August 29, 2012

25 Things About Books

1. I love to read.

2. I think my reading obsession started with the American girl books I got for Christmas in the third grade.

3. I can remember getting a few books for a gift as a child and having them all read by the end of Christmas day, forsaking all my other gifts.

4. If a book is good, I will stay awake until I finish it. Then I may have to start the first few chapters of a new book so I have something to look forward to and don't grieve over the loss as I sleep.

5. My favorite book of all time is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card ... for now.

6. I also really love my Bible.

7. I recently sold my library of books in trying to simplify my life. I haven't looked back. A few favorites are still around.

8. I never have overdue books at the library because I go at least once a week ... or more.

9. I found the Stephanie Plum books after seeing the movie One for the Money. I read all 18 main titles and all the between-the-numbers books in less than 3 weeks. They were really good and I would even wake my husband up laughing at them in the middle of the night. I have a fictitious crush on Ranger.

10. I love young adult fiction and children's fiction. As a former teacher, it was really easy to check books out of the school library. They are easy reading and fun.

11. I love "inspirational romance." My favorite christian book author is Lori Wick, but I read Robin Jones Gunn books all through my teenage years and she has a special place in my heart.

12. I also love Historical Fiction. Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice was my best friend's favorite book and she defeated cancer by heading on to heaven, so P&P is very important to me.

13. I like Science Fiction in most forms. I can handle aliens, zombies, and crazy abilities. Did I mention Ender's Game is my favorite book?

14. I love Fantasy. I would have been an elf had they been real. Eragon is one of my favorite books and it made the cut in my book purge.

15.I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I read Hunger Games and moved onto this list of 25 books to read if you love the Hunger Games. I've read 11 off this list so far and really loved Divergent and Matched. (I had already read City of Ember when it came out years ago, and it made the cut in my book purge.)

16. I don't like non-fiction. I have read a few that I loved, but not many. Most of those were Christian books or teachering books.

17. I don't dog ear my books and I get upset when a book is returned to me with creases.

18. My brother can read a paperback without bending the spine at all. I don't like to borrow his books because no matter how hard I try, I can't return them in the same condition. He says he understands and that I am not as good at reading books as he is.

19. I love that my library can get you any book from any library in the state. I have only run across two books that were not available in any way. The library system is a great thing.

20. When I my kids go to school, I would like to get a Media Specialist degree and be a librarian.

21. My daughter's favorite book is Purplelicious or The Gruffalo.

22. My son's favorite book is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

23. My husband loves to read about Mythology. He just finished the Percy Jackson series even though I gave it to him for Christmas several years ago.

24. The last book I read was Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick.

25. The book I am reading now is The Plot Thickens by a bunch of Mystery Writers. It's all short stories and I thought it would be a good way to introduce me to some new authors.

Any new book suggestions for me?

August 28, 2012

Wishing for Tiny Living

At the beginning of this year, our family started a quest toward a tiny life. We wanted a small house or apartment, simple living, and easier life. But, as usual, life got in the way. We own two houses. One of them was occupied and yet not bringing in money. When we got the house back, we realized that the work to get it rent-able or sell-able would be more than we could do in a short time, so we moved into it and rented out the house we had been living in. After being here for a few months and working to make it home (or even livable), it's time to decide if we want this to be our home for a while or time to get it ready to sell/rent again.

current home - 2000 sq ft

dream home - 874 sq ft

My dream of wanting a tiny home is still heavy in my thoughts and dreams, but getting there is not easy. My parents live nearby and have a few acres of land. If we built a tiny house there, we could save money on land and possibly live there with them while we build. But the problem with that is what to do with the house when we are ready to move on. I do have four brothers who could all live there and or rent it from us when we are ready to move.

We are not ready for total tiny living (no desire what-so-ever to compost a toilet!!!), so we would need to live on the grid. Also, there are ways around the housing codes, but living within the law is very important to us. So, where we live, we would have to own the land in order for us to get financing or my dad would have to get the financing and just let us "rent-to-own" from him. Getting family involved in finances is what got us back into our rental, and while I trust my dad more than most people on this earth, it's just a poor business plan.

Another option would be to move to an apartment. Unfortunately, there are no good options in good school zones and that is important for the coming school year.

The house we live in now is in a good school zone and has enough room for us to live. It is not a step toward tiny, but we are still trying to live simply and better. Who knows where we will end up.

While there are a lot of things still up in the air, knowing that God loves me wherever I live is enough for now. He is my provider and I trust Him with our lives. =)

August 4, 2012

Sometimes you just need a nudge in the right direction

I read a lot of blogs. I should create a blogroll and share all the awesome blogs I read, however, this blog is slow going and I am okay with that.

Today, I was going through my RSS feed and came across this post from The Year of Less. It is writing like this that reminds me what we set out to do. It reminds me that when I look at all I have and still want, I am not being a good steward of all God has blessed me with. 

Moving into our current home made me want to decorate the mess out of it to make up for all the things I don't like about it. However, decorating leads me to buying and spending. But, I want simple. I want less. How do you make a house into a beautiful home without filling it with stuff? I am trying to work through that right now. 

Thanks to Luke & Kelly for their actions and writing them down for us all to be inspired by.

July 31, 2012

Old Shutter Project

My parents had these old shutter doors in their basement.


It's really a rather sad story. When I was five, my parents bought land to build a house on it. They didn't have much money, but had huge dreams for their family of 6. They started building our house and quickly ran out of money. We lived in a partially finished house for many years. Two of the bedrooms in the house had odd shaped closets. The doors had to be custom ordered. When they came in, the numbers had been entered wrong and the doors were sideways! It was quite a blow to the budget to begin with and then to have to pay for them twice!! Let's just say - I was without closet doors for many years of my life (Now I would know to hang a curtain or get creative with something, but sadly there was not pinterest back then!)

I have been thinking about those 8 shutters down in the basement ever since I saw this on pinterest.

I took off two of the doors and the hardware turning them into closet doors . They are being painstakingly painted right now. (Any tips on painting shutters???? Anyone?)


After much consideration, I am going to use the shutters on this wall of my house.

It is at the end of a hallway right next to the kitchen. Stay tuned to see how the project comes out!

July 27, 2012

Update on Life's Adventures

For the past two months, our life has been a mess hectic. We had this awesome plan to switch houses. We owned two and were renting out our starter home. To save a little money we moved back to our starter home and are now renting out our 2nd home.


This was a great plan on paper. It has been a huge adjustment though. When we came to take possession of the home back from the tenants we were in for a huge surprise. All the painstaking work we had done to our first home was rendered pointless. The care that we put into any home we live in is not the same as what others do. Here are a before and after of one of the rooms we worked so hard on. It still mostly looks like this, but the grout on the floor was a much deeper shade of black beige and there is a large amount of finger nail polish on one of the walls!




When we were renters, it was like we owned the place. We kept it clean, we didn't break things, if something did break we fixed it or called the landlord to fix it (based on what kind of landlord we had at the time). We didn't just let the sink leak for who knows how long and let mold build up in the kitchen cabinets that now have to be replaced!!!! (Not to mention all the bleach in the world cannot make me store anything down there until the cabinets are replaced!)

However, we persevered and cleaned our little hearts out. We bleached all the tile and grout in the main living space, scrubbed the walls, had the carpets cleaned, fixed the ceiling fans and lights, and moved in. ALL WITHIN ONE WEEKEND! (I took some pictures, but they were on my phone and it died before I got them off.)


We have been here now for about 2 months and the house is starting to look like a home. The kids have huge bedrooms and stairs to help everyone get their exercise. We live much closer to where we play and our church.

A few things we don't like are the longer commute for Chad and the lack of a garage. Oh, and the ants! It's a fun game we play around here almost everyday... where are those little guys today? In the van, the kitchen, the bathroom, in the van again, coming in the front door, the back door, the side door? And bug spray that says it lasts for up to four weeks really needs to put more emphasis on the UP TO part!


However much this post sounds like complaining, I am really happy to be here in our old home. It is slowly becoming our new home and I am having a great time planning projects to make it better.

The only problem is, it's not very tiny. I started out this blog to document our progression as a family from living large to living tiny. I have a feeling we are headed for a blog of family and adventure more than tiny. Stay tuned to find out!


May 30, 2012

Moving!

Our adventure continues! We are moving. Unfortunately, it is not to a tiny house. Boo. However, it is a step (back) in the right direction.

Background - We have two houses. When we were young and stupid (okay - a little over three years ago!) we bought our new house without selling our old one. We have rented it since then to family. The mortgage there is a bit cheaper than the one in the house we bought and have been living in since September of 2008. So, we are switching! We are moving back into our less expensive house and out of our can-pay-for-itself more expensive house.

(house we are moving to)
There are huge pros to moving back:

  • Closer to my family, friends, and church (savings on gas!)
  • Huge backyard
  • Less expensive
  • Closer to "town"
  • Large workshop (could be turned into a tiny house!!!)
  • Good school system (if we stay for more than a year when Emma Grace will start school)
  • Really close to the gym and pool
There are some major cons:
  • Farther drive for Chad to work
  • Yard maintenance
  • Farther from Chad's mom and sister
  • No garage
  • Older house = more fixing things
  • Children's rooms upstairs
All in all, I am sure this is a good move for us. With all the purging we have done, we have a lot less to move. It will be great for the kids to not have an extra 15 minutes in the car almost everywhere we go. 

Although this house is not a tiny one, it is smaller - by about 200 square feet! Okay, from 2100 to 1900 is really not down-sizing, but we do plan on getting this one ready to sell and finding something smaller soon!

Or you can see in the picture that workshop peeking around from the back - it's 20 x 20. Perfect size for our first tiny house! If only is was 24 x 24 to meet code for this county. =( 


May 22, 2012

To drink or not to drink...milk

Family Post!

My daughter Emma Grace is two and a half. She never really has liked milk. She drank toddler formula for almost a year after her first birthday. Even after that, getting her to drink milk was not easy.

My son Elliott is 16 months. He has not taken to milk either. We just took him off toddler formula recently.

A few changes have found their way to my house in the past few weeks. Lisa over at The Pennington Point has done a series on intentionally parenting your toddler. It has really helped me with parenting!

One way is to tell my children what to do and expect them to do it. Like drink their milk! Now, every morning, I give them a cup of milk and they have to drink it before they can have anything different to drink. I am sure some moms will think of this as common sense, but it hasn't been for me - until now. AND they drink it. They have no problem drinking it. It's like drinking milk has not been a struggle for the past two years.

Then, this past weekend I had a girls weekend with my college roommates. My roommate, Marlaina, just moved back from Tanzania, Africa. She had to pasteurize her own milk. Then she added a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make it taste good. I tried this with my kids and they both drank TWO cups of milk yesterday! The vanilla adds flavor, but no sugar or HFCS!

Did your little ones take to milk right away?

May 21, 2012

Sentimentals

I don't have a strong attachment to stuff. I did when I was little. I kept everything thinking I might have a use for it one day. It's a trait I learned from my oh-so-crafty Grandma. She kept every lid, jar, button, bead, piece of paper, card, or anything else and usually made things with the stuff she kept. When she passed away the task of cleaning out her house fell to my dad. It was mountains of things that could have been used for something ... but  it never was.

It really changed how I looked at "stuff." I can't keep things because I love the person who gave it to me. I can't keep things because it will hurt some one's feelings. I can't keep things just to have things! I have to do what is best for me and my family. Having things that don't have me is what is in my best interest.

That is very easy to type... but getting rid of your "stuff" is not easy! I have managed to make a huge dent in our huge amount of sentimental things.

We were able to purge all of my husbands trophies! Yay!!!

We got rid of furniture that some one who loves me gave to me, but it was way more important to them than it was to me. (It was a hope chest - I hope my relatives never have to find out!)

We have talked about getting rid of the piano - but that is a whole other post entirely, believe me!

I went through all the things I had planned to scrapbook back before I had kids. I kept most of the things and got rid of the scrapbooking supplies. I can see how you might say that I didn't get rid of the sentimental stuff, so why am I mentioning it... Okay, I agree. But I was able to put together a plan to get rid of the clutter - I am going to throw it all in a box and deal with it later! However, it must be a rather small box and I am limiting it to just that box. So I am getting rid of some of it! Yay, me!


(These are not my scrapbooking supplies. If it had been, I might have kept it - look how organized this all is!  However, these supplies and this picture belong to Scrapworthy Lives.)


We are keeping all our scrapbooks that I have already made.




We are getting rid of our school yearbooks, except for our senior years. However, some of the pages from the other yearbooks will go into the scrapbook box.



Wedding presents. People give out the most interesting conglomeration of stuff! I kept most everything - until now. I like fancy ... but I like it at my mom's house on her table with all her table cloths and china and other elegant serving pieces. I don't need my own set. It's just not where my life is right now. Holding onto all that just so I can one day use it seems like a waste of space to me now. Nothing is really that nice or expensive. It is all easily replaceable. I love the people who gave it all to me, but that is not a good enough reason to keep it.

However, I am keeping my china! It's just something I am not ready to part with. It is beautiful and I don't really have all that much. It fits in five small boxes and I know when we ever do get into a tiny house, my mother will gladly hold onto it for me. (She really don't understand all this down-sizing!) (Isn't it pretty!)

The things I am not ready to part with are: 

Whatever is in those boxes of "sentimental stuff" in the top of the craft closet (I'll get to it, it's just not top of my list right now)

Formal dresses, old Air Force uniforms, and sentimental clothes - I want my kids to have these to play with. I wore a bridesmaids dress of my mom's on a weekly basis to dance around the house in. I want my kids to have that if they are interested. And, I want to be able to pull out a few pieces of clothes to say look what I wore back then. It's not much, but it's still important to me right now.

Baby things. I haven't kept much. It's really just a few outfits from each child (some that are soooo tiny! I can't believe they were ever that little!!).

Clothes that belonged to my best friend from High School that her husband so graciously gave me after she was healed of cancer in heaven. I haven't kept everything, but I have kept somethings that are not practical for me to wear, but she loved, and so I need to keep them for now.

Diplomas and other framed certificates. I don't think it is practical to think we will make wall space for these in our tiny house, so they don't need to be framed and take up so much room, but I am not ready to disassemble them yet. If I had an office, I would take them to work.




Our initial plan for sentimental things was to keep only what would fit into my husband's foot locker. We aren't there yet, but we'll get there.

If you could only keep sentimental things that would fit in a foot locker - what would you keep?





May 9, 2012

Family

So far I have only posted about our adventure. I have been negligent in writing about my family. Here is my sweet happy family:
Emma Grace is my sweet two and a half year old. She is way too smart for her own good and, as she will tell you, her favorite colors are pink and purple. She is mostly a carbon copy of me, except for the smarts and that she got directly from her dad. She will only wear dresses and loves shoes. She will change her shoes every few minutes and beg to sleep in them. God made her as girly as they come!

Elliott is my handsome little 16 month old. He loves his mommy and she (me!) couldn't be happier about it. He is just starting to talk even though he learned months ago. When he wants something, he can say it. When you want him to say something, you are completely out of luck. He is into everything and can break into anything that is "child-safe." God made him all boy!

Chad is my wonderful, brilliant husband. We have been married for over 7 and a half years and I can hardly remember life without him ... just a little joke - we met when I was five (see below for full story). He is a computer scientist by education, but a communications guy currently. He has great integrity. I thank God for choosing him for me.

My name is Jenni and I get to spend every day at home with my family. I went to school to be a teacher and did that for one year before becoming a flight attendant. Being a waitress in the sky was a means to an end with my end being my marriage to Chad. After we were married, I spent some time as a receptionist before returning to teaching. I taught elementary school at four different schools over 6 years and loved it. Now I love teaching my two precious children.

Chad and I lived down the street from each other growing up and he was my older brother's best friend. Later, we were in the same youth group at church and then in high school together. We went our separate ways in college, but saw each other on holidays. Then, after graduation, I took him to the airport two hours away on my way to a job interview. We made plans to get together when he got back from the wedding he was headed to. We did and we've been together ever since.

The most important part of our family is our heavenly father. We serve the Lord the best we can. We love our church and our community of believers. We believe in Jesus and that He is the way, the truth, and the life. If you want to know more, let me know. I can talk about my relationship with God as long as anyone will let me.

So, that's my family. Thanks for getting to know us!

May 3, 2012

The Bed Fiasco

Somethings that we got rid of /are getting rid of are things we use but are too large for our future space. One of these things was our king-sized bed. We had a great mattress that was only about a year old and a great bedroom set that we really liked. However, all that is replaceable and would not fit into a smaller home.

Our bedroom set, including our mattress, was the first thing we sold. We planned on using our queen sized air mattress as our bed until we could get a new bed. Haha! The best laid plans...

After only three nights of sleeping on the airbed, we woke up on the floor with some plastic and no air beneath us. Waking up on the floor when you went to sleep on a bed is not fun.

Enter my little brother's old full size mattress. My parents kindly let us borrow a spare mattress from their house. We do not have a truck, so we didn't bring the whole bed, just the mattress, stuffed into the van above our children's car seats and heads. So, for about a month, we slept in a full size mattress on the floor.

That experience was a great eye-opener for us. We had planned on buying a queen bed to replace our king. However, after being forced to sleep on the full, we found that we had plenty of room and liked the coziness. Having a full will give us more floor space in whatever house we choose.

We are really happy in our little full size bed. We have even spent one night in it with a sick two-year-old between us! Now, we just need to get some bed linens that fit it!!

Could you sleep in a full bed? Do you now?

May 2, 2012

Furniture We Kept

In my post, Purging Furniture, I told how we decided what would go:
We really want to move to a smaller, less expensive living arrangement. We are not sure where or what that will be, so we picked a really small apartment that we know of to use as a reference. If we were to move there, or somewhere similar, what furniture that we have would fit? What do we have that works for a small space? What doesn't? What do we have that we really don't love? Do we use it? Can we use it for something else?
Those same questions apply to what would stay. Here's what we kept:

Our couch - It's actually rather large, but very comfortable. It holds our whole family comfortably and it works for extra sleeping arrangements when we have company.

Our daughter's dresser - It was my dresser. I received it as a gift from my parents when I graduated with my Master's. My husband spent months refinishing it when I was pregnant with my daughter. It is big and holds so much. It could be used in almost any room of our new home, so it's a keeper.

Our son's crib - He uses it every night and most days, too. We didn't keep our daughter's crib, but we did keep her mattress and she now uses it in her toddler bed.

Our glider rocker - I love to rock. I know that I will be able to find a home for it easily if it doesn't fit in our new home, but I still need it when my children need to be held.

A small granite topped table - We call it the marble table, but I think the top is actually granite. It was my grandmothers and I love it. It is small and could work as a desk or prep surface in a kitchen.

4 wooden folding dinning chairs - We use these with our really large rustic table because the benches are not  safe for my children. They are still in boosters and you can't attach those to the bench. Also, spending any more time than eating takes on a bench does not a back make happy.

ALL of our Ikea Expedit bookcases! We have a few of these. Okay, we have five. One really big one, one not so big one, and three smaller ones. These are quite versatile pieces. They can be used in any room and even to make one room into two. Our largest one may end up on the chopping block due mainly to size.

The big one (5 x 5) is in our living room and holds our books. Since purging our books we only have 9 of the cubes with books in them. If lined up, they would fill less than that. The bottom row of cubes holds baskets of what was in our filling cabinet and some other odds and ends that need further purging.

The not so big one (4 x 4) is currently our dresser. It has eight baskets that hold our folding clothes and the top cubes hold our alarm clock, baby monitors, and my jewelry. The bottom four cubes are empty.

The three smaller ones (2 x 4) are used as our entertainment center, my son's dresser/toy shelf, and a buffet-like surface in our dinning room. We have baskets in most of these and use those baskets to store a lot of random things that still need to be gone through.


We have since bought some items to replace what we sold, mostly because what we needed was smaller.

What furniture would you keep if you were down to bare essentials?

May 1, 2012

Purging Furniture

Drawback to purging furniture: Most all the stuff we had fit into the furniture we had or the storage spaces in our house. Getting rid of most of our furniture revealed the clutter. If you don't have the furniture to put your stuff in, all you have left is clutter.

What we did: we really want to move to a smaller, less expensive living arrangement. We are not sure where or what that will be, so we picked a really small apartment that we know of to use as a reference. If we were to move there, or somewhere similar, what furniture that we have would fit? What do we have that works for a small space? What doesn't? What do we have that we really don't love? Do we use it? Can we use it for something else?

We used all these questions and more to decide what would stay and what would go. Here's a a partial list of what we purged and why.




China Cabinet - I LOVED my china cabinet. I love my china (that's another post)! It's a large cabinet and my favorite part was that the doors slid to the side to open instead of swinging out. It was beautiful and served a great purpose. It held all my entertaining items, seasonal serving pieces, china and crystal. However, since purchasing the cabinet to go in our current home, I have used my china ... get ready for it ... twice! Both times on Mother's Day.








King Size Bedroom Furniture - This may be self-explanatory, but it is just too big. In our current home, a king size bed fits well. Anything else looks rather small in the room. (I know this to be true now that we have our full size bed in there.) Any small house we live in will hold a full size. We would be hard pressed to find a small house that will hold our king sized furniture. We had the bed, two nightstands, a chest and a dresser. It was pretty though. It was the first thing to sell and sold to the first buyer who looked at it. (Kinda makes me wish we had asked a little more for it!)




We also sold my son's bedroom furniture. It was a really nice set. It had bunk beds, a dresser, and a desk. It had been my husband's as a child. It was a really difficult decision to get rid of it. We decided to let it go because we were keeping it for sentimental reasons and not because we needed or liked it. (The liked it part is all mine, I hated the drawer pulls. They were carved out of the wood and it would not have been easy to change them - and they were child sized, so getting your hand in them wasn't easy! Whoever made that decision should have been sacked!)

(The only good picture I had of the furniture was the desk, empty and sitting in our foyer - when we were trying to sell it.)







Church pew - I loved this piece. It was my sister and brother-in-law's. She got it when they split and it lived in storage for a few years. I rescued it and it has made my foyer welcoming ever since. She requested that we sell it, so we did. (I sold it on Craigslist to a man who has been hunting for one for years. The great story he told me makes me happy enough to not grieve it's leaving.)





Other things we purged: bar stools, desk, file cabinet with hutch, large grill, patio furniture, chairs, dinning chairs, crib, shelves, and more.

Things we still need to purge: huge rustic dinning table and antique player piano. Our table is still in use right now. We have tried to sell it, but since we are using it, we haven't tried really hard. The piano deserves a post all of it's own. (I'll get right on that.)

Thanks for reading. Have you purged your large items?

April 3, 2012

happy with less (pic)

Love this!


The First and Easiest Purge... Books

We love to read and with that comes a love of books. I love to hold a book in my hand, see them on a bookshelf, buy them, smell them, find new friends in them, and visit old friends in them. I even suffer from book lust, bookcase lust, and library lust (mostly from the beast of Beauty and the Beast). However, having a large quantity of physical books does not fit into our plan.

We have three large bookcases that we filled (mostly two-deep) with books. I had a large collection of every book I had ever bought and my husband had a collection very similar in size. Then, we got married and bought each other books for almost every holiday and anytime we could build up our reward points enough to send us a gift card to a book store. We had a lot of books.

So, we got rid of them ... all ... well, almost. We did keep anything that we loved and would read again or haven't read and plan to in the next year.

I have a kindle. I can fill my insatiable need to read using that. I have two library systems nearby. If I can't get it on my kindle, chances are, I can get it at the library (or from the library on my kindle). I can borrow books from my friends. And if all else fails... I can buy something again if I really can't do without.

Mostly, this was a choice to rid our home of things that we didn't want to introduce our children to. I really enjoyed all the Harry Potter books, however, I read them in college and after. I knew who I was and what I believed. I was not going to be influenced by them to take up spell casting or lose sight of who I am in Christ. I was able to see them as fiction. Children should have a healthy dose of fantasy and I plan to make sure my kids are well versed. However, I will be selective on what we keep in our home.

Books we did keep - Leather bound classics, a select few hardback favorites, my favorite Christian chic-lit, the quilting books from my grandmother that she wrote her name in, anything that we hadn't read but plan to read this year and then sell. That last part only pertains to Chad, because I can't find a book I haven't read in our house. We also kept almost all our children's books. I want my kids to be readers!

Every book we have now fits on one bookcase and can be moved easily. Also, I am not buying any new books anytime soon, unless they are on my Kindle. We will follow the one in one out rule from now on. So, Chad needs to get to reading those books we kept for him!

If you had to keep only ten books, what would you choose?


March 30, 2012

The Big Purge Plan

Almost all our superfluous stuff is gone but there is still more to go... here's how we are doing it.

Our plan was to sell as much as we could and donate or trash the rest. We had a huge yard sale, sold things on Craigslist, took some to a second hand store, sold some on Ebay, and gave some away.

We have a great second hand bookstore here and we took most of our books there for cash and credit. As we are readers and book lovers, we had a lot to sell.

The consignment store we used for clothes is a chain and not my favorite. However, I do like to buy clothes for my kids there, so having a credit there is nice.

We sold most of the big furniture items on craigslist before our yard sale. That was the most profitable venture of our purge, because we had some really large pieces we are getting rid of.

Everything else we sold at our yard sale. We had a joint sale with my parents and best friends. We didn't have it at our house because our neighborhood HOA doesn't allow them. However, we are blessed with great friends and who have great friends. Their previous landlord let us have our sell at his house that our friends had just vacated. We were able to take our items to the house over a few weeks and store them there until the big day. The house had a huge yard and was on a very busy highway. It was really a great location to have a sale. We had a two day sale, Friday and Saturday. Then a local church came and picked up the leftovers for their upcoming sale.

We had some really nice entertaining items that are worth a lot more than they would have gone for at a yard sale, so we hired an Ebay consignor. I could have done it, but since I don't have a working camera (hence the lack of pictures on my blog) and I have no experience, I hired it out. Sometimes time is worth more than money.

We had some items that were needed by family and friends. We ended up giving away most of our baby items. Some of our family just had a surprise fourth blessing to their family and it was really nice to be able to share our baby things with them.

Lastly, we are going to donate, recycle, or trash anything else.

We still have some more to purge, but not enough to have another yard sale. I may try to sell some of it on Craigslist, but mostly it will end up at the local charity.

Are you purging? How did you get rid of your clutter?

February 27, 2012

The Adventure Begins...

Living with less is very appealing. We are starting an new adventure to do just that.

Our need for this adventure, started ten years ago:

My husband, Chad, and I met when we were young kids and started dating many years later after we graduated from college. We dated for two years in which we lived in separate states. We both accumulated a house full of furniture and other stuff. When we married and joined our lives and our stuff, we got rid of very little and added so much more in the way of wedding presents and things we thought we needed.

After accumulating for a few more years, we bought a new house and moved all the things we thought we needed and left behind the things we didn't want any more. We then had a yard sale to try and get rid of all the things we left behind. It was our first attempt at purging. It was a great yard sale, we just didn't sell nearly enough stuff to have made a dent in our accumulation. We had only been married 4 years, but had so much stuff that after moving into a larger house we still had to rent a storage unit.

Fast forward 3 and a half more years, add two children and all the stuff that comes with them, and it is time to either move to a bigger house or rent additional storage for all our stuff. Just thinking about all this stuff makes me want to get up and get rid of it all!

So now you know the need for the adventure, let me tell you the thoughts behind it:

Neither Chad nor I grew up with much money. Both of our fathers worked hard and provided for all our basic needs, but there was hardly ever excess. Our mothers worked hard to make that money stretch and cover so much. So when we were making our own money and building our own households, we rushed to achieve what our parents had worked for all their lives. We could have been trying to make up for what we thought we missed out on, who knows... my psychology skills are severely lacking. We were DINKs (Double-Income No Kids) for five years. We spent all that money on anything and everything. It was stupid of us not to start small and save, but stupid we were. We jumped into accumulating as much as we could as fast as we could (not once, but twice! - another story). Looking back at those first five years of our marriage makes me a little sick to my stomach to think of all we wasted.

Now, we feel called to simplify our lives and do away with the accumulation of stuff. We want to spend less time taking care stuff, organizing stuff, cleaning up stuff, and buying stuff, and instead focus on family, what we can do for others, and how we can best serve our loving God.

We feel that to accomplish simple living, we need to purge and declutter, down-size, and change the way we think and live our lives. We want life to be about experiences, not how much stuff we have or when we can get more. We want to enjoy the journey of life, not wait for it to start... when we have more money, or when we have more stuff, or the right stuff. We want to take the time now to enjoy our sweet children, enjoy each other, enjoy serving God, and all this world He created for us has to offer.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Luke 12:34 

Thanks for reading about our new adventure. This is only the beginning!

- Jenni