I’ve been off work for the past week. Glorious time! A mini family vacation, lots of play-time for DD, and cleaning up the house with a drop off at Goodwill to boot! Satisfying. I know I am headed into a super busy April but the promise of summer break is on the horizon.
Having just that sliver of free time has given me space to do some goal setting instead of just surviving. On my mind today:
- Switching out of vacation mode and into “making dinner” mode. A busy week ahead means a meal plan must be dealt with. Not my favorite chore, but not planning is 10X worse.
- Continuing to edit our “stuff”… being on vacation always makes me appreciate how little you need to be happy. Pat on the back for setting a rummage sale date this summer with my mom.
- Flylady’s habit for April is making the bed. Talked to DD about adopting this routine along with me. We are pretty good about making the bed, but hopefully the diligence in this area will spill over into picking up clothes off the chair!
- We reconcile the weekly expenses every Saturday evening. Now is a good time to make sure we have accounted for summer expenses, especially kid expenses, and fund any categories that still need money.
Vacation living – the food comes to you!
What’s on your mind at the start of April?
We started the summer off with an impressive burst of motivation to have a rummage sale. DD was a huge help and went through every box of toys and kid books, and clothes too! We hit the stage where it’s pretty clear what toys are with us for the duration and which could be better served with a new friend.
Things we found helpful in making the rummage a success were:
- Having pre-printed Avery price tags. They were inexpensive and what kid doesn’t love to put stickers on things!
- We lacked a hanging clothes rack, but we found people were willing to go through bins on a table that were labeled by size.
- We also found it worthwhile to bag like items together in a Ziploc and sell them as a bundle. Within the first 20 minutes all of our Melissa and Doug wooden toy food was gone.
Our 4 hour sale netted us about 100.00. From that $100 I paid our daughter a flat rate for labor and a 10% commission on sales.
It feels great to have things like her old bike out of the garage. The longer it sits around the more likely it is to become broken or rusty. I’d rather price it reasonably and have someone using it.
We used the cash from the rummage to buy some portable folding chairs that we need for an event later this summer. It felt great to meet a future expense with items taking up room in our basement.
I did break a cardinal rule of having a garage sale… I brought three boxes of stuff back inside the house. I labeled the bins and hope to have a rummage with the rest of it at my mom’s house that has great street traffic. I put the bins in my laundry room so I won’t forget my plan!
I’ve been hard at work the past weeks using the bits of time before I go to work to declutter small areas. One thing that has been bothering me about clutter is that is steals my mental energy. Clutter, in my life, is items that a decision should be made about but that I have not taken action on. Clutter might be a t-shirt that fits funny or shrunk, but I barely wore it! Or maybe if I keep it another year it will fit my daughter… Meanwhile, every time I get dressed it is there saying “You bought me are you EVER going to wear me?”
Gifts are also an area that can become clutter. If the gift is something I haven’t really enjoyed, it just waits there for me to enjoy it to the level the giver intended. One recent influence on me is the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. In the book she encourages us by saying the power of a gift is in the action of giving, not the item itself. “Presents are not things but a means for conveying someone’s feelings,” she writes. No one would want the gift they gave you to make you feel guilty or unhappy for decades!
One item that I came across is the massive COMPLETE book of Shakespeare’s works, given to me by a friend who went to teach in Japan 25 YEARS AGO! It has been sitting in my laundry room for years. I often thought it might be “worth something” until I looked on abebooks.com and alibris.com and found them selling for $6.00 – 12.00! I am grateful my friend thought I was the kind of scholar that would crack open a 2,300 page book, but I decided to donate it to my local library’s “Friends of the Library” book sale. The library gives me so much joy in my life and I hope they can use the money from the sale of the book to make the library a joyful part of someone else’s life.
For more on Marie Kendo see this article.