Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Compacting continues

*The only homeschool stuff we need for DAILY use. the rest is on bookshelves or in the shoe-holders*

We have found so many cute houses online now, I guess nobody wants to move in the fall--so awesome! Places that are 3 or 4 HUNDRED dollars less a month than where we are now, plus smaller newer home means smaller heat bills, which we simply MUST have.

I am doing all kinds of behind the scenes things to prepare to move, things that, even if we didn't move, are of great benefit to our home. I have been downsizing, downsizing, downsizing our clothes and books and toys, getting closer and closer to the goal of having very few things that are beloved and well taken care of, and that have a place where they go. Our linen closet, (which you used to need a hard hat just to risk opening), now looks like this:

There is only soap, towels, and a tupperware of ALL medicines we own. The towel pile is so small because our dryer is broken again and we have to hang them out to dry, but it rains everyday it seems and so my towels are wet wet wet. This pile was washed by my best friend--thank you!!!!!
I have plowed through our toy boxes, baskets, and bags and plucked out all of the good toys, the wooden toys, the complete sets of toys, the long lasting, high quality toys that we love and use, and have displayed them on some of our newly-bare bookshelves, in reach of the children, easy to clean up, and find.

I have gone through our homeschool stuff, and done this: only the curricula that we love and use, only paper and crayons, only the best of our manipulatives and tools are going to clutter up our lives. No more puzzles with missing pieces, no more 80% filled in preschool books from the grocery store from 1999, no more drawings smashed in with white paper, and a big huge outside-type garbage can sits right in the middle of the room now. I even nailed up some of those "shoe organizers" (5 bucks, wal-mart) right to the wall!
Each child has a drawer (not Charlie) for their notebooks and for their "WORK". this can be ongoing projects, special drawings, 1/2 done fingerknitting, etc. It is all there. I cannot see how any parent, even of pone child, let alone 4 homeschooled kids, could live with the constant "Mama!? Where's the Pikachu I drew in the car that one time? Where's my super bracelet I was working on? Where's my chart of the fruits we did? Where's my old list of ideas I did for my birthday party next year?..."

It is in your drawer, because hopefully you put it in there, my dearie, is what I say.

Stuff like super balls and mini yo-yo's and stickers and all other gumball machine types of things that children seem to accumulate even if you haven't yourself put a quarter into a gumball machine since the 1980's--this goes in their "special drawer" in the kids' lounge. Another cheap, cheap find at any store, but of course it could be anything, a cardboard box, anything!

I hope we can find a new smaller home quickly and can easily pick up these things and move. I hope this is the last house that we haul pounds of flim flam to, that's for sure. As I learn more and more about the decluttering movement, the simplicity movement, I am learning tons more and more about what it is that our family really wants and needs.

With lower house payment, lower bills, and me working, maybe we can get back to a place where we are the fun, on the go family that we used to be--with a tidy and simple home, and some actual money, we can have a savings account and go places like we used to almost daily--far away libraries, hands on museums, science centers, nature centers, visiting relatives and friends, --we are so broke right now that the gas and the food alone to do anything is prohibitive. It might sound really cute to say "pack a lunch!" and believe me, we do--but lunch for 5 or 6 people gets pretty tricky to pop into a stroller under-bag, and I think my husband works damn hard enough for me and/or him to get huge hot coffees when we leave the house with 4 little kids by 8 am on an outing, call me exorbitant, but I have spent all of my adult years bringing nasty burnt homemade coffee in leaky spilly "travel mugs" wherever I go, and it just sucks. (For some women its a Prada bag, I just want a fricking coffee from a drive thru, and I don't even want to think it over if I want large or Grande or whatever-- didn't I eat enough kroger macaroni all week to garner this expense?)

Some people want a huge home and to be broke all the time. We are done with that lifestyle. We would like to have a VERY modest home and to feel like we aren't going to die every time we get a flat tire or the kids need shoes. Living without credit cards is a blessing and one that we are very proud of, but it of course, makes the "paycheck to paycheck" a 100% reality, especially since my husband took about a 45% pay cut this past spring unannounced and for no reason.
Wish us luck!


Jill said...

We are a no-credit family too. Living within our means can be really difficult sometimes, but it's worth it to go without to not have that debt hanging over our heads. Sometimes I think life wuold be so much easier if we DID get a CC, but I KNOW we'd go way overboard and lose sight of what we really need vs. what we just WANT.

Kelley said...

Good for you, Joy. YOu are an inspiration. I love what you are doing with the decluttering and downsizing. I think I will go through and start doing the same. We have so much that we just don't use.

Trish said...

We got rid of our credit cards about 10 years ago -- LOVE IT! We do have a debit card - deducts from the checking acct - so we have the convenience of a card without the debt.

We're very slowly decluttering. You are going full speed ahead - how cool! I'm getting closer and closer to tackling our storage closet -- YIKES! I love the look of those bins and hanging organizers - so neat and organized! LOVE IT.

Good good luck!

Rixa said...

I am inspired! I wish I had a close friend nearby who could come help me get rid of things--you know, someone to say "Okay, you haven't worn that for how many years? Six? You really need to give it away. Really." Some clothes I have a strange attachment to--they are beautiful and stylish, but they just aren't me and thus I never wear them, but I can't justify parting with them either. Some things I have turned into outfits for my daughter, but others I can't really find a use for and it pains me to get rid of them. But I don't wear them! Ack!

I think that house size is less an issue than how the house is organized and how you live in it. What is grating about smallness is when there's too much stuff filling it up with nowhere to go. Hey, it's annoying even in a big old house! I hate having things lying out all over the place, and I also hate the mental energy it takes to figure out where to put them. So stuff sits and piles up.

The way houses are designed today are so inefficient. Yes, you might have X many thousands of square feet, but you still probably don't *live* in much of it. Most new houses, except for very very low-end ones, have two dining areas, two or three living/family room areas, etc. You really only need one of each. Why have a dining room and a breakfast room? Doesn't make sense! Just eat in dining area, have one set of tables and chairs, and there you go.

Michelle said...

I am continuing to follow your compacting to keep me inspired. I am convinced that if I had not accumulated all of this stuff to begin with, I wouldn't be in this 'mess'. We have started to do a something-must-leave-if-something-comes-in mode. Which means, that I can't step foot into Goodwill or other thrift shops without bringing a donation or Freecycling some karma for myself...
So when I look around and say, "Oh, we need that..." even if it to help declutter or organize, I decide right then what can go in its place and put it aside for a day. If I still feel after a day that I can live without it, it goes!
Will continue to follow. Thanks for all the inspiration.
I too need a friend who will come in and say, "Get rid of it!" Most of my friends will give me a thousand reasons why I need to keep something..aye.

marybeth said...

i hear ya.

smaller, simpler= really is better on the soul. we are a credit card-less family as well...living from paycheck to paycheck...but it keeps you honest and creative. granted when the car breaks down, it sucks, but it always works out. Somehow the Universe always provides.