26 July 2013

The Household Means & Ways

The dumpster arrived this morning and the kitchen remodel kicks off this afternoon. It's been a tough week for us trying to narrow down what is left of our choices and has included an 11th hour addition and removal of work which I'll discuss in an upcoming post. The main take away this week has been living within our means in all ways: physically, emotionally, and monetarily.

This was a common phrase in my household growing up. It stemmed from money issues that everyone has and both my brother and I had eyes bigger than our stomachs and pockets. It was a hard lesson to learn and  it took years of bad debt for me to finally get the idea that living within my means was not just an old fashioned idea but a very prudent way of life.

I still have money issues to a much smaller degree than I did in my 20's. Budgeting is easy, sticking to the budget is hard especially when one is doing home renovations. In our household, Jeff is the breadwinner easily even when he's off work for months at a time and that makes budgeting for renovations a bit tricky as when he is home, we're doing remodeling but he's not working and when he's working he's not home so we're not making changes and cleaning things up -- it's a bit of a catch 22 really.

One of many 'dream homes' on Pinterest.
A harder thing still is keeping my idea of a dream house/kitchen/bath/etc in check. Pinterest was a huge help in putting together my ideas in a visual way that I could explain things to Jeff, but the downside is having these huge ideas and trying to fit them into the space we have with the money we've saved. It does me no good to lust after a garden design that requires acres of manicured space as that is not the home I have, nor is it likely that I will ever have that home. Same with kitchens. I can look at these gorgeous kitchens from magazines, but the reality of what my house is verses what I pin may be gulf sized in variance. 

Once I realized that I could actually live within my means and design a home space that was functional and reflected our tastes without being cheaply manufactured, or something I'd be bored with in a few years, the social desire of keeping up with the Jones' flat-lined. My goal is to finish this house, room by room, and leave it alone so that when we go to sell it in 30 years, it's fabulously outdated. I *want* to be the little old lady with the kitchen that is Soooo 2013, mainly because I want to love the space I have enough that its functionality permits me to make preserves and sweets for gifts, and lavish dinners for family and friends. I want that, those memories, more than I want the trends. It makes it much easier for us because we don't have a plan to move, or sell, for many decades barring something unforeseen. 

It's an unfortunate bummer that it took me decades to figure out why living within ones means and ability is so important.

The flip side to DIY is knowing when to fold them, as it were. Again, Pinterest has a bajillion and ten (I counted) DIY examples and a lot of them are really good... but. But. Some things should just be left to the professionals if one doesn't know what they're doing, has not used tools before, or really 'functional' means macaroni art. Which is not to degrade macaroni art whatsoever, but you might not want someone who touts that as their mechanical and artistic ability putting up wallpaper, right? We each have our skills and pitfalls. Knowing that we can't do everything is not a bad thing at all.

And so the big renovation begins. Tonight we'll pause with a bottle of mead, make offerings and really take a moment to appreciate each other for all the crazy and good points leading up to this moment.

Besides, you can't really go wrong starting out with mead, right?

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