So the question that has been bouncing around is how much land will we need to do some farming and what size of house will we want for comfortable living. Right now I feel like we are outgrowing the house we are in. We have 3 tiny bedrooms (one is serving as an office, one is our bedroom, and one is for Caleb and Hannah), a small living room/dining room area that has room for 2 chairs, a couch, and our table, and then the kitchen and bathroom of course. There is no garage, but there is a dungeon basement only used for storage although I really don't like to use it for that since mold grows well down there.
I have come to realize, however, that maybe the reason we feel like we are outgrowing our house is not so much because of us, but because of our stuff. Just so you know, I am far from a pack rat. I have often been accused of not having enough stuff and the house looking bare, yet the closets continue to fill to the brim with tubs of things to be stored.
With Christmas coming up, I am getting a bit worried about the inflow of gifts from gracious givers and how we will be able to work our new gifts into our house. So I am starting a project that seems to happen every year. I guess you could say I am rampaging through the house. During this time I purge the house of anything I can give away, throw away, or sell in order to make more room in our house for the boxes of new things that will appear come December.
So here is my challenge to you . . . a declutter challenge. To get started, just think about the older farm families (like my dad's) who lived in a 3 bedroom house with 11 kids and no basement. Consider the cost of all of that stuff that you really don't need - the stuff that takes up precious space causing so many people to think they need bigger houses and garages when really they just need less stuff. Think about the time wasted juggling worthless stuff around. Then think about what you can give away, throw away, or sell (we love e-bay!).
Here are the rules:
Set up three boxes/bags/containers in an out of the way spot. Label them give, throw, and sell. (Throw away things do not include day to day trash. It is things that you have actually been storing that can be thrown away.) Until Christmas, whenever you come across anything that fits in one of those categories, put it in it's appropriate container. Keep your eyes open as you walk around and every time you open a closet, drawer, or box. If you have time, start digging through storage areas too.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help you find things to sort out of your house:
Once you get going, do not look in the containers after you start putting things in them. In other words, don't second guess yourself. If you put it in, leave it in. After just a little while of doing this, I think you will be amazed at the sheer volume of stuff that you actually have in your house that you do not really need. I am every time I do this, and I do it at least once a year. I will warn you, however, that you might find many things that you have boughten and realize that maybe you shouldn't have. If they fall under the "clutter" category, still get rid of them even if it means you wasted money. I guarantee that if you do this activity often enough and after you toss enough of those kind of things, you will start to become wiser in how you spend your money.
I will try to remember to post around Christmas time and let you know how much stuff I came up with, hopefully having a picture to show too. I would love it if you join me in the challenge and drop comments on how your boxes/bags/containers are filling up.
My whole reason for doing this is to keep our house from being overcrowded with stuff that we don't need, and hopefully when the time comes for us to buy a place to do some farming in the country we will be able to look for a house to fit needs according to our family and not according to our stuff.
(authors note: To see my results, click here.)
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Tools of My Trade
If you just want a very helpful, but not as in depth version of Mr. Ramsey's financial advice, the Total Money Makeover is another wonderful resource. We have a large number of friends who have used this book to help turn their finances around. You may be able to find a used copy of the book through e-bay or half.com. You can also pick up a new copy from the link below.