home is where the couch is

our first house. her big plans. his hard work.

Posted by Terri |


After renovating our back room, we had renovation burn out. We still have a few things to finish in the back - some wood trim around the fireplace, painting the French doors, installing a guide for the sliding bathroom doors and finishing the step to the dining room. We think about it...and then we go stick our heads in some trivial pursuit like browsing the internet.

This renovation did do something to my head though. Having a dining room full of stuff for so long made me realize how much unnecessary junk we've been holding on to. After we cleaned up, I started selling things, donating or tossing stuff that just took up space. I painted everything white. I just needed things to be clean and empty.

I got rid of a china cabinet, piano, humungous desk (which The Man is still not happy about, but seriously, we just put papers on it and it was huge), extra beds, dressers. I can't even remember everything I've thrown out the door.

Things that I've been pondering lately is our obsession as a culture of consumerism. Since our reno, I've been reading minimalist blogs like Becoming Minimalist, miss minimalist, The Minimalists, and other blogs on mindfulness and being aware of what we are doing with our money and time. The Man recently handed me a book called The 4 Hour Work Week and even though I barely have started it, it's about how to make money, work smart and enjoy life, rather than the focus on being make money to buy stuff.

We as a society are often taught to grow up, get married, have kids, buy a big house, fill it with stuff, shove it full to the brim with crap you don't need, upgrade, always upgrade, put yourself in debt buying things, it'll make you happy, and then, what? Save up to go on vacation and get away from your burdensome life? I'm tired of living like this. My goals aren't to have tons of stuff, but they're to have stuff that I like, stuff that I use, stuff that makes me happy and doesn't require a ton of my space and time to maintain it.

So I'm revamping my mindset. Sure, I love decorating and renovating. We're probably not going to stop having projects because as a couple, that's what we like to do. We like improving things. But I'm going to try and not fill up those renovated spaces with useless items, unless they bring me absolute joy to look at them.

My goal is to have a home that has things we need and love, not things that we have for the sake of having them. Things take up psychic space in your brain. Don't you feel better when you've cleaned and purged a room? Objects hold onto you. I'm done with that. I want to be in control of my things, not have them in control of me.

This is a work in progress of course. I recently heaved everything up from the basement and once again filled my dining room up with everything. (I don't have a garage. One would be handy to have.) My basement is a dungeon. It has fieldstone walls, a really crappy cement floor and smells musty. We have our washer, dryer and small freezer down there along with the mechanics of the house. It's not very big, it doesn't go all the way under my house, just the foyer and kitchen. So it can get crowded. It also have almost all of the Man's tools down there. Let me tell you, he has a lot. And he needs every single one of them.

Sometimes I get frustrated. I have a table saw and mitre saw in my dining room all the time because they're too big to get into the basement. Sometimes I think, why do we have this house, that is soon going to be too big for 2 people once we become empty nesters. It doesn't have a garage, my kitchen hasn't been fixed up in 40+ years, my basement smells even with two humidifiers running in it, I also have a treadmill in my dining room (poor thing) that belongs in a basement...why do I live in an older home when I really need a subdivision house??

And then I step into my backyard which is filled with trees and a creek running through it and I'm a 10 minute walk from downtown and the majority of my neighbours are great (except for the screamy nutbar across the street).

I'm so torn.

11:14 AM


Posted by Terri |

We've been living with our beautiful back room for a few months now. I think after a year and a half of renovating, we're now in do nothing mode. Recuperating.

One thing that has come out of this reno is a change of mindset for me. With our dining room looking like a hoarders house during our renovation, I've found that the weight of stuff has literally been weighing down my psyche. Things and crowded spaces have been making my mind feel heavy. I've been feeling like I need space to think.

So, I actually haven't just been doing nothing. I've been purging. Our dining room - pre-reno - had our dining room table and chairs, a china cabinet, piano and library card catalogue in it. Oh, and a treadmill. That's a lot of stuff for one room. So crowded and full of places to hide junk.

This was taken in 2007 but hadn't really changed since then. Take away the desk and buffet and add a treadmill and china cabinet.

I went through my china cabinet and was fairly deliberate and mindful about what I was going to keep and what I was going to get rid of.

Table cloths, craft supplies I never used, knick knacks, candles. All of these things went. Honestly, I never used these things and they were just something I had to clean or organize. Out they all went. Along with the china cabinet.

I moved some shelves I had in the living room and put them in the kitchen. The things I kept from the china cabinet went on the shelves.

The piano that loomed large and dark, although it was fairly cool looking - gone. The piano bench - gone. The yellow paint that had been on the walls for the last 11 years. Gone and repainted white. Currently, I just feel I need to paint everything white so that I can breathe. I love colour and am sure I will change it up when I find I get to the place where I can focus and am ready to add colour substance to the house. But for now, white is calling.

I've been reading and researching minimalism for the last few months. I've been reading blogs and books, reading real life accounts of peoples journeys of getting rid of things, of peoples attachment to stuff and how it affects you. It's been pretty eye opening and interesting on how our society pushes you to buy and that you need, when there is a whole different way of living. Like, have only the things you love and use.

Now I'm not saying I'm planning on getting rid of everything in my house and only want to own 100 things. That kind of minimalism is a little extreme for me. But I do want to begin to go through my house with a harsh eye and get rid of the junk that weighs me down.

After going through my china cabinet and tossing or donating over half the stuff in there, I thought, am I going to miss any of this? I don't. I had a bit of a hard time getting rid of the candles - I don't know why, they're cheap enough to re-buy. But my boy helped me out by pyroing the whole lot of them and making such a mess they needed to be tossed. The freedom I felt was great.