As you all know, our house needed de-cluttering before Christmas, so you can imagine the state it is in since then! Being the youngest of two pretty big and generous families, Little Lady and Little Man are spoilt!
I think it was William Morris who said that what you had in your house needed to be either useful or beautiful, otherwise it had no place being there! (Do let me know if I am wrong in this). Item by item throughout the house, I am easily able to identify what we use and what is beautiful to look at. Everything else needs to go!
But here is the rub… it is really hard to let go of things when you know how much they cost you. Surely you should be putting them up for sale on EBay! Yet for me, the faff involved in taking a picture, writing up the listing, paying for the listing, working out the packaging price, hoping it will sell for something that makes it all worth my while and then packaging said product and traipsing to the post office to send it is all too much. And that’s just for ONE item!
The lesser amount of stress involved in putting said items into a bag and dropping them off at a charity shop, job done, is a win-win situation all round. So why the reluctance to do it?
Yes we could do with the money, but what would we spend it on? More items probably. The money would never be worth all the hassle as we would never get anything close to what we paid for the items. They lose their value the second you take them out of the shop! Besides, shopping for them was a pleasure, the EBay process mentioned above, for me, is anything but!
So no, we are not getting back the worth of the goods and the money we would get involves time and trouble that I don’t have to give. More importantly, there are other people and charities who could benefit from what I hand over.
And there is the key. Make a gift of what you have. Whether it be to an individual you know who could benefit, a advertisement on freecycle to anyone in need of it, or to a charity of your choice. My Big Sister just takes her stuff to the charity shop where she is able to park! Fair enough. I wanted more. So I have chosen Save The Children and later today will deposit many bags of items at my not so local shop. No angst, no stress, less clutter and ultimately money to those far more in need of it that I am. As I said, a win-win situation all over!
At least once a week I go through our accounts as a family. Ideally to check what has been paid and what remains outstanding. For the last few years though it has been to check that we are not overdrawn! How can it be that we only in the middle of the month and already I am borrowing from the children?
As sad as I felt doing the accounts, it was doing the weekly shop – having borrowed said money from the children – that almost reduced me to tears. A not insignificant budget was overspent by 17 pounds. I realise that 17 pounds doesn’t seem much, but if you were to see what the shopping budget that I had was and the state that our accounts are in, you would be on the verge of tears too.
I came home and told the Other Half that that things were going to have to change. In future we needed to bake bread and biscuits, make soup and popcorn and cut down things like orange juice to once a day. I also said that we would all be on the same cereal, bought in the family size, rather than the 4 different varieties we all eat at the moment.
Brave words, but my heart started to sink even as the words left my mouth. To be honest food is one of the few joys that we still have – a social life together seeming to have gone out the window once we had children!
Yes I am going to start trying to make certain things, starting with tomato soup and scaling down the volume of what I buy, bearing in mind that each purchase now is around 1 pound. Primarily though I am shopping online next week. Not only will I not espy all the items I would usually throw into the trolley without further thought, but hopefully I won’t miss them either. And as my total bill amounts to a few pounds under budget I shall smile and reward myself with a well deserved chocolate bar, thereby hitting my limit!
Just please don’t let there be any substitutions!
We visited the Ideal Home Exhibition yesterday. I love anything to do with houses, interior and exterior so we tend to visit the show along with several stately homes, castles, palaces or gardens every year.
Having visited a friend over the Easter weekend for lunch, whose home is beautiful and tidy beyond belief, I saw the show differently this year. It finally dawned on me, that you can have the tidy, immaculate, wonderful home, but you had better be prepared to spend a lot of time and money on making it so. Picking up the sheets that accompany the show rooms, you realise how many stores and products have had to have been researched, how carefully the look has been put together and how much money it would take to recreate said look in our house.
My friend was absolutely focused in pulling the look of her house together and is merciless in keeping it that way. To quote my other half when she shared her tips,( e.g. spending hours de-cluttering each week!) he turned to me and said, “Chalk meet cheese, cheese meet chalk”. The cheek!
Of course Other Half is right though. Yes I have a dream of how I would like our house to be. Walled rather than open plan, 2 reception rooms, a properly fitted kitchen and all fitted wardrobes to be gone, gone, gone! Add in newly decorated, newly carpeted and tidy and I am pretty much done. Anything over and above that I shall leave to the experts. Work to your strengths I say. Now Hever Castle or Hampton Court this year? Decisions, decisions – and I don’t mean about choice of wall paper!
Being a one income household, we could always do with more money. Repairs, things for the kids, things for us, things for others and the home – all compete for our finances and attention. So, having taken on roles such as tutor and nanny recently to help out, you would think that the other half would be happy. After all, we should be able to go on holiday this year.
You would be wrong however! The issue has now become less about me bringing in a second income and more about us sticking within the confines of the one that we have! That brings up a whole different discussion, but why the clarification on his part? CHANGE. My new roles affect him, his time and what he is able to do in our home. The same for me, but I was willing to make the trade off because I 1) enjoyed the work and 2) liked the extra income that should buy us a holiday. Yes all the other things will have to wait as I am choosing sun over repairs!
For hubby though the trade off is not worth it. He would rather have less money and be able to do what he likes, when he likes in his own home. Understandable really as his work is outside of the home making his home a supposed place of refuge. Being at home with the children, any work that enables me to still be there for them is a source of stimulation and monetary worth. After all no 0ne pays you to be a mum.
So how to square the circle? Fortunately for the other half, both roles are temporary. Any that involve working from home in future, such as this blog, won’t affect him and all being well I shall be returning to part-time work outside the home.
New boundaries are now clear and shall be kept within for the future. No you can’t have it all, but you can find ways to have what is important to you. He’ll get his castle back whilst I keep those holidays coming!