We are now 9 days into 2011, and it has taken me these 9 days to actually figure out what it is I want to do in 2011. We already had some pretty lofty goals, but over the past week, we have fine tuned them into much better goals. First off here were our old goals:
OLD 2011 Goals:
-Lose 50 pounds in whatever way possible
-Save up $3500
-Move to Washington
-Quit working at my Current Job
-Get Mr. Gaunt enrolled in School
-Find a nice 3 Bedroom Townhouse or Duplex
Now those are all lovely goals and all, but there were glaring problems. Things took a turn for the worst this week when I went to couples counseling BY MYSELF. You see, over the last month I was having a very difficult time getting a handle on my emotions. So I went to therapy alone and we discussed what it is that is making me unhappy. It all boiled down to two things:
-I WANT MORE
-I AM ON A PATH WHERE MORE MAY NOT BE OBTAINABLE
I went home feeling like “I can’t marry Mr. Gaunt because he can not provide me with MORE” now I know that sounds completely insane…and it really is. But it was more complicated than that. The “MORE” I so desperately wanted looked a little something like this:
-More money to pay off my car
-More time to do the things I wanted
-More money to pay for a wedding photographer
-More self control to lose weight
-More clothes to feel cuter
-More sales with our paintings
-More money to pay for our $2500 moving truck
Now see, not all of those are bad things. In fact I’m sure you too could easily make a MORE list. Things that you want so very badly, but cant seem to acquire. My mom calls it:
“KEEPING UP WITH THE
And its true! I have had 4 friends or pseudo friends all get engaged since we got engaged. And ALL of them got much larger surprise rings. They all posted pics of their hand flashing their big old rock. I WANT THAT! I wanted a bigger ring! I wanted Mr. Gaunt to provide me with MORE ring! It wasnt FAIR!! (throws tantrum)
And our very good friends Jenny and Justin (who have baby Liam) live in a very nice size house, where they just remodeled their huge basement. To me they have everything. We always go to their house because they have the space to hang out, and our house doesn’t. I want MORE house!
So you see, I was taking all my insecurities about what I DONT have and placing it all on Mr. Gaunt, making him THE ENEMY. Truth be told I do have hopes and dreams for Mr. Gaunt to be successful in life, but not just so he can give me MORE, but so he can be HAPPY. And that is where the great confusion lies:
MORE WILL MAKE ME HAPPY.
And for the records, Millions of Americans have been brainwashed into thinking this exact same thing, so don’t shake your head at me. You probably want MORE right now too.
So that is what brings us to today. Today I feel happier than I have felt in 4 months, despite the fact that I have $32 in my bank account, ZERO gas in my car, and house that looks like a complete and utter disaster. Its cool, because WE have a plan!
And no our plan does not require MORE.
In fact it requires a whole lot LESS of everything.
First off the BIG MOVE! Yay we are so very excited for this change…but oh wait…theres a hiccup. Where will we be living? How much can we afford? And worst yet, How will we get ALL of our STUFF from here to there?
A little over a week ago I calculated these costs:
-Moving Truck $800
-Trailor Hitch (to tow one car) $350
-Gas for Truck (from Co to WA) $800
-2 Hotels $100
-Gas for 2nd Car $285
-Food, and other such needs $60
GRAND TOTAL TO GET ALL OF OUR STUFF FROM LITTLETON COLORADO TO BELLINGHAM WA: $2395
Well that my friends is not going to happen. I did NOT work 2 jobs and paint 20 paintings to blow almost all of our money on a 2 day drive…no way! We still have a wedding coming up, and we will need to get a new place to rent (including deposits) and what about my job? I really wanted to quit and work somewhere part-time while I worked on the paintings!
And so we after LONG talks and much research the two of us, have BOTH decided to do something a little crazy.
We are getting rid of EVERYTHING. All of it. Furniture, Kitchen stuff, Clothing, Books, Knickknacks, Computers, Clutter, Stuff, Art Supplies. It is all being sold or given away or thrown away.
Now we of course will be keeping some things. We can’t live with nothing. So we came up with the following Guidelines for every item:
1. DO WE USE IT DAILY?
2. CAN IT EASILY BE REPLACED?
3. DO WE HAVE MULTIPLES?
4. IS IT IN GOOD SHAPE?
5. DOES IT MAKE A MESS?
6. COULD IT BE SOLD?
7. WOULD IT FIT IN A MUCH SMALLER HOUSE?
8. COULD IT BE STORED ELSEWHERE?
9. WILL WE NEED IT IN 6 MONTHS?
10. IS YOUR LIFE REALLY BETTER BECAUSE OF IT?
Answering those 10 questions will help us determine what will actually come with us. Some things we know for sure that we will be bringing are the following:
-Bed Frame and Mattress (box spring is in bad shape and will not be coming)
-1 Desktop Computer & Printer
-Minimal Kitchen ware (4 sets of dishes) (2 pans) (1 pot) (2 Cookies Sheets) etc.
The list goes on a bit, but you would be surprised as to what we are getting rid of. I am cutting my art supplies by about 70% and donating them to the Ronald Mcdonald House. I am only bringing resource books and NOT novels. All Furniture will be sold on Craigslist. I will be cutting my make up and jewelry down to only items I wear every single week and will be shipping the rest off to friends. Other things that will be coming are expensive lamps and electronics, things that wouldn’t sell for what they are really worth.
To move what we do have, it will cost us $400 to rent a trailer and have a hitch installed on the Subaru. Plus gas. That saves us about $1600!
Now you may be assuming we will just replace these things when we move….nope. We will be replacing a few things, like the couch and the coffee table. However we are planning on moving into a small one bedroom apartment. We are hoping to find a place under $600 a month. Therefore our large sectional and coffee table really wouldn’t fit anyway, so we will be getting smaller items. This goes for our desks and bookshelves. If we move and we find we need something, then yes we can replace it, but the point is not to get rid of and replace.
Basically it comes down to this:
-We both work 40 hours a week at a job we HATE so the we can afford to live in a large nice place to fill full of stuff.
-We fight about money because we are living at the top of our means.
-We have so much stuff that we no longer use or appreciate most of.
-We find that shopping is one of our few hobbies
-We spend evenings and weekends cleaning, washing, and organizing our stuff, instead of doing fun things.
-We can never save to buy a house because we are already capped off financially
-School or career changes seem impossible, as we must continue to work full time to pay for our stuff.
-We keep stuff for “a rainy day” but when that day comes we forget that we have that stuff buried under other stuff, so we just buy new stuff.
-We have collections of things to use with friends, but our house is so crowded and small that we never have friends over.
-We want children one day, and lordy do they come with more stuff.
So there it is. Stuff and consumption is ruining our lives. And we want it to stop!
-We want to live simply. We want to have little enough stuff that we can comfortably live in 700 sq ft.
-We want little enough dishes that even when every dish is dirty it doesn’t fill the sink.
-We want our closets for hanging coats, not storing stuff we don’t use
-We want to do 1 load of laundry a week, not 8 loads every 2 weeks.
-We want to produce a bag or less of garbage a week
-We want to recycle
-We want “cleaning day” to be dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing toilets…and that it. Not spending 4 hours moving around stuff.
-We want to have most of our money go to SAVINGS and ENTERTAINMENT
-We want ENTERTAINMENT to be vacations, and nice meals, and fun with friends. Not shopping
-We want Mr. Gaunt to go to school and have the option to work part-time without it affecting our bills
-We want me to be able to work part-time and full-time with my paintings.
-We want to spend our money on quality organic groceries
-We want our lives to be spent outside and in the community more.
-We want to fight about Chess Games, not Money Games.
So there it is. That is our plan. Along with this comes a number of new wedding plans (also downsizing) and new health and job plans. This post is already a million miles long, so I’ll save those for a later date. Today I’m still in the process of going through our stuff….but dreaming of the day when we have no stuff to go through.
If you need to understand things a little better, feel free to watch this movie, or go to storyofstuff.org