27 September 2016

Adjusting To A New Home

It's been about a year since we closed on our house. It's been quite a roller coaster year and if we'd know what we'd go through this past year I highly doubt we would've bought a house. But after eight months of nearly daily heavy duty house hunting here in our new city, I am convinced more now than ever that we landed in the right house for us, in the right neighborhood.

After losing my "dream house" in a last minute outbid last June I was sure at that time that I and our family would never get over losing that house that I had been watching intently for almost eight months just waiting and watching it drop in price until it was close to our price range.

After we got through that drama/trauma and found this house, we worked on it for a few months before moving in and I think it really took me breaking my foot for us to finally make the transition because this house was so much easier to maneuver around in than where we were living at the time. Once the fall holidays started and then I promptly broke my foot the week after New Year's  holiday, progress on the house came to a stand still. I'm happy to say that since the beginning of July we have started picking up on progress again which makes me very happy.

One of the biggest accomplishments that we are enjoying is having gotten the fridge that has been sitting in our garage set up in our laundry room, aka my office. There is a fridge that came with our home in the kitchen but we also brought one from California and we need the space. There is an opening in the office/laundry cabinetry for a fridge or freezer in the room and based on our constantly overcrowded first fridge and The Man's penchant for having a huge array of beverages in the house, it was needed. The condition of our over packed fridge has been a point of some contention for years because it was impossible to find anything and whenever one would open it things were likely to fall out. We continually would have food that would spoil because no one knew where it was or that it was even in the fridge.

You might ask, well why didn't you just get that in there right away. Well, long story short, it would not fit through the doorway because of the angle of the cabinets. We have some really wonky angles in our house and that room is a particularly odd one. So we have made three previous attempts with movers and contractors to get the fridge in the laundry room. Finally, The Man took the doors off the fridge, which was quite a bit more complicated than one might imagine. I will jokingly take credit and say this was the first time I was here to assist and see this challenge in action. We ended up needing to lift the fridge over the height of the lower cabinets to get it in the door and be able to have open space to turn it far enough to get it through the doorway.

The sad part is that at one point the contractors had all the cabinetry out of that room and had they just moved the fridge in there before they re-installed the angled cabinetry this would've been a five minute job instead of an eight month war. But it's a life changer for sure. Having extra space and being able to organize my meal supplies where I can actually see them is phenomenal. I can keep better track of what I have on hand and keep everything I need for a specific meal together.

It's also helpful to have the additional freezer space to keep a bit more food supply on hand, especially as we enter the colder months and start cooking more hearty meals. We have tried to shop prudently for meats and stock up when things are on sale or buy in bulk and package and freeze it in meal portion sizes, so this gives us more space to do that. Having more fridge space also makes entertaining much easier. When we have special meals and large serving dishes that need to go in the fridge there is space to keep it cold. Everyone in the family seems so relieved that we don't have to fight with our main kitchen fridge anymore.

Another life changer I enacted this past week was a kitchen drawer reorganization. We have five banks of drawers in our kitchen. We are tall and the drawers all have cut out grooves on the bottom of them for opening. Reaching down to the bottom of the bottom drawers to get things out is not enjoyable! The banks of drawers are also spread out quite a bit. Two on the dining room side, once next to the fridge and two more near the dishwasher.

One thing I am really glad I did was position the cutlery we use at meal time near the dining room and our secondary "hand me down" cutlery near the fridge. So when people want a quick yogurt or other snack out of the fridge there are spoons in easy reach and when we need to set the table or grab a forgotten fork, spoon or knife, there is a drawer on the adjoining wall to our dining room too. I realized last week that it was driving me crazy that I had put all our graters and slicing tools next to the fridge when I so often needed them near the sink/dishwasher and it is always a trek to have to walk to the other side of the kitchen to put them away when unloading the dishwasher. For a while I just lived with it, thinking there were no other options.

Then I got serious about making some drawer reorganization changes that would work better for us. Sometimes it seems like we humans have such a mental block about solving problems that are much easier than we make them. I realized that all the drawers under our dining room cutlery were not really being used very much and had things we rarely ever use in them like corn cob holders and chop sticks. So I made an executive decision, made a formal announcement to all family members and in about two minutes made the complete switcheroo. I have to say I was thrilled the first time I needed a liquid measuring cup and had to only take a couple of steps instead of walking around the island. This is a lesson to me for several reasons.

First, it's good to keep evaluating to see how things are working for you and your family. When I first organized the storage in the kitchen I was completely new to this house and even though I gave it thought and consideration at the time I had no experience by which to know how we would function in this kitchen.

Second, if it's not working, believe you can improve the situation and then get serious about finding solutions. This situation had been bugging me for a while. But all the drawers were being used...so what could I do? There are always solutions that we either aren't thinking of or don't have faith in. Sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective and new determination to find the right solution.

Third, life is much easier when things are organized. Our new fridge and better organized kitchen drawers make life less frustrating and tiring. Organization helps my mind to stay clear, open and creative. When I feel burdened by disorder, it really gets me down! I love the idea of a place for everything and everything in it's place. It's so much less frustrating when you always keep the scissors in one place and know they'll be there when you need them...or the tape, or your purse. Whatever it may be. Order is a virtue for a reason. We are more productive when we aren't wasting time looking for things and it's amazing how little time it really takes to put things away when they have a dedicated space.

I have a friend whose house was amazingly organized and I loved being in that house because there were no overflowing drawers, step stools stored in every closet, cleaning products for every job. A big part of this too, is letting go of stuff and not owning so much that one doesn't have space for it.

We are in the process of making some changes with this as we merge multiple households including things that were in storage from my in-laws home after they passed away. We also are letting go of things we have outgrown like car seats and small children's bikes, toys and a mountain of sporting equipment that we've all amassed over the years. It sure is tiring but every little bit helps and the outcome is amazingly refreshing to the soul. We had been planning another big yard sale, but one day my husband said, "What if we don't have a yard sale and just give the stuff to the thrift store?" That was suddenly music to my ears despite the fact that I knew we could make money having a yard sale. The amount of work and exhaustion to do that was just too much for what it would be worth and so bit by bit we are making trips to the thrift store instead and I could not be happier!

It's great to be moving things forward to taking the next steps to get settled here. With school back in session, it's much easier for The Man and I to take on a few projects now that Kiddo is busier too. We're hoping to take some major steps to getting better settled in this house in the next week and I can't wait. Hoping we can make our family room, which was been serving as a storage room for the past 10 months back into the family room it was intended to be so that we have another family living space where we can relax and hang out.

Hope all is well with you. Always love hearing your thoughts and adventures. Closing in on 7 years here at kalanicut which is just unbelievable. But when I count the amazing friends I have gained from this blog it's like life has always been this way.

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