03 May 2019

What's Up Buttercup?

Goodness it's been a while. It seems I stay in touch with so many of you more often on Instagram and Facebook these days but oh how I've missed the blog. I look back at the 2009-2010 era and how much of our world of communication was through blogs and blog comments. How things have changed.

Life has changed a lot since that time. We now have a teenager in the house, who is busy running to sporting, church and social events, doing math we don't understand and writing essays in a class called Language Arts that we used to call English class. I spend a lot of my time driving her to activities and events, spending long hours at track meets and golf tournaments - and working and studying, while waiting to pick her up from activities, in parking lots around town. I try to make that time really productive since there are a lot of small clusters of time spent that way. It's amazing what I can get done with my phone and a notebook.

We now live in a house on a large lot that requires upkeep...no more depending on the apartment manager to take care of issues and tend all the landscaping. Keeping things in good order, watered and clean takes up an amazing amount of time, but it usually is a labor of love when you see how nice the house looks afterwards.

We live in a state I never expected to live in. New Mexico. It's strange to adjust to being closer to states like Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado when I've been so used to being on the left coast most of my adult life. Living closer to "the middle" always throws me. And just like living in any other state, city or town, there are things we love and things we don't always love so much about our new state. But we try to see the best and contribute our best and enjoy every good thing. Sunsets are definitely one of those. This image is from our street. It's dreamy sunsets here just about every night.

Creatively most of my focus has been spent on the house. Reimaging and redecorating, repairing and reorganizing as we go along, trying to learn who we are in the house and how it will best work for us. It's interesting how after three years you can go back and wonder why you ever did things the way you did in the beginning and to see how much some things just haven't worked for the family. I took over our never utilized family room for my office and have absolutely loved having the open space, a big work area/counter and lots of storage for supplies and tools. Plus it has a lot of windows facing out the front of our house, so there is lots of natural light and nature to watch outside.

We have settled into a wonderful social circle here in New Mexico and that is probably the thing I am most grateful for. When you don't have family support nearby, having a strong network of friends who are family is priceless. We have been so blessed and I hope we are blessing others and helping and supporting as well as we are receiving. I'm looking forward to doing more blogging. I have a long list of things to talk about with you.

12 February 2018

Never Get A Storage Unit -- Until You Consider The Costs

When we moved to New Mexico, because we were moving in two parts over a 9-month period, we needed to get a storage unit here for all our belongings coming from California, until we moved into a new home. I was staying in a small 2-bedroom, already furnished townhouse, so everything but clothes and important necessities went into the storage unit.

At the end of January, we finally, finally got that storage unit emptied and closed out our account. It turned out to be exactly three years from the week we first got the storage unit. In the course of that three years, it was really only a must that we have the unit for the first year probably since we were doing some renovation work on the house for a few months after we closed the sale. So that means we paid for that huge storage unit that was only partially filled for two year unnecessarily.

I can justify a little more of that time if I consider I was in a cast or barely out of a cast for six months of that two years. But it sickens me that we kept paying for it. The least we could've done is downsized it to about a quarter of the size. Once I got in there in mid-January are really started clearing it out, I realized probably 1/2 of everything that was in there was empty cardboard boxes. Insanity.

Oh that makes my stomach hurt just to write it. We could have purchased everything in that storage unit and some more things we need with the money we paid for that unnecessary storage unit. Of course, this is the whole storage unit scam, get you in there and you never get out. I can't tell you how many months I said I was going to close it out and clear it out but the task seemed a little too monumental.

There were a few bigger pieces of furniture inside but only a few and most of them can be sold. Even though our new house is decent sized, there really isn't a lot of room for furniture inside it due to the open design and wall to wall windows. You can't put a tall bookcase up in front of a window and where there are walls they are generally very narrow or angled to accommodate all the walls of windows. 

So I started making trips with carloads of things from the storage unit to our house and because we live at the end of a secluded circle, down a very secluded lane I just stacked everything in front of the house.  Dear friends helped me with one final load in their pickup truck at 7 pm the last day of the monthly contract. In that load was just a bookcase, two beds and a storage rack. It was amazing to see the unit empty. Sweeping out the storage unit and walking away from the dumpster I had filled at least half of with stuff out of that unit was a victory. Joy and success.

However there was still that mountain of stuff in front of our garage that I have been working on. Thankfully the weather has been good and dry so everything has been perfectly safe out there. Every day I have been going through things and either finding a place to use an item in the house or choosing to donate, sell or recycle it.

I've made four or five trips to the thrift store the past couple of weeks. I haven't been taking huge carloads, but just a few boxes of items as they accumulate in the back of my car. It feels good to get rid of stuff as fast as possible, plus that keeps family members from going through it all and trying to keep things. For the few true storage items we need to keep in boxes, I've been putting those in attics or the garage. I'm amazed that those things have fit nicely into small spaces and we have more room for things than it felt like we did in those areas.

This was a doozy task but I'm happier about it for a few reasons: 1) saving money! 2) getting rid of stuff we don't need. 3) feeling more organized. 4) being more settled in our home. 5) feeling like a better steward over our belongings and how we use our money.

I think it was also the thing that really got me energized for 2018 and helped me get going for the new year. I did this all by myself for the most part and I think it was kind of therapeutic to just listen to podcasts and music and sift through things without having anyone else there to question my decisions or have to make decisions with.

I listened to a lot of inspiring podcasts and happy music through the long days. I also was better than I ever have been about taking breaks and not going for so long that I totally wore myself out. I am still learning to pace myself in my life. Ha. So that was one of my big projects done for January. Do you or did you have any big projects to get through this winter? What were they? How did you feel about them and how did you tackle them?
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