For rent

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re under contract on a new (to us) house in the suburbs of Kansas City.  Spending another summer in this poorly insulated house with no yard motivated us to quickly find another place to live.  The downside? We’re bogged down by a lease until the end of September.  Needless to say, we’ve been doing our darndest to find new tenants for the rental.

This challenge has done wonders for my outlook. First off, it’s completely distracted me from my anger over the budget nonsense in Washington.  Secondly, and more importantly, it’s been fun getting the house ready for prospective tenants.  After having lived here almost a year, this place looks great.  Sure, it’s still riddled with holes in the wall (and floor), random odors

The clear, shiny kitchen sink

emanating from the basement, and a lovely draft bringing the outdoors in, but it’s calm. And clean.

Our landlord had posted a bare-bones ad on Craigslist almost a month ago, and no one had come to see the house. So we took matters into our own hands and composed a new ad complete with pictures. Within an hour, someone called to make an appointment to see the house.  And it was the *right* kind of tenant–that is, someone used to living in an historic home with lovely details and…well…quirks.  You don’t want someone expecting a brand new builder grade cookie cutter house.  Not sure if she’ll take the house, but I feel good knowing we’ve got it ready for showings.  And hope to keep it that way.

All this work has got me thinking.  Should I make an effort at the new house to keep it “show-ready”?  I’m not talking about making it beige and blah–ahem, Sabrina Soto, not everyone likes that stuff–it’s more that having a clear kitchen makes me want to cook more.  And then clean up.  My eye twitches less, my smile is more sincere, my gas is less stinky…okay, that’s dumb.  But it definitely keeps my mind calmer.  And that’s what I’m hoping for these days, right?

April 10, 2011. Tags: , . Aspiring to Minimalism. Leave a comment.

Someday…

I am enjoying my house right now.  When I walk around, my blood pressure doesn’t rise, I’m not annoyed by clutter, I am loving my children even more than usual.

Did I mention we’re moving soon?

Maybe *that’s* the reason for my euphoria.  I know that time is limited here.  But that’s not all.

My house is relatively clean.

We’ve been purging left and right.  I got rid of some large children’s toys that the kids aren’t that interested in.  The footrest I’ve been meaning to reupholster finally went to charity.  All those cookbooks are soon to be in the hands of someone else.

I had to let go of the idea of Someday.  As in, Someday I’ll use that Dinner Parties for Dummies book.  Or Someday, that footrest will look awesome and not be spilling out straw.  Or Someday, the girls’ brother will want to play on that rocking horse…even though…we have another…perfectly…good…one.  One was an heirloom, the other a piece of plastic junk.  I think you know which one we kept.   And once it’s done its duty, we might keep it like my mother kept ours.  Or better, we’ll pass it along to my brother for, well, Someday, when he has kids.

Sure, I might *need* some information on dinner parties one day, but the internet it perfect for filling that need.  Or better yet, I’ll get on the phone and call my mother. Imagine talking to someone for advice!  Or going to the playground to use toys!  Or using the perfectly good leather footrest we own!

The possibilities!

March 30, 2011. Tags: , . Aspiring to Minimalism. Leave a comment.

Closet minus 10

Prowling around the webs for some minimalist inspiration, I’ve recently come across Becoming Minimalist, a site devoted to helping folks clear out their lives of excess garbage. Whether it’s mind trash or actual, physical stuff, there’s tons of information out there to help people get rid of it.   A post from earlier this month was particularly striking to me because it gave some very concrete, and rather simple, suggestions on how to simplify life a bit.  The first one I’ll tackle is suggestion #3 to rid the closet of 10 items. Right now.  So I’ll be doing that today.  I won’t even miss these things I bet. I have some shirts in mind. Can’t do pants, though, because I only own 3 pair.

Are you suffering from an over-stuffed closet?  How much of that clothing do you actually wear?  Do you buy cheap shirts from Kohl’s *just because*?  I’m going to commit to buying quality pieces from now on. Those that won’t clutter my closet. And when I add something, I’ll take an article away, too.  No need for a walk-in with me.  Not that I have one anyway.

Will this change my life drastically? I don’t think so. But facing an ordered closet certainly doesn’t cause stress like a messy one does.

March 20, 2011. Tags: , . Aspiring to Minimalism. Leave a comment.

What I’m starting with

Here are a few pictures to give you some insight to all the clutter.

Kitchen Stuff

Yes, you see lots of different things here.  Cookbooks, shoes, items destined for charity, recycling, and just crapola.

Cluttered Counters

Vitamins, toys, crayons, medicine, and garlic.  Yeah, these should all go together, right?

The pantry

The pantry includes all sorts of stuff, including unused cat food. Why the hell do I still have cat food? We don’t have a cat!

So that’s a snapshot of the clutter.  Multiply this by at least 10 to encompass the rest of the house.  (Hopefully) successful updates to come.

February 28, 2011. Tags: , , . Aspiring to Minimalism, Getting happy. Leave a comment.