid of stuff and worked on the old house. We moved in March into our condo and we have loved it so much. It’s so bright and airy inside. Our old house was so dark all the time, even in the middle of summer! The remodel helped with that, but it’s nothing like our condo. It’s quiet and safe here. I can walk down the street without being afraid. I am mere minutes away from my friends, now! We get together so much more often and it has been so wonderful for me and Bunkers!

Here are some more pictures from the real estate listing:

Main living space!

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Other side of the main living space.

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Entry. It’s on the second floor, so the stairs down go to the entry way and the front door.

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Kitchen. Red. Why? ALL the condos we looked at had blood red kitchens. Bizarre.

It is two bedrooms and 1 bath and I couldn’t be happier with the amount of space. We have two beds in the smaller bedroom for us all to sleep and the large bedroom (master) is the office and craft room. It works out great!

Here are some pictures with our belongings:

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Still a lot of organizing going on, but our furniture fits so nicely!

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I love this dining space so much. So. Much. Light.

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Need I say more?!

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Our porch!

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Looking out the front windows.

We are still working on pairing down our possessions. We currently have a storage unit with power tools, camping stuff, etc. Our garage is still full of boxes. I wonder what if any of that we still need? Obviously the camping stuff we will keep, but maybe we can sell the power tools? Rebuy them when/if we need them rather than paying rent on a storage unit just in case we do? It’s a tough call.

I feel so much motivation to continue our work downsizing, though. It’s our goal to be rid of the storage unit by fall. We really needed it in the beginning because we had to empty the old house to do the remodel and we didn’t have the condo yet. But now I want to see it gone.

My life seems to have a pattern of tossing at me things I like to call ‘everything I never knew I wanted’. I would have never seen us in a condo, especially since our dreams were facing the other direction. I felt the same about massage school. Up until six months before I started I had never, ever considered doing massage as a career. But it was perfect for me and I loved every second of massage school and my massage career. It is my goal to jump back into that in the future, but I will leave the when/how up to The Universe. Anyhow, it’s been the same with the condo. We just love it. Who knew?!

I will end it here by saying that our old house remodel was finished a month later than we had wanted. But that ended up being a blessing in disguise and the market exploded in that area and we got almost $40,000 more for our house than we had hoped we could get. And it sold in four days. A true blessing! Our realtor is amazing!

Warlmy.

Christina

The Decluttering Continues…

I have talked about minimalism and reducing ‘stuff’ on a few different occasions, and while I wouldn’t say we were ‘hoarders’ by any stretch before, it’s been a real wake up call the last few weeks around here. I read Organized Simplicity a couple years ago and have been slowly decluttering and minimizing since then. It was such a lightbulb moment for me. It was like a switch was flipped. I looked around and thought, “Oh. my. goodness. Why do I even HAVE all this stuff?!” I looked around and saw junk that we had moved TWICE and it was still just hanging around in boxes and it had honestly never occurred to me  before to just get rid of it.

So over the last two years I have gone through stuff and donated carload after carload to Goodwill (donated about 10 Volvo wagon loads in 2012/2013) and even had a FREE garage sale to get stuff gone. It felt great, but there was still a lot of stuff around… Stuff I thought I honestly needed.

Fast forward to now and we are selling our current house (the one in which we have been renovating) which is 2,000 sqft, three bed, living room AND family room AND full size den/playroom and two car garage. WAY too much space for our family of three. We are moving to a more desirable neighborhood (which is more central to my AP mama and baby group; currently we are the furthest south memeber and it’s quite a commute to playdates and such) and we want to downsize our finances, too, so we are buying a condo that is 950 sq ft : two bed one bath, open living area with a 15×20 living/dining open concept. I am SO excited! I can’t wait to say that we fit ourselves and our stuff in a two bed condo!

So, I feel like there has been a shift. I’m no longer getting rid of stuff because it’s just this useless junk I’ve lugged around – I am now getting rid of things that I once felt were useful and needed. But now that I have to downsize so much, I am trying to think how things can be multi purpose.

Example: In current house I have a craft room in the den. It consisted of

  • a full size desk with hutch for the sewing machines and storage of patterns, notions, books, etc.
  • cutting table with olfa mat
  • expedit bookshelf with boxes of misc craft supplies (jewelry making, knitting, doll making, clay stuff, painting, drawing, etc – a box for each craft)
  • two plastic bin drawer things of fabric
  • two cardboard boxes of fabric

That is SO much stuff!

Meanwhile, in the office I have a large antique teachers desk (a lot like this: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572520171350212779/) that has my desktop computer and all of my office supplies in it (which I have already gone through). In the new condo we will be putting a desk shelf in the second bedroom closet for the office (so we can close the closet doors and keep the media out of sight when we want) and so my desk will be free for another use! I will be using it as both my cutting surface and where I will sit to sew and whatnot.

So I got rid of:

  • the sewing desk
  • the cutting table
  • the bookshelf

I also got rid of a bunch of the craft stuff I wasn’t using. The emotional rent on hanging on to a jewelry making kit when I don’t even wear jewelry wasn’t worth it to me. If, in the future, I ever want to do jewelry making I can just rebuy the stuff as it’s not very expensive. I don’t want to store it anymore, though. I want to really go through my fabric, too, and downsize there as well. That is much harder for me, though. Something to work on.

Anyway, this was long winded – but my point is that this push into a space that’s less than half the size of what we are in now has brought me to a whole new level of decluttering, minimizing and just general reducing our amount of STUFF and it’s AWESOME. I love it!

I’ve gotten rid of another several Volvo wagons full as well as we have done three runs to the dump, too (recalled crib, broken plastic compost barrel, broken yard supplies, old yucky dog beds, old cat box, etc – honestly stuff that couldn’t be recycled or donated. It’s really eye opening, though, and will make me think twice about stuff we buy in the future).

Plus, we’ve sold a ton of stuff on Craigslist and have made $1,500 in the last two weeks, so that doesn’t suck, either! :thumb

The Story of STUFF

I just watched this fabulous short documentary about STUFF and it was incredibly eye opening and inspiring me.

We’ve been making it a point to reduce our consumption of stuff and to minimize the amount we have, but the truth is that we still buy things and we still go to the store. I mean, almost everyone does, and it really is a reality of our society until some major changes happen.

However, in the last few years (since we’ve been on our natural living journey) we have really made some changes in our buying habits. I will freely admit that I am influenced by culture and that I do still really like the shop. I think it’s the ‘gathering’ of our age. I honestly believe that we, as women, are driven to gather for our families, and in this age that includes shopping. And we quite literally have to shop. For most of us that involves grocery shopping, clothes shopping, shopping for consumables (cleaning products, hygene products, consumables for our homes or cars, school supplies, etc), shopping for gifts, shopping for gadgets, computers, cars, even houses.

The changes we have implemented are:

1. Buy less. This is the biggest one, and the hardest. Self explanatory, but defining what is a critical need and a want/non-critical need is the first hurdle.

2. Buy quality. Instead of, as the documentary mentions, buying things that have ‘planned obsolescence’, when you have a critical need for something, buy a high quality version of that item instead of a cheap one. Buying locally made and manufactured products by small businesses makes a big impact, as well. Vote with your dollar! An example for us – we bought a water filter this year. Instead of buying a cheap, plastic filter with throw away cartridges, we bought a Berkey filter made of stainless steel and with filters that last for years (or longer!).  Another example is our mattress (except that wasn’t exactly a ‘critical need’ – we did have a mattress, it just was a plastic one).

3. Buy used. I buy nearly all my clothes at Goodwill. I buy R’s clothes there, too! I buy shoes, canning jars, kitchen utensils, gifts, and supplies for my Etsy shop. So much can be bought at thrift or charity shops – and most help a great cause, too.  A lot of our furniture has been scored on Craigslist! And a lot of stuff has been sold, there, too! A great way to get ‘rid’ of stuff without having to send it to the landfill or cart it to Goodwill! And you make money out of the deal.

4. Recycle, upcycle, reuse. Husband gets a hole in his t-shirt? Fabulous! Cut it up for kitchen rags. Cat chewed off a corner of your favorite wool sweater? Excellent! Make baby pants! Got a shipment from Amazon? Score! Make the kids a play house with the box and save the packing paper for coloring or tracing sewing patterns. Everything can have alternate uses if you try to find them!

5. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Age old saying from the great depression. Use up your craft stash before you buy (or source!) more. Wear you clothes until they have holes. Keep your current desk even if it doesn’t go with your ‘decor’. Do you really need to buy a new cell phone every year? Probably not.

I was astonished to hear her say in the documentary that only 1% of STUFF is still being used 6 months after purchase. That’s astonishing to me! We live in such a throw away culture.

I encourage you to watch this 20 minute documentary and see where in your life you can stop the cycle of STUFF.

They have several more documentaries and I plan to watch them, too.

Five Months

I can hardly believe it has been five months since I’ve posted here!

I feel like so much has happened in those five months! Where do I begin?

We redid our kitchen! That was exciting! I’ll make a post with pictures in the future.

We laid a bunch of hardwood upstairs! That was also exciting!

We got most of the painting and trim work done upstairs! Also exciting!

We sold our tent trailer. Partially sad, but nice to have the money for our remodel.

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WP_20130723_022We went camping twice (in a tent!) and it was lots of fun.  After having a tent trailer for a summer (last summer) and camping half a dozen times in it, I can honestly say that I enjoy tent camping much more. As long as you’re not in the rain. But, then I’m not a super fan of camping in pouring rain!

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Eco-friendly baby with his reusable shopping bag! And a haircut 😉

R has been a non-stop talking toddler! We counted out how many words he knows and it’s close to 300. But, probably more. He’s like a little sponge, this one. He picks up so much. He can count to ten, too. Like, whaaa? He’s been doing that about two months, now. I didn’t know 21 month olds knew how to count?! Amazing. He knows a whole host of shapes and colors, too. All this and I haven’t actively taught him a thing. I think he’s just a natural born learner!

It is me and B’s 5th wedding anniversary this week! I can hardly believe it’s been that long. The time just FLIES. Every year I get older, the years just sail on by that much faster. It’s almost fall already!

R will be 2 next month and B’s parents are flying in from Wisconsin to celebrate with us! I am so excited! R is going to LOOOOVE having them here even more than he has in the past! He spoke to his Wisconsin grandma on Skype just this afternoon. He was showing her all kinds of things all over the house. It was too cute.

We are flying to Wisconsin for Christmas this year. I’m both excited and nervous. I’m quite terrified of flying with a toddler! Pre-baby, I was that person on the plane (not so kindly) asking the poor exasperated parent to make their kid quit kicking me in the back of seat and rolling my eyes and getting huffy when a baby was crying. Ooops. I know how they feel, now, and I just don’t want to be ‘that parent’. Our garden is doing quite well!

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Caesar Salad! YUM! Garden fresh romaine and home-made dressing!

In garden news, we’ve had LOTS of zucchini to eat, which has been fabulous. Plenty of romaine, some kale, and a bit of broccoli. Our squash seems to be coming right along (and climbing right OUT of their beds! We packed them in there too tightly!) and the tomatoes are even doing well enough! The one plant I bought from the farmer’s market is doing the best, but there are four that I started from seed that are doing decent! We may even get a ripe fruit off of one! We’ll see.

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I’ve started canning again for the season! I’ve got… 4 half pints raspberry jam, 4 half pints vanilla blueberry jam, 12 4 oz jars of low seed raspberry jam and 10 4 oz jars of cardamom blueberry jam. The cardamom blueberry jam is DIVINE!! I may do a post on that… I made up the recipe myself. 🙂

I think that’s mostly all we’ve got going on here. I will try to post more often! I get so very little free time and when I do have it I need to do chores! Ha.

Springy!

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We have been enjoying sunny spring days outside in the last few weeks. We’ve been playing outside a lot and working on the garden. We got the garden beds all built and dirt put in them. The seedlings are doing great and will be planted out this week. I also planted some cute floral boxes for the porch. I love seeing those pops of color every time I walk by!

I’m really looking forward to summer, where we can spend all day outside and have the baby pool full of cool water to play in, just like we did last year.

Luna the dog had to have surgery to repair a fully torn ACL. She tore it running around the yard. Silly girl. She’s recovering quite well, though. She got her staples out last week and should get her cone off in a day or two. She’s still three legged, but hopefully she’ll start using that leg, soon. Poor girl.

Resolutions and Goals

I *love* making New Year’s resolutions. A new year feels so new and fresh and a clean slate emerges. I need that kind of thing from time to time (once a year for a nice big one is great!).

This year our goals are:

  • Finish our home renovations (this is upstairs only). This includes:
    • New Flooring (whole house)
    • Painting (whole house – interrior)
    • Trim (whole house)
    • New guest bath
    • New mater bath (X)
    • New kitchen
  • Sticking to our GAPS diet. We are doing Intro for the month of January, and then full GAPS.
  • Simplifying more. Getting rid of more stuff weighing us down. Not trying to do too much.
  • Less TV and computer time. We watch very little TV, but the computer can really suck us in. And none before bed.
  • Spend more time outside, even when the weather isn’t great.
  • Keep up with our bedtime routine, but don’t get bent out of shape if it doesn’t go according to plan. I need to work on this.
  • Keep reading the books on my ‘To-Read’ list. Currently reading Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.
  • Keep up with blogging. Wednesday Yarn Along, Friday {this moment} and Gratitude*Sunday.
  • Work on patience. As always!
  • Continue to de-plasticify our lives.
  • Eat as much local food as possible.
  • Start a garden.

What are your goals for 2013?

 

Just Around the Corner

We’re just around the corner from another new year! I can hardly believe it. I feel like the years just go by faster and faster the older I get!

I’ve been a busy bee this last month. Lots of making happening in my craft room! Mostly for my Etsy shop. I’ve had quite a few orders in the last few weeks! It’s very exciting. I’ve got a whole lot of new items to post this weekend. I don’t have enough daylight hours after B is home to take pictures, so although I have some items ready to post I don’t have any pictures! I’ll get it all done this weekend, though.

I will have plenty of new wool baby pants and hats to post, as well as more holiday gift bags. I’m also working on some needle felting crafts and may get one posted this weekend, too!

Next weekend we will be leaving for Oregon for a couple days to celebrate Christmas with family. We’re planning to celebrate Yule here at home on Friday and open our gifts then seems how we’ll be gone for Christmas. I like the idea of celebrating Yule, too! It’s very wintery.

If any of my readers are Mothering.com members… could you do me a favor? I’ve entered the Mothering.com holiday craft contest and I’d really appreciate your votes! The winner will get a $100 gift card to Nature’s Fabrics! How perfect is that? I’ve been really wanting to get more organic cotton into my work. You can find the contest here: MDC Annual Handmade Gift Ideas. My posts are numbers 6 and 15 (baby pants and gluten free cleansing grains). Just click the thumb’s up at the bottom of my post and hit ‘add to reputation’. Thank you!!

How about you? Any crafting going on?