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Friday, January 13, 2017

Trading Fancy for Freedom

We bought this house in January 2007. It is what the real estate market would call a "starter house", a 900 sq.ft 1924 bungalow, the biggest room a master bedroom addition. When we purchased it I thought I was pregnant was ONE baby, not twins. It is a house we planned to flip and sell in one year. The housing market of 2008 and following Recession had different plans. 

I am a walking contradiction. If you’ve known me long enough, you’ve heard me complain about my “tiny” house….and you’ve probably heard me say how I also love my house. This house is my constant battle to learn contentment. Every time I think I have it, it slips away, and I get to learn it all over again.

 I have no right to complain, but I do. All. The. Time. I complain about the tiny eat in kitchen and no dining area. I complain about the small rooms and the floor plan. I complain about the tiny living room & the sometimes sketchy neighbors.

I have had a love/hate relationship with this house, but it is my manna. My every morning reminder than God provides.

Yesterday in homeschool we studied the manna God provided the Hebrews in the desert. I tried to describe to the boys how the food of Egypt was no more nourishing than the sweet honey-flavored Manna God provided, it was just fancier, with spices and variety. As I read the Egyptians' groans over missing the food of Egypt, it was easy to judge them. How could they not be content with the sweet simple manna, when the fancy food of Egypt came with the high price of their freedom?

Then it hit me right between the eyes, how many times have I given up my freedom for “fancy”? My want for fancier clothes, house, or cars could easily lead us into slavery of debt. A want for a fancier, more exciting life could also easily lead me into slavery to sin, seeking pleasure and identity in anything other than the simple & nourishing life with which God has blessed me.

When many people lost their homes during the Great Recession, we were able to keep this small house because we could afford the small mortgage payments.  When I felt the calling to homeschool, which in our case meant we'd indefinitely be a one-income home on a social worker's salary, we could afford to do so because of this house. We also found our beloved church family only a few minutes from this house.

I’m pretty sure if the Hebrews read my post comparing manna in the desert  to my little house, a house filled with a variety of food and all the creature comforts of the modern world, they would probably throw up a little in disgust.  I am spoiled beyond belief, almost disgustingly so. Lord, never let me forget the sweet and simple miracle that is my home, my marriage, and my family.

Lord, never let me give up my freedom for the fancy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

How to Make Money from Decluttering

 Decluttering has help me stay organized, changed how I spend money, and given me a peace of mind that comes through living more simply.  It was a long emotional journey that taught me to be true to myself. 

When you begin your quest to delutter, know that it will be a time investment.  Living simply does not come easily for me by any means (seriously, I am not an organized person), but the effort has been well worth the investment  Thankfully, I have found that my time investment not only pays in peace of mind, but can also pay in actual money. 

Tips for making money from Decluttering

1.) Have a specific goal for the money.

Having a specific goal helps in any project, but especially when you are a decluttering.  Knowing where the money goes will give you motivation in the journey.  Keeping your goal in mind can be the difference in keeping something you on the fence about, and decluttering it.

When I first began decluttering my bedroom, my goal was to make enough money to buy new 6 new curtain panels for the windows in my bedroom. When I began on the basement, it was to pay for new shelves and storage tubs.  I accomplished both of these goals by following the next two tips....
I made $225 from decluttering this basement area, which was enough to buy these two new heavy duty shelves. 

2.)  Price to sell quickly

Price using garage sale prices, or storing items to sell is just adding back to the clutter!!!! Do not be blinded by what you paid for it, that is a one of the biggest obstacles to decluttering!  

I sold a solid oak table for $125, even though consignment stores sell the same table for about $350 to $400.  I had kept it for several years hoping to use it my "dream house" someday even though it didn't fit in my current house. I also kept it because I knew how much I MIGHT be able to sell it for if I cleaned it up and really marketed it.  That IS NOT DECLUTTERING, that is opening a second hand store.  The real goal here must be  to get rid of things that steal your peace, making a little extra is just a bonus.

3.) If it's worth less than $10, donate it (remember to get the tax deduction receipt).

I have tried every different online selling site, and anything under $10 is just not worth the headache of scheduling pick ups, or storing until it sells. My time is also money, and the time scheduling pick ups, tracking who is coming when, and storing items until they are bought is NOT WORTH IT.  

We LOVE Goodwill drive through donation centers.  As soon as I get a bag packed to donate, it goes in my trunk.  When I am near a goodill I drop off any bags in the trunk and get the receipt for tax deduction. Every year, those deductions add up to money in my pocket!

 I know some people have a problem with Goodwill, but I shop there regularly for my clothes, and am deeply thankful for people who donate their items!

4.) If it's worth less than $20,
do bin pick-up at your house, or within a few blocks.
I don't sell on Craiglist anymore, only Facebook marketplace. Convenience is important, but safety is key. Facebook marketplace allows me to see the buyer's profile, and also if we have any mutual friends. NEVER invite someone you don't know into your house if you are alone, ever. 

BIN PICK-UP-I have a waterproof plastic storage tub on my front porch.  I put the the item in it the day of pick up, and buyer leaves the money in my mailbox. Easy peasy, and no opening my door to a stranger. I've never had anyone take item without paying, but if I did, oh well, I was decluttering anyways!

 I also have public library only 3 minutes from my house, so I do meet-ups there if I don't know the person, or we do not have any mutual Facebook friends in common.  

Occasionally I will meet someone father away, but only if I am already in that area for another reason.  Remember, your time is money too. 

If over $20, I will travel a little father than the library or somewhere where I'll already be. I recently drove half hour to sell something, but it was a $75 sale, and worth it.  I ran errands at stores near the meet-up while out and about.  When selling our big table, they had to come to my house, but I made sure it was when my husband was home for safety sake.