Archive for the 'compacting' Category

Big family, small house Part I

How we moved from here:

to here:

And how we not only cut our living space in half, but our housing expenses as well.

Our old living room:

Our new living room:


Notice that we are now missing a nice big television (sold!) We owned three televisions and decided that one was enough. And size doesn’t really matter. We also got rid of most of our DVD collection. Since we don’t have cable, we kept some appropriate/favorite chidlren’s movies, and we held on to our very, very favorites. You know, the classics. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. American History X. Fight Club.

We’re also missing a couch. That one wasn’t by choice. It wouldn’t fit through the front door. It was hell on earth just to get the loveseat through. But we’ve found we don’t need it. And yes, that’s my dog lying on the loveseat. Am I sick or what?


One thing I really love about my new living room is the huge front window. I keep the blinds open all day long so I can look at the trees and the occasional sunshine.

Our old dining room:

Our new one:

On to my kitchen..

Yes kids, I have a washer and a dryer in my kitchen. And if anyone has any great ideas of what should be placed in that huge gaping hole where my DISHWASHER SHOULD BE, please let it be known. Honestly, the kitchen needs some work. I’d like to cut the “stuff” in here by 50% again. All the crap that has now been shoved to the tops of the cabinets…it’s gotta find a home.

Here are Rylan’s toys. Now, the child has more toys than shown here. Probably about 3x the amount here. But the remainder of the toys are stashed in a closet somewhere. Invisible clutter. Every month or so, I rotate the toys. This helps to keep him interested in his playthings. I also try to keep only one battery operated toy out at a time. And the blocks and legos…always a staple.

One of the biggest decluttering challenges of all, the bookcase.:

When we moved here, the entire bookshelf was crammed full of books. On top of that, we had at least a dozen boxes full of MORE books. We had books coming out our ears. Decisions had to made. Many of them very hard decisions. But in the end, it went like this: Keep the instruction and reference books that are used often. (Cookbooks, “how to manuals”, etc.) And then, keep a handful of favorites. Anything else can be checked out at the library. The next step in this corner of the room is to eliminate that giant leaning Tower of CD’s. All of the cases will go. The actual CD’s will be placed in a book. Maybe someday we can even get rid of that dinosaur of a boombox we have. How long have we had that thing? 95? God we’re old.

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Absolute Insanity

Things are crazy here. Absolutely positively fucking crazy.

In about an hour, I leave to go sign the lease and get the keys (!) to my new place. From that moment forward, the entire world starts going apeshit. The weekend is so jam-packed full of activity that I had to write out a detailed, complicated and intricate itinerary to refer back to every several hours. Otherwise I’d probably just stand around with a very confused/distressed look on my face. It really is a lot harder than you think to rent a truck, load it up from a storage unit, drive it a few hours north, unpack, return the truck, and get your new house in order whilst trying to wrangle in three little boys. Oh, and I forgot to mention–we’re having a New Year’s Eve party. Hah! Ha. Ha. Ha. I hope you’re amused, because my panic attack is already beginning to set in.

On a more exciting depressing note, we have sold our beautiful 36″ inch flat screen television for $250 and the sale of our 1 year old couch and loveseat is pending at a price of $700. It’s a strange thing, watching my posessions fly right out the window. Strange and quite scary but still…freeing. We’ll see how I feel when everything is gone. Except for the Dyson Animal. I didn’t pay $600 for the world’s greatest vacuum cleaner to sell it to someone who won’t love and cherish it the way that I have. There. My love affair with my vacuum is out there in the open. Call me a desperate housewife. Or anal retentive. Even OCD. But now you know.

More updates to follow.

The Compact

Only a few days left, and we will be hauling box after box and miserably heavy pieces of furniture from storage unit to diesel truck to new home. After which, we will be wading through mountains of posessions and tunneling out a path to the bathroom and kitchen.

In the last few weeks, I have come across a group of individuals now known as “compacters.” During 2006, they made a vow to buy NOTHING new. An article can be found here.

The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):

To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture and to support local businesses, farms, etc. — a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact.
To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er).
To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
We’ve agreed to follow two principles (see exceptions etc. on our blog).

#1 Don’t buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
#2 Borrow, barter, or buy used.

And so, ladies and gentleman, B and I have decided to join in the fun for 2007. Our personal reasons/goals for this decision are as follows:

1. To reduce clutter in our new home and to provide more living space, thus reducing chaos, uncleanliness, and stress.
This will be accomplished by selling or donating any items that we do not use regularly.

2. To save money and pay off debt. Our hope is that any profit made from selling off our posessions will make it possible to become debt free by 2008. Our refusal to buy new should also greatly minimize spending and allow us to continue to survive on one income.

3. To simplify our lives and allow us to focus more attention on our children. We have too many ‘things’ that take us away from quality family time (i.e. this computer!) We also have lost the ability to find pleasure in simplicity, and our hope is to reclaim this for ourselves and our boys.

4. To curb consumerism and commercialism in our children by refusing to hook up cable television, shopping new, and by doing what we can to “live green.” (Recycling, reusing, and by becoming ecologically responsible.)

I’ve been planning a second blog for the sole purpose of documenting our journey. However, my digital camera has bit the dust, and until I can find someone to fix it, or I can find a good used cam, the blogging plans have been put on hold.

Happy New Year everyone–and wish us luck!

Oh, and P.S: B’s also on a mission to quit smoking for yet another New Year’s resolution. Wish HIM even more luck!