My Clothes in the New House

*This will only be remotely interesting if you like reading or thinking about organizing/keeping the home/etc. Otherwise- you might want to skip this and just tune in next time. If you keep reading you can see a fuzzy picture of my closet. Wheeeeeee!!!!!!*

As I mentioned before, we just moved into our new house. We don’t anticipate moving anytime soon. On the contrary- we hope to stay for a long, long time.

I love that. It means I can unpack my stuff and buy or not buy furniture and pitch things knowing that this is the space we’re in. Furniture that family members have stored for us can come out of hiding and be put to use (or passed on to someone else). Because there is no “next house” to save furniture for- this is it!

In unpacking my clothes and bedroom stuff I thought about what I did not like from our previous houses, in terms of my clothes storage. So I am changing two things in the new house. The first is: no more storing off-season or maternity clothes in the attic. Getting in and out of the attic is a minor pain and I always seems to have a pile of things that needs to go up there or come down. This time- all my clothes will be in my room, all the time. This is totally helped by the fact that I am no longer storing maternity clothes. For the first time in SEVEN YEARS. Glory.

The second: no more clothes storage under our very-high, very-easy-to-shove-seventeen-boxes-under-it-bed. Every time we move, we talk about keeping the space under the bed clear. It looks so nice that way and let’s talk about how pleasant it would be to actually vacuum under the bed more than once when we move in and again when we move out. Well- you guys- what if we actually did it this time? I mean, what if we didn’t accummulate four years of dust under the bed, hidden by various bins and boxes? It is a wild idea, but I’m ready to try it. Seriously. Watch me.

This means that all of my clothes will go in my closet (no dresser anymore!) and that’s it. And I want to be able to put all of my clothes away easily, even when I am all caught up on laundry. (Sound familiar?) My version of a wardrobe capsule will not be determined by a number, but by the size of my closet.

It helps that I have a nice-sized closet and a row of built-in shelves on the side. And it is mine. All mine. My husband has his own closet.

Observe, via a fuzzy ipad photo:

2015/05/img_1148.jpgIf that is your blue and white scarf on the far left of my hanging stuff, please claim it. I have tried all of my sitters and tons of friends, to no avail. You left it on our coat hooks in the old house and I really like it and want to wear it now, but am too embarrassed to because of obvious reasons. I also don’t want to donate it. It is in scarf purgatory. Save it.

If you are trying to whittle down your clothes so they all fit in the space you have, I highly recommend having a friend come over and help. My friend Lisa came over and unpacked most of my closet stuff and gave me a few supportive nudges to pitch things I was on the fence about. Young Life shirt from 1999? You didn’t make the cut.

We have been here for 6 days and so far I adore my new clothes storage method. I’m positive I will continue with this level of organization, idealism, and thoughtfulness, so count on that fo’ sure. No backsliding here! No way!

More thoughts on moving/unpacking/scarves that aren’t mine to come in future weeks. Lucky for you!!!!!


Does Using What You’ve Got Save You Money?

Spoiler alert: Yes. Of course it does. No surprises there, right?

(For those just tuning in, I tried eat up the food in our pantry and freezer for the month of September. We kept our grocery spending limited mainly to produce and dairy.)

IMG_0993.JPGI hope if I scatter pictures throughout this lengthy post, I can drag your eye along until the bitter end.

Settle in, folks, for something rare and unusual. I’m going to name actual dollar amounts regarding our grocery spending. I’m going to tell you how much we spent in the months leading up to Use What You’ve Got Month and then how much we spent in September, eating from the pantry and freezer.

This is akin to a unicorn sighting- you’ll likely not see me name figures again- so lean in and really focus.

First, a few details on our grocery spending and what these numbers entail. Because whenever I hear what someone else spends on groceries, I want to know how our shopping compares:

1. Does this include toiletries? Wipes? Diapers? Or just straight-up food? Yes, these numbers include toiletries. We bought a massive amount of t.p. at Sam’s Club in August, and other little non-food items are toothpaste or baby shampoo. Wipes- nope. (We haven’t bought those in months). Diapers? One pack of overnight Huggies for maybe $20. Other than that, no need. So the vast majority of this money goes to food and food alone.

2. Do you buy organic? Gluten-free? Vegan?
Organic for maybe half of our diary, meat, and produce. Gluten-free/Vegan/Paleo/Grapefruit Diet/Anything else- nope.

IMG_1488.JPGLook! A fast horse! Are you still reading?

3. How much of your food is packaged/processed/convenience food?
This is where I admit that I never really know what people mean when they say “packaged food”. We buy pretzels- those are in a package, right? But Hamburger Helper or that type of food where you just add water? Or frozen packs you dump in a skillet and heat? Not much. We buy boxed mac and cheese and pancake mix on a regular basis. Other than that- we buy pretty simple food that has to be combined with other foods to make a meal. Clear as mud? Goooood.

4. Do you coupon or shop the sales?
Couponing- no.
If I see a food staple on sale I will buy a lot and stock up. But I don’t go from one store to another to get the best prices. Most of our grocery shopping is done at Trader Joes or at Kroger.

5. Any other outliers in your grocery spending?
We make or buy meals for friends who have babies, and we are in a reproduction-heavy time of life. So I would guess $50/mo goes toward meals for other people. I also helped throw a baby shower, and we traveled in there, so there are chunks of money going toward one-time events. Which- surprise!- seem to happen every month. So I kept them in the average.

Enough clarifiers. Here are our numbers:

From June, July, and August, our grocery spending averaged $825/mo.
For September, our bill was $415.

(Let me just swallow my shock that we spend as much as we do on food. Particularly given that we don’t have to buy for particular food allergies or insensitivities, which I know jacks a food bill up even higher. And we don’t buy all organic. Wow.)

IMG_1417.JPGA baby with a sno-cone! Keep reading!

I am pretty shocked that our grocery spending was as high as it was in September. Here’s where that money went every week:
and here and there (not every week): beer, ice cream, and lunch meat

That’s just higher than I thought it would be. I think I pictured spending about half that amount for just the basic dairy and produce.

Here’s my takeaway from last month: I liked using up our excess. I liked using our food conscientiously. We barely threw any food away. We cut our grocery bill in half for a month. All good things!

And another takeaway from our grocery spending as a whole: Our overall grocery spending (the $800/mo part) is an example of “lifestyle creep” at work. Here’s what I mean. When we were first married, our finances were tiiiiiight. We allotted $100/mo for groceries. Then I graduated from school and started working and making the big bucks, so we upped our grocery budget. Then kids came along, and we upped it a little more. All fine, within our means, and for good reasons.

But- BUT- this is where lifestyle creep comes in. We’ve had five in our family for the past few years now, yet our grocery spending has gone up by quite a bit in same time frame. $800/mo is waaaaaay past what we projected to spend on groceries per month. We’re no longer increasing our spending because there’s another mouth to feed; rather, we spend more just because…we want to? We deserve to? We don’t want to think about it?

Here’s my disclaimer: spending money is fine, and I don’t think we should all think of money all the time, everywhere. That’s dumb. And some of this increased spending is a reflection of some good internal shifts in my thinking about money.

A lot of it, though, is mindless. And I like seeing those totals to remind me to be thoughtful about our food, our money, and our excess. I’d rather not get used to- or entitled to- spending whatever I want, without much thought. Ick. I would like to be a bit more intentional than that, moving forward.

*****For those of you who are still reading, I admire your fortitude. I cannot be brief, in spite of my best efforts. And who knew that a post on eating those six month old lentils will derail into money management 101. That is all I have to say…


Nothing Has Changed. Swearsies.

IMG_1495.JPGThe paparazzi will NOT leave me alone. I have to wear big glasses now, in hopes I won’t be recognized.

No seriously.

I know that I was just cited as a “guru” in Fast Company. And, like, I was quoted and stuff. So- yeah- that means that I was interviewed by Laura Vanderkam. Because I know stuff about things- like Whole30, or getting rid of 5 things a day, or whatever else.


All this is true.

But- you guys- really. I’m still the SAME PERSON.

I still put my pants on one leg at a time. (Which is getting increasingly difficult, what with the pregnant belly and all).

So please don’t treat me any different. I’m still the same person inside. Just with one more email subscriber to my blog. And seven extra clicks today.

No really.

It is not a big deal.