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?

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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.

Potpourri

This entry is a bit of a catch-all.  It’s been a busy week for us, and none of it fits neatly into one package.

First, we made an offer on the house.  We received a counter from the bank. We’ve countered their counter.  Now we wait for a response.

Second, we all have colds.  I sound terrible, but I’m not out for the count or anything. Just fatigued.

Did I say I’ve been tired? Fatigued?  Exhausted?  I’ve been wondering if the cold is to blame or if it’s also the Zoloft.  I’ve been tired since I started it. I had initially blamed the fact the baby gets up at 6am most days.  But I’ve also been able to go to bed very early. As early as 9pm. I should not be *this* tired every day.  I’ve read it’s a common side effect and that it might even diminish soon.  i need it to go away or else I’m going off the medication.

Do I want to drop the meds?  Not really.  I feel really good right now.  I’m letting things slide off of me.  I’m more patient.  I am still crazy (in that good crazy kind of way. Yes, there’s such a thing as “good crazy”.), just not psychotically crazy.  So for now, I’m going to put up with side effects.

Unless I start getting fatter, of course. That is where I draw the line.

Anyway, all this brings me to my next (3rd, 4th, or 8th?) point.  We’re still living in a wreck of a house.  But a possible impending move brings hope. My friend is hosting a garage sale, and she offered to put things up for sale if I wish.  I might not wish for that and instead cart things off to charity.  But it’s nice thinking about the great purge.

March 14, 2011. Tags: , , . Getting happy, Medical avenues. 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.

A whirlwind of toys

So it’s been a couple of weeks of happy meds, and I’m feeling better.  Like I can handle my children without losing my temper.  Like I can get up in the wee hours to nurse my son without resenting it.  Like I can be a nicer person to my husband.

But as I said before, the foundation of my problem (oh, it’s a small problem in the grand scheme, I know…but does that mean I just have to live with it?  Nah, I like action) is that I’m just not that happy with the way things are going.  My Couch Potato ways are hindering my well-being.  Therefore, I must get off my tail and mend.

I’ve been brainstorming. What should my next step be?  Laughing Yoga?  A boyfriend named Giuseppe?  A stiff drink?  Well, I already laugh a lot.  I love my husband too much for a boyfriend. And drinking is kind of dangerous with this medicine–one beer is enough.  Anyway, it’s not going to be that easy.  I have to figure out other things I can change on the outside to help me on the inside.

As I look around my house, I know one of the main sources of frustration. Mess. Clutter.  Plastic.  Everywhere.  My living space is filled to the brim with toys.  The bathroom/laundry room is not clean.  The kitchen is disorderly.  I could go on and on.

So this week, I’m committing to cleaning.  And figuring out a way to keep it all straight.  My husband, God bless him, does the dishes most evenings, but he grew up with more clutter than I can handle. He doesn’t see the mess I do.  That makes it my job to make it as I need it to be.

How do I make this manageable?  That’s the challenge.  For the next few days, however, the goal is to reach baseline.  Then I’ll tackle the ongoing needs to clear this house of clutter.  And clear my mind at the same time.

February 28, 2011. Tags: , . Getting happy. 2 comments.