Monday, March 29, 2010

The Decluttering Continues

Last weekend the hubs and I ventured in to our storage unit. This unit is not something we pay for. Each condo in our complex has a storage unit off the patio and a larger one under one of the buildings. The one we have under the building houses items we don't have room to store in our house but still need such as camping equipment, holiday decorations and large tools.

The problem is it's also become the respository for all things we don't know what to do with but can't bear to get ride of.

In the past few weeks we have been decluttering the heck out of our living space. This is extending to areas that are not seen but still there. It was time to go through things and get rid of items we no longer need. We donated one car load of items already and have another one ready to go for this weekend. I found things I have had for almost twenty years and have no need for such as my highschool color guard outfit, my college letter jacket, massive a tub of fabric of which I will never use for things as my taste has changed since I purchased it.

I can tell ya, I feel so much better, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders!

This weekend we will finish up going through the storage unit. The goal is to get rid of the large tubs sitting on the foor of holiday decorations and downsizing them so they fit in boxes on the shelves of the storage unit. I have been bringing home boxes but we might have to purchase some small plastic tubs that fit on the shelves.

Off to finish watching the first disc of Arrested Deveopment season one.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Link Love

I came across this blog today and it cracks me up. I am lucky enough to have a job but can still comiserate with some of these entries. A really hilarious entry is the Halloween one, making a costume out of things from around the house.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Computer Shelf Gone!

About three years ago my husband installed a shelf in a corner of the dining room to house our PC. We always intended to build a little rolling cart for the tower and printer that could roll under the shelf when the computer was not in use. We got as far as my husband taking a circular saw to our old computer desk and cutting out what we would need to "temporarily" house the tower and printer. Notice the cords and clutter everywhere. Eventually I learned to look past this mess. You can see the old computer monitor behind the open laptop.

With the recent purchase of a laptop and wireless printer (returned the incorrect wireless router and need to purchase the correct one still) we have eliminated the need for the computer shelf in the corner of the dining room. This helps to increase the usable space in the dining area and reduce the amount of visual (and real) clutter in our tiny home (still need to touch up with paint).

As I have stated before, our condo is 900 square feet. Between the living and dining rooms we have gained back some of that and its being used for - nothing. It's so nice to have room to breathe in our space!

Now our laptop sits on our coffee table (my grandfather's WWII foot locker). We still have some wiring to figure out but after we get our new wireless router.

More photos of improvements to come!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Obsession of the Week - Klee Kai

Last week I was at the dog park with my neighbor. A woman was there with her two dogs.

Aren't they beautiful? They are called Klee Kai which is Eskimo for small dog. I have always loved the coloring of Husky's and thought I wanted large dogs for some time. After owning our current dog for just over three years I really like the smaller dogs more. Below is our BJ. The best we can guess is he is a Chihuahua, Rat Terrier, Min Pin mix.

After reading about them I am even more convinced this is a great dog to own. They are intelligent, active and agile. Can you even believe they come in a toy size?

Friday, March 19, 2010

DVD Storage - Living Room Remodel

After painting our living room and putting back only what we absolutely want in that room we discovered how deseptively large our little 900 square foot condo can be. We sold a wing back recliner and invested in some DVD storage from IKEA. It's not the exact thing I want but the hubs and I are realists and we figured we would never actually build what we need before kid number 2 graduates high school. So, click on over to the hubs blog to see our new DVD storage. Can you believe we actually need more already?

What he didn't mention is that above all that lovely DVD storage we found the perfect print. It's a black and white scene of a London street. There is an older style double decker bus in red. Will post photos after we purchase and hang it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Absolute Necessities

I have been on a decluttering binge for many years now. I aquire less and less and it seems to me that I am ready to give up more and more.

The past couple of weeks the hubs and I have made more of an effort on finishing our condo projects. We painted the living room and the walls above the wainscoting in the bathroom. We bought more baseboard molding to finish off the living room. A trip to IKEA is in our future for many of these DVD shelfs and this leather couch. When we painted the living room we only put items back in that we needed. That meant a recliner we do use all the time but just really clutters up the room is going away.

I am the first person to look at something and think "how can I reuse this in another way". I had briefly decided that recliner (it looks like a wing chair) would work great in a corner of the dining room as a reading nook. (Photo below is not the actual chair but close to ours and lighter blue - you get the idea).

This is where I get in to trouble. Suddenly I am all about the reading nook and less about the rest of the dining room that needs finishing. Not to mention the living and bathrooms that have unfinished projects we started working on. All I can picture is lazy afternoons reading in the chair by the garden window, sipping my coffee with a blanket tucked around me. Never mind that in order to have those lazy Saturday afternoons, I need to finish the living, dining, bath and master bedrooms.

Instead, we are selling the chair. Pairing down. Perhaps in the future we will have a reading nook. If so, we will look for the appropriate chair at that time. At least this way I have not gotten distracted from finishing my current projects. Cause the dining table and chairs need to be sanded and painted - so they match. I think that is a little more important than a reading nook (which still requires us getting our old PC unhooked and the shelf it sits on taken down).
I have always been "afraid" of dead space in a room. In the past I have always filled my rooms with probably more than they needed. I always worry if there will be enough seating when I have a party, or Christmas morning when the relatives come over. You know, I have stopped worrying about those things because I am tired of living in clutter just to be prepared for those few days a year where I need to have more than my immediate family in my living room.
I have learned the hard way to start with good basics and build from there. I never had the money for good basics so I bought or inherited the basicas and built on top of them. We are getting back to basics.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Starbucks & The Gym

It's day five of my self imposed Starbucks Challenge. I am pretty darn proud I have managed through five days of NO STARBUCKS SPENDING! Potentially I could have already spent $15.95 (for just myself) or $33.30 (for the hubs and I) but I have not. No sir! And guess what? I didn't die! I have lived to tell the tale.

It's interesting too. The first day was hard. I thought to myself as I was sitting in the car how much I wanted to get my iced tall non fat no whip mocha. I told myself no and bypassed them completely. Later that morning I was REALLY thinking about jumping in the car and going to get one but a co-worker let me try her Coffee Mate Italian Sweet Creme creamer and I went out that night and bought some (one for home and one for work). We have this nifty coffee maker at work that grinds the beans and makes you a fresh cup of Starbucks brewed coffee. So, I throw a little creamer in my mug, push a few buttons, wait a few minutes and I have coffee all ready to go in the morning!

I don't miss it that much now that I have acheived five days of being good. The weekend might be a challenge but we shall see how that goes. I already budgeted for Sunday but it sounds like I won't have my walking buddy anymore as she has joined a gym and that is where she wants to go on Sunday. Who could blame her, its closer to her house and she get's to sleep in a hour more.

I have been contemplating joining a gym for a while. I got a free five day pass and went a couple times this week with my walking buddy. I just threw on my iPod and og. I like the gym. I like that there is never a wait for any of the machines and they are open until 11 PM during the week.

I am torn about joining cause I don't know that I have the joining fee. On the other hand, I'm not doing such a great job working out at home. I think this will be something to mull over and see how important it is to me.

Tomorrow I have a couple of home owners responsibilities to attend to (I am the VP of the HOA board for our condo association) and then its off to buy paint to paint our bathroom walls which are in total need! We also need to pick up a little more baseboard molding to finish off our living room as well. Then we will have all the rooms in to condo painted and all the molding put up in the main part of the house.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Girls Guide to Homelessness

Yesterday I came across a very interesting blog, The Girl's Guide to Homelessness. Brianna Karp is a college educated woman who found herself homeless in Southern California after being laid off from her job. She went from being employed to living in an inherited trailer in a Wal Mart parking lot with her dog.

Like many people, I always assumed the homeless were the crazys you see out begging and talking to themselves on the street. Matted hair, smelly, living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass. Wow, was I wrong! I had no clue there were people out there who have skills and can work and want to work and through unfortunate circumstances are homeless. Briana's blog chronicles her situation. She gives advise and tips on how to survive in one of the most deperate and scarriest times of her life.

I only started reading her last night and I am only three months in to her story. I encourage you to wander on over and check it out. Also, there is a great interview with her over on Running in Heels. Bri as she is called is now writing a book and a film will be made about her experience.

Another homeless person who turned a bad situation around is Liz Murray. A girl with parents who both died of Aids due to intravenus drug use. Went from being homeless at 15 to Harvard University. Her story was made in to a Lifetime movie.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Giveaway & Fun Blog to Read

I have been reading My Repurposed Life and its been on my sidebar for a while now. Today she is having an AMAZING give away. Pop on over and check out her Black & Decker post. Looking for a jigsaw? Now is your chance to win one!!!!!

Starbucks Challenge

This month I have given myself the Starbucks Challenge. It's no secret that I LOVE me some Starbucks. Quite often in the morning on my way to work I will find myself in the drive through without even realizing it. This month, with the help of my new favorite thing, Coffee Mate Italian Sweet Creme creamer I am hopeful I can meet the challenge.

There are 31 days in the month and I am giving myself Sundays off. So, 27 days of no Starbucks iced tall non fat no whip mochas. My drink costs me $3.19 and which is a savings of $86.13 over 27 days. If you figure both the hubs and my drinks together costs $6.66 that is a savings of $179.82. Yowza - that should take the credit cards down a peg or two!

This is day number three and so far - no Starbucks. Of course, it does help that I am home sick today. I will be keeping track on my sidebar!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Goals

Trying to keep balance in mind. I am going to revamp a little since things like our income and regular debt payments stay pretty much the same. I will report numbers at the end of the month. Here we go...

Finances - mantain minimum payments and place all but $500 of our tax return on to credit card debt. The $500 will go to savings. Possibility of joining a gym this month as well. Try to limit the amount of times I go to Starbucks and bring creamer to work to drink the Starbucks coffee there (free except for creamer cost).

Health - Continue with my free five day membership this week and possibly look in to joining said gym. If I do join I will probably go at least four to five times per week meeting my gym buddy there. Work on eating lots of veggies and fruit, drinking lots of water and smaller portions on higher fat or starchy foods. I am going to forgo Weight Watchers for now and just go with this plan. Since I will be working out so much more than current I think I will see a difference in the scale and my clothing.

House - Paint the bathroom and finish up the baseboard molding in the living room. Work on a plan for the hearth and mantle. Continue to declutter and donate. We painted our living room over the weekend (finally) and moved everything out of it but the couch and TV + stand. My husband verbalized what I was thinking by stating, "let's just bring stuff back in that we really use and need". That meant posting a chair for sale in Craigslist and donating a backseat full of items (including the clothing from my closet purge).

Here is to a less stressful new month!