Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Big House is Empty!!

And the little house is packed full. I’m glad this is a three day weekend. I need to cull another 8-10 boxes of stuff, at least.

I’m getting more and more eager to find my land or my little house. I’m close enough now that I can almost taste it. And the longer I live in the little town in the little rental house, the more I think I won’t care if I’m near a city and making a lot of money. I would like to be close enough to a doctor and dentist that I wouldn’t have to drive very far for care as I get older, but this lifestyle seems to suit me well.

Goodbye, big house

Closing is set, and sooner than expected, on my former house. I’m still trying to figure out what to sell, what to give away, and what to store of the stuff from that house, but in less than two weeks the house itself will be gone. I’ll miss being a landowner. I’ll miss the woods behind the house. But the house I won’t miss.

I’m looking forward to my little cabin! There are several pieces of land I want to look at. One thing I’ve become more aware of… it costs money to have a good foundation. Lots of money. But I’m looking forward to finding that piece of land and getting the foundation laid. And part of me doesn’t want to mar the land with a new foundation. I’d like things to be just like they’ve been, but with my house on a corner, hidden in the trees. Maybe I’ll buy. Maybe I’ll build. I’m looking forward to the next step of my life, knowing that the big house will no longer be in the way of the little house to come!

Storage

“To house their “stuff,” Americans spend $22 billion per year on 2.4 billion square feet of self storage.” ~newdream.org

I wonder if that includes the extra cost of garages that are too full of stuff for cars, of basements that aren’t liveable space but merely winding paths through piles of things that can’t even be recognized and that no one remembers? I wonder if it includes the cost of spare bedrooms and larger floor spaces in the living space in which “stuff” can be maintained and absorbed? Or the extra houses that some have bought, not to live in but merely to store things that might be worth something someday?

Apparently,  the movement for downsizing and restructuring our lives is not nearly as new as I had thought. I found a video at a thrift store last night that was published by www.newdream.org in 2002. I’m familiar with the “hippies” in the 60s and 70s that lived with less so that they could live. Yes, they were a fringe group. Today more attention seems to be drawn to those of us who are choosing to live well with less. My hope is that the trend will continue, and more people will gain interest in sustainability and contentment.

Hording Myth #4: It holds so many memories

Yes, there are things that hold memories for us. But memories are truly held in our hearts, not our stuff.

This is a difficult one for me. I sold a set of dishes and remembered as they sold that they were my first set, straight out of college. They’d meant nothing to me… until they sold. Then suddenly I teared up and thought, “No, wait!!!” It was hard to override that reaction. But I don’t miss the dishes, and I still have the memories.

 

Hording Myths: #3-I think I can fix that…

One of my worst pitfalls: I think I can fix that.

Lets see, the three wheeled under car dolly. The broken wind chime. The quilt with a huge hole in the middle. The curtains that almost fit the windows. So much stuff that was almost fixed, that with the right tools and time I could have fixed, or liked to think maybe I could fix. The problem is none of it ever got fixed, and I felt less like fixing things every time I saw it.

How about you? Anything you have held onto thinking you could fix it or repurpose it, but never did?

Hording Myth: #2

But I might need that someday!

The concept is that we need to keep an extra around, just in case. If one breaks, we’ll have another. If one wears out we’ll save money by already having the extra to replace it.

Sure things wear out. But does having a spare really save money? Most of the time, if I break something, I can’t remember where the spare is. Sometimes, I can’t remember I have a spare and buy a spare-spare because it’s on sale. While I was downsizing, I found about 3-4 cheese cutters and 5-6 veggie peelers. I could buy a replacement for less than $5. Why did I have the extras, especially the broken ones?

Mom for years kept an extra iron. She’d gotten two as wedding presents, and she thought when one burned out she’d have another. If she ironed, it might have been different. But she got the spare out only after she’d been married over 35 years. Irons change in 35 years. For the better. Did keeping the spare really save anything?

I have a drill I bought as a spare. It was at a yard sale for $1. Great deal, right? The drill has to be older than I am. For a drill, that’s pretty old.

There are a lot of things that we save for later. Old pictures that never get labeled or put in scrap books. From the days of Polaroid and 110 film. Undeveloped. Voice of experience, yes. Books that can easily be gotten at any library. Towels and sheets that will go out of style long before they’re used. Yards and yards of fabric that will rot before it’s cut. It’s nice to save up for the future, but only to a point. I suspect I’ve spent more money buying spares than I ever would have spent just purchasing what I need. And I would have been happier doing it.

Hoarding Myths: #1

Myth #1: I can get some money out of this! Also known as, But this is worth something!

How many times I have heard these statements. Sure, everything is worth something to someone. Sure, there’s money to be made off useless stuff. There are TV shows that back this up. Think of that $1 vase that was really a Ming, or that painting that was sold for $3 at Goodwill and ended up being worth thousands. Sure, there are things like that. But I seriously doubt any of them were hiding in my basement. And I don’t find multitudes of people checking every penny in case it’s one of those rare coins that is worth hundreds or thousands. (At least pennies are easier to store, and the odds of finding a “special” one are about as great as finding a Ming at a yard sale, I’d say.)

Yes, the things I’ve gotten rid of were worth something. I might have made some money off of them if I’d sold them. I didn’t have the time or patience to sell them, though, and wouldn’t have asked the right price even if I had, since I’m not an expert on old junk. It might be worth something to someone, so I’ll let someone find it and have the opportunity to sell it themselves. Perhaps one of the sellers will be benevolent and gift me back a fraction of the imagined thousands they gain from my cast-offs.  One thing I know: they were worth nothing hiding in the depths of the basement or lurking under the couch and bed.

Can you think of other myths about hoarding? Feel free to post!

Looking for land

I’m looking for land now. The process is more difficult because I have no idea where I want to live. Within 100-150 miles of a certain place, but that’s a lot of research to do! Unemployment, job prospects, poverty level, town atmosphere, topography, and air/water quality all come into play.

I’m looking for a place I’ll want to live for the rest of my life. I’ve never had that consideration before. Maybe I shouldn’t be looking for “the perfect place”, but why not?

There are a few places that seem like they may be possibilities. Gorgeous area, small town atmosphere, older buildings in town, city well maintained, walking trails and waterways nearby… I think I could find a job within six months, and could make ends meet and work on the house in the meantime. My goal at this point is to start building next spring. I still have some downsizing to do, and have to check with the counties on codes. A few acres in a peaceful area, close enough to town that I can bike, far enough out that I will see trees instead of subdivisions. Enough land to have a few fruit trees and a nice garden. It’s a nice dream, one I hope to wake up to find is real in the near future.