towards simple living

Put one foot in front of the other….

And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
….

OK… OK…. it’s not the holidays anymore but this song from the old animated “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” has been running though my head these last few days..

No, I am not trying to change from bad to good, but things are steadily moving and it is because I keep on forcing myself to just take that next step, to put one foot in front of the other. Doing so is actually make things change and each step brings us one step closer to where we want to be…

 This weekend we got the house all clean and ready for a home visit… actually two home visits! One of them was a call out of the blue that we got on Saturday but the other was the girl that had contacted me with interest in the house. She came over on Sunday afternoon with her daughter, and spent an hour here looking around, taking pictures and asking questions. She loves the house and they are going to the bank tomorrow and if everything is OK, then they will be making an offer.

I have been taking more pictures of things to try to sell these days and have been putting them up and putting the money we are getting in out “moving jar”. I am finding it hard at times because it feels like I am attached to stuff that I don’t even use… like some of the kids toys… but I also know that we won’t miss it and that I don’t want to move it… it is SO hard!!

I would love any tips of how people deal with getting rid of things… how to let go… I don’t understand why it is so hard for me…

On big thing that I am worrying about at the moment is financial stuff. We have a comfortable life right now. We don’t have much extra but we are not struggling and it is good. But where I want to go is somewhere where not only we will have a lot less money, even when we find a job, but rent will be more than what we are paying from our mortgage now…

I feel panicky when I think about it… how will we get by? how will this work?

I feel like the chips will fall into place but what if they don’t… what will we do?

The fear of failure or hardship is what has been stopping me from making these steps before and that fear is still immobilizing now…

But then I think of this quote…

?”Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”

~~Will Rogers~~

Trees in McClymont Park

Holding my breath…

Since the house went up for sale I feel like I have been holding my breath…

There is a part of me that wants it to sell fast and just move to the next step and there is the other part of me that doesn’t want any change. I think the part of me that doesn’t want any change is not only scared but is also a bit lazy.

I mean, selling the house means that I need to get into gear and keep the house clean and keep on decluttering… so of course I rebelled against myself and went ahead and bought the juicer that I have been wanting.

(Omega 8006)

New Juicer

Something else to move of course, but on the flip side, hopefully getting more veggies in my diet will help me have more energy…  and honestly, I don’t think I will be able to afford it once we move…

This weekend we went through Wilhelmina’s drawers, taking out everything that doesn’t fit and adding clothes that we had ready for her size. I have already given about 4 Garbage bags full of old clothes but I keep on finding more bags and bins  everywhere. Though I would like to continue to give all the clothes away, I have decided that I was going to put in the time to take pictures and try to sell some of it. We have to think about actually funding this move and every little bit will help at this point…

juicer aside…

So since this morning I have been choosing the pieces of clothing that still look good after four kids, putting them into age groups and taking pictures. The rest will be given away as usual.  I seriously don’t understand how we have accumulated SO much! But I guess that is what happens when you put things aside instead of dealing with it as it comes.

There is so much that needs to be done before we move.

*******

This post lay dormant on my computer today as I wrote bits and pieces of it… and then just while I was making supper I got a message over facebook with interest in the house. She asked tons of questions and asked for more pictures and knows and loves the neighbourhood and was actually looking for a house here. They already had an appointment at the bank next week to see if they could transfer their mortgage and they think that this would be the perfect house… wow! Even more perfect is that they are not in too much of a hurry to get in right away because they also have a house to sell… so we would have a bit of time to get ready :)

I am a bit in shock at the moment…

A new year…

The holidays are over and a new year is beginning.

sunset

On the 31st of December, my grandmother died.

(Willa with her great-grandmother)

Willa and great-grandma
She was 92 and had Alzheimer’s and though she could still remember some, she was declining. At Christmas, she got the flu and a lung infection. My father got sick at the same time and as he already has lung disease, he went into the hospital within days of getting sick. My grandmother got better but then became sick again and died two days later.
The same day she died I went to a friend’s for a new years party. I felt conflicted but it was exactly what I needed. We had a great evening and great conversations into the night. I met new people and made new friendships with people I already knew. We slept over and continued our conversations until we left mid afternoon. With my grandmother’s death I felt the need to visit my dad and my other grandmother who was bringing in the new year with a few other family members. Spending new years with my family is something I haven’t done in years but I headed to Montreal with an open mind. It turned out to be a very nice visit with my uncles, aunt, my cousin and my mom. And, of course, my grandmother was so happy to have the family there.
We got home and spend the next two days relaxing and just having family time and doing some basic cleaning.

Simon went back to work today and the kids are playing and I just went over our budget and then entered my breakfast in my food log and I have a feeling this is going to be a good year.

We are still planning on putting the house up for sale this year and slowly our decluttering efforts are changing the way our house looks and runs. During the holidays I decluttered our room. Now, all the clothes I have are ones that fit and that I will and do wear. Doing the closet left enough space for us to move Simon’s dresser into the closet which meant that we could move Wilhelmina’s bed into our room. Not only does it make the room more functional but even if we have one more piece of furniture in the room, it actually looks bigger and even less cluttered.

I don’t make resolutions with the new year but something has clicked in the last few days. Though I have recording our expenses and “budgeting” for years, I realized I was making mistakes. But now, I recognize those mistakes… and when you know better, you do better. With a new view on finances and a big goals for the year I am starting the year off fresh and with plans and I am feeling inspired.

so much stuff…

This post is a continuation of the decluttering post I wrote the other day… or more specifically what I wrote in the comments.

When I was young we really didn’t have much. I had some toys, especially stuffed animals, but we were on the move often and didn’t have much money or space. So what we had needed to take up little of those two things.

Looking back now, as an adult, I am happy about that. It was good; I spent my days outside, I climbed trees, went to the park, rode my bike etc… but looking through my childhood eyes, I remember wanting toys that others had, I remember longing for a dollhouse or the “little people” sets that took up space and cost money.

When we arrived in Montreal when I was nearly ten, I was depressed because I missed my friends and home. I went from a small town that I could basically  go everywhere alone to a big city where at first I couldn’t even cross the street. Though I made friends on my street, people were different… family life was different and life in general was just very different. I had trouble at school, acted out and was teased and had very little trust in anyone. Though I had activities and things to do, I stayed in a lot more, especially in my room. My mom started working, so she had a bit more money, we had a permanent place to stay and both my mom and I started accumulating things. My room was a constant mess and though the rest of the house was clean, my mom’s clutter grew behind closed doors. She always had a problem of letting go of certain things (expired food, spices that were older than me, papers and cards etc) and there was always the preoccupation of knowing what something was worth. She always knew a good deal.

I am in no way blaming my mom for any of my problems, but I do believe that I learned certain tendencies from her. I also think that for both of us… not having things, not by choice but by circumstance, meant that we both overcompensated when things changed.

By the time I was in my late teens and moved out with Simon it was a bit scary how much I had already accumulated. Our first apartment was a small 4 1/2 and I honestly don’t think it was that bad. Our computer room was messy and had too much stuff in it but the rest of the house was pretty good. A year later we moved again into a larger 5 1/2 and for the first year or so it was great. Our apartment was warm and cozy and was easy to keep tidy but when I got pregnant with Xavier things started to change. I knew I didn’t want to have many toys and I didn’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff, but there were thrift stores and Garage sales and so many options not far from our apartment that I would pass by nearly everyday and there were tons of clothes and toys that were just too cute or cool and I had trouble passing up on the deal. Our clutter didn’t cost much in our wallet, but it took up so much of our space and sanity.

One of the things that I especially had a weakness for was vintage toys. I started collecting all the toys that I had wanted when I was young. The vintage little people garage and house, barn, house, school, record players, movie views etc. Anything I could get my hand that was not expensive I would buy…

By the time we moved into the house we are living in now, we already had too much. Over the next year or two the problem just grew. Most of the house was pretty presentable, messy but not dirty… but behind closed doors, in closets and in storage spaces the extent of our problem was visible. We had one room that was a guest room at the time that was basically unusable for quite a while. We would get tired of it, clean and get rid of a few things but it was never enough and it most often moving the clutter instead of thinning it. *

Then it happened. I got tired of it. I was pregnant with Khéna and just tired of the mess. I stopped buying so much, stopped going to thrift stores and garage sales and finally started decluttering. When a declutter challenge came up on the MDC forums I jumped at the opportunity and really dove into it. I did so much around that time and it made things in the house easier to deal with. Though I had stopped running after things that we didn’t need, or even really want it took a few more years to actually be able to learn to let go of what we already had… I did it slowly but never completely… and keeping things for the next child didn’t help. But when we decided that Wilhelmina was our last, a shift started to happen.

This is where we are now.

Now, I wouldn’t say that I am completely at ease with letting everything go… there are still some things that I don’t want to let go of,  but I am surprising myself.

Each week, things leave the house. Sometimes, it is more than others.

Yesterday 4 big garbage bags of clothes and diaper covers left my house and will never come back.

Today we got all of the baby toys and all of the vintage Fisher-Price out of our shed and out of the nooks and crannies of our home that we had put them in, and we are gathering it all up to finally get it out of the house. I am going to sell what we can and donate the rest.

The next step it to go through the kitchen… my rule will be…  If it is broken, it’s gone. If it is expired or we won’t eat it, it’s gone. If we have to many of it, we’ll keep just what we need. If we haven’t touched it in the last year it needs to leave, but If I really want it, it needs to be placed somewhere that I will have easy access to actually use it.

Because the clutter is behind closed doors and in spaces that we don’t use that much (the shed etc) we are not seeing much a difference…. yet… but each time something leaves the house, instead of feeling a tightness and a sense of loss, I feel lighter as if the clutter has been weighing me down for years and I am finally becoming free of it. That feeling not only makes all of the work worth it, but it also pushes me to do more.

* side-note… I see my house as messy and am constantly criticized about it when my mom comes over,  but when I just skimmed through a few years of pictures to show a picture of my “messy house” to go along with the post, I couldn’t find one… I know I avoid the trouble spots… but as for the rest of the house, the parts we live in, either I am very good at not capturing mess in my pictures or my perception is actually a bit skewed. I wonder…

 

Little steps

I wrote something in the comments of the last post that I would like to expand on… “I am ready for some changes in my life and the easiest place to start is with myself.”

I have some big plans for the future. We would like to sell the house and move. Maybe back to Montreal, ideally, out of province. However, it is hard to leave the stability we have now and take the plunge into the unknown. The more I think about it, the more I want it, but because we are not ready yet, it just becomes depressing to think of what could be. I am one of those people that when I want something, I want it now, and when I can’t get it I feel discouraged and live in a standstill… living in wait of something, instead of living in the moment.

I realize though, I can’t control big changes like this. Our Mortgage is up next year, if we sell now, we would have a penalty to pay which we can’t afford. Simon has a a stable job, which he hates, and we hate that he has to do something he hates each day, but it is a steady income that is hard to leave behind. One day we will be ready, but it isn’t at this moment. I need to accept that. Not that I will not change our dream and work towards it, but I realize that it takes little steps.

I may not be able to control the big picture at the moment, but I can control small changes, changes within myself, external and internal. A haircut, may be just a haircut, but it also a symbol for me that I am ready. I have dropped 10lbs in the last 2 months and I plan on losing a whole lot more. I no longer feel attachment to most of the stuff in my house and I just feel like getting back into that active mode of decluttering I was in a few years ago and getting rid of as much as I can that we don’t use or need.

I might want the big change now, but I am accepting that it might take longer then I wish. But, the little changes, I can control them. The little changes I make now can only make us more ready for the future and in the meantime I will not feel at a standstill, I will be able to keep moving ahead and hope that our big dreams will be realized sooner than later.

Gyro park