Long weekend 

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Our long weekend is coming to a close and tomorrow we will be back to routine. It’s been a strange one, because it was connected to Spring Break this year. I miss having Easter be a special mini vacation in April. But I’ll take the extra day off today! 

We had company from out of town. Two sets actually. I tried to be prepared ahead of time – had done some meal planning and stuck to a list. Spent about $100. I did have to go back and get about $60 extra in things that my company wanted to make. They were mostly basics I was out of – vanilla, baking powder, propane for the BBQ. So way over my grocery budget, but I was feeding 10-11 people at various times all weekend.  

Easter was very cheap this year. I spent about $30 on treats for the kids. They got very little. But they got a few small treats from family, got to go to an egg hunt yesterday, and I think were generally ok with it.  I have friends that make Easter almost as big as Christmas. I just can’t afford that, and don’t think it’s really necessary. 

We had beautiful warm weather. It was so nice to catch up with family, sit in the sun, and watch the kids and dogs play. Now into final term – I can’t believe we have only three months to go till holidays already! 

Day 2 – unloading 

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So… I stayed up till almost four Am reading the Marie Kondo book…. Can do that when you’re home alone for a week and have piles of time for naps too. 

And have a plan for today. A bit. My daughters coming today to help clean before all the Easter company arrives. So that’s going to take precedence over decluttering. 

In my randomness yesterday I did get three things sold, a ton more moved to the garage sale/likely donate pile in the garage, and about 6 small bags picked up by friends, and many more in the garbage bin. Felt good to do that, but after reading further in the Marie Kondo book I’ve decided to try and follow the order she lays out. Which has clothes as the first thing up. I think I can burn through this one probably by tomorrow!! 

Tossing and decluttering

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I’ve started on my decluttering process. It’s hard to know where to start. I’ve taken away a couple of good points so far from the Marie Kondo book, even though I’m no where near finished it.

  1. Declutter, don’t organize. This was a huge A-HA for me. I’m usually really great at organizing my junk. So I’ll organize my 200 pens, school supplies, clothes, shoes, books, etc. instead of decluttering them. The junk just gets moved around or made pretty, but its still the same amount.  The advice in the book is to get rid of things, not to organize them. At first.
  2. Declutter quickly. This one had me panicked. I have three kids, 2500 sq feet and she expects me to get it done in a weekend???? But, she clarifies this. Quickly might mean 6 months. The advice is though that once you’ve decluttered a category – it should be done. Not a revolving thing that has to be done every year. I’m not sure I agree with this…somethings do have to be done every year. My kids are still growing. I need to go through their clothes, books, toys regularly. My professional work materials get out of date and need to be tossed. Clothes, linens, etc. wear out. I’m thinking later in the book I’ll hear more about this….
  3. Declutter in categories – not rooms. For example, instead of doing my bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom upstairs – choose categories to work on – shoes, linens, toys, books, etc. I believe the thinking here is that it’s quicker and easier to see what you have when you pull out all the towels, or books, or pairs of shoes. Easier to make decisions about what to toss. I agree with this, and actually had never thought to do this. When I get to my school supply collection, this is going to be a BIG eye opener about how much I own and don’t really need.

So what I’ve done in the last day… I cleaned my son’s room and threw away two small bags of garbage and broken toys. Found a few things to give away, but not too much. I did organize here – I want him to eventually give away some things he doesn’t want. They are the only things he owns, when you think about it. It’s really the only thing he gets control over in the house.

My daughter went through her clothes last week and tossed a bunch to give away. She is not ready to part with any books yet. She doesn’t have toys anymore, but reading is her passion. So as long as she’s got them off the floor, they can stay.

Ive gone randomly through a few rooms just tossing mostly garbage or things to recycle. Few things put in bags for garage sale later this spring. Not in an organized way by room or category. I’m going to work on two categories today to keep me a little more focused – all shoes and my books. Might as well start small!

The lifestyle Part One: The Want

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I’m on a huge soul searching journey the past five or six months. Every area of my life is being re-examined quietly, all by myself. Health, money, home, relationships, career. 

 One of the areas is my home space. I want to declutter and organize. I started listening yesterday to an audio book by Marie Kondo – The Lifechanging Art of Tidying Up. I’ve seen friends raving on social media about it, and figured I would give it a shot. (I commute approx. 45 -60 minutes each day, and need something on my drive).

The first question that came up before starting to get rid of this is to visualize very specifically what you want your lifestyle to look like. Not a vague goal, like to declutter or have an organized house (lol- see previous paragraph). 

So, here I am… Tossing around some ideas. My very first reaction was surprising to me. Thought popped in my head- I want to sell my house for sure. The lifestyle I want is not this house. I want it to look open and spacious and clean. I want to downsize my life so I can do more for my kids and not be house poor. I picture us in a much smaller house, maybe even a mobile home. With a small yard, or in a condo near park space. I picture the inside of my house with soft blues and greens. Comfy furniture you get lost in. Lots and lots of natural light. A large kitchen with lots of counter tops. An open living area. No stuff laying around. 

I’m going to start a Pinterest board with some ideas. I’m excited to finish the book, and get going on the declutter part. I’m a little scared, but I know it’s time to get it done. 

Spring break is coming – updated

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Next week I have the whole week off, plus Easter Monday! Yay! Can’t wait for this time. And the first five or six days are all alone – just me! The kids will be home for the Easter long weekend, as well as some of out of town company. It’s going to be a busy one.

Here’s my spring break alone time plan so far:

  • Connect with an old high school friend and have a bon fire and some drinks. Met up with one…another one coming to town in two days!
  • Get an oil change for my car.
  • See my doctor, mostly about getting old. Lol
  • Eye exam!! Needs to be done. I have never had one. Isn’t that ridiculous?
  • Decluttering So far got four bags of garbage and a ton of toys listed for sale. Have made $25 so far. 
  • Cleaning  Yes!
  • Organizing
  • Reading Almost done two personal finance books! 
  • Walks and treadmill and some exercise videos
  • Starting my debt free goals and plans
  • Sleeping I hope! Tons of sleep. Too much reallly, but nice to not get up to an alarm. 

My mind has been really scattered lately. I feel like I’m making all kinds of decisions and trying to get plans in place, but without a master plan. Of what I really want and how to get there. I need to spend some more time thinking about this over my few days off.

Friends as Roommates

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One of my best friends needed a place to stay after some personal life changes. Friend moved in with me late October, and just moved out this past weekend, after four months.

Because I was trying to help her out to save money and get back on her feet, I didn’t charge her rent. it was not an option for her to stay long term, due to space here and ultimately her needing a home for her kids.

So – what did it cost me? My hydro, natural gas and Internet bills all increased. I had to increase to unlimited internet ($15 extra a month). Because she wasn’t working at first, the hydro and gas increased, approx $50 each, per month. I didn’t think it was going to be that high, but she was spending alot of the day, using technology and staying warm, LOL.

Personally there were costs as well. My son gave up his bedroom for four months. He agreed to it, but at the end, he was really just ready for his own personal space, as was I. A loss of privacy, for her and I both. Sharing hot water, timing bathroom use, etc.

I’m glad I did it, but I don’t know that I would again, unless I was being paid rent to cover expenses at the very least.

 

March goals!

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In like a lion, out like a lamb? We are supposed to get rain tomorrow, so hoping that’s our “lion” this year

I’m really excited about blogging again. I feel like I am making gains in a few personal areas, including my finances, and here I am ready to set some goals again!!

  1. Met my step goal of 13,000 steps 5/7 days each week. Weekends are my downfall, but I’m in the habit of using my Fitbit for months now and just upped my goal the third month in a row!
  2. Put the change from every transaction (round up to nearest dollar) into a savings account every day and then put the sum on my MasterCard at the end of the month.
  3. Read one professional book, cover to cover.
  4. make a list of spring break chores, and actually get some done.
  5. Put $2000 towards debt this month (tax refund will help immensely here). Minimum payments to MC and LOC and rest to Visa.
  6. No credit card transactions this month (unless absolutely necessary and must prepay them from my bank account).

March always feels like a new beginning for me. My ex moved out four years ago yesterday, so feb 28th and this year the “bonus” day is always sad and reflective for me. But March always holds promise for me. Spring is on its way (although we haven’t had snow since January and not below zero during the day since…early January?!)

happy march!