Sunday, June 26, 2016

Buying ban

We decided that, in light of our goal to declutter our lives and the house, we will buy nothing we don't eat or use to clean until December aside from sweatshirts for the girls to wear on vacation, tennis shoes for me, work pants for my spouse if there's work to go with it (we all have zero pairs/fitting sweatshirts, respectively), and the repairs on my shoes starting July 1st. We left our entertainment budget alone so we will probably buy some digital books but that's mostly to prevent library overdue fees. No clothes, no house doodads, no new furniture to replace the recliner we recently ditched, no shoes, no physical books, no toys. So far it has been a challenge to shift my thinking away from "what do we need?" toward "how can we solve that problem with no new things?" and I'm not so sure this will ever be simple. Maybe in a few months? 

We have narrowed our new car options down to only two so we can start planning for how to afford it. We don't yet have a timeline for a new car purchase though. I have been drooling over houses and accepting that we have another year or two before we can buy a place of our own. This is mostly because we would rather buy land than a place in town. Here if we bought a house, our mortgage would be a third of what we are paying in rent for a house like we'd want to downsize to, about 25% less if we bought this very house in a very nice neighborhood. Our landlord would like us to buy this place but I'm thinking there's no way we would want it. It's old and the wiring is incredibly lousy and the place is huge. We have 4 bedrooms and use 2 on a regular basis, a third maybe twice a week. The basement is a mess of terrifying wires wandering around aimlessly, ventilation taped together, and a permanent puddle. I like the deck and the front porch and I like the idea of the garage (currently full of junk and the freezer) but otherwise there's not much to recommend it. (Yep, I recognize this is the exact opposite of housing on the coastal cities where nobody can afford to buy. Here there are no decent rentals and a glut of houses for sale, many foreclosures that are next to free, and so many grand old houses nobody can afford to keep up, much like this one. Our landlord bought it for a song, sold it on contract for deed, they quit paying after a few months, trashed the place, then our landlord recruited some fools to flip it and six weeks later, we moved in with the painted floor still tacky.)

Did I mention the decluttering? We are decluttering in a massive way. So far we have removed a recliner, 7 boxes of stuff, and moved most of the kitchen contents downstairs to a shelf (which is now full). In a few months we will reevaluate the stuff that moved downstairs and probably get rid of much of it. I'm pretty sure we aren't going to try to sell any of our things, just going to donate them and leave them on the curb and be done with the clutter. It is lovely to get all the dishes in the dishwasher at once. The downsize could be permanent. I never imagined it could be so freeing to have fewer things. Next week the goal is to dispose of our dresser. This means purging clothes and relocating them to the drawers under the bed that aren't assembled yet but that's an exciting prospect. Less mess! Less mess to be made by far less laundry and general stuff!

At first it felt counter-productive to downsize our stuff while not buying new things because WHAT IF WE NEED THAT?!?! Now I think it makes sense to absolutely downsize. We planned to add hooks to the front entryway for the girls' coats and backpacks. Now that we can't buy them we either need to find those we bought earlier and lost or find something to trade someone for them. If we are still desperate for a solution in September, we will reevaluate and maybe coax someone who wants to get the girls new things to get fancy hooks for them. I'm really excited to find out what life is like with less stuff to get in the way. #whoneedsit

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