What an exhausting week! We are working so hard on getting our new house ready to officially move in to. We are still living in our apartment for most of April while we take care of some projects that need to be done at the house: painting the three main rooms and then tearing out the carpets. That’s not the last of the work that needs to be done by any means, but it’s what needs to be done before we can move in.
And boy is it work. We’ve been going straight to the house after work each night to paint and/or prep things for painting, sometimes not getting out of there until after 10. Honestly it’s beginning to feel like there is no end in sight! I know it will all pay off when we’ve created a space that we love, but sometimes that day feels decades away. The work is gratifying but it is tiring.
So to help me keep my eye on the prize, I thought I’d make my first house post about all the things I’m so looking forward to doing and having as part of our new home.
Our front porch
You know, after living in dirty abandoned rec centers, wilderness lodges, dorms, and churches over the course of my year in AmeriCorps, I’d like to think I’m pretty darned low-maintenance when it comes to housing. Give me a warm place to sleep, a working toilet and shower and sink, and I’ll be okay. I’ve survived worse. But we all have our pet luxuries, and this is mine. You don’t know what it means to me that I never have to endure another Midwest summer in the upper unit of an old duplex with no central air conditioning. Especially now that I’m going to spend the summer marathon training. The extra balance on the energy bill is worth not spending the next 5 months miserable.
Our back patio and yard
A perfect-sized space for summer get-togethers. Hopefully to be complete with a fire pit one day!
Fall is going to be such a fun time in our home. We’ll hopefully be settled in and done with some major projects by then, and we’re hoping to be able to host Thanksgiving and also host our first Christmas! That means putting up our first tree and Christmas decorations! In the 5.5 years I’ve lived in Milwaukee, I’ve never had a Christmas here. Not only will it be so fun to have family in our new home for the holidays, it will be nice to not have to travel for them this year.
Oh, and I also can’t wait to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween!
Those ol’ beds may not look like much now, but wait til you see once I’ve plented ’em full of veggies, which we can then hopefully use to power a much better diet for ourselves. Having my garden right there on my own property will prevent me from utterly failing at it this time…right???
AND a compost bin!
I’ve wanted a compost bin FOR-E-VER. Sure enough, look what’s hangin’ out in our backyard! YESSSS.
For all the temporary stress it creates, one of the best things about moving is the clean slate. Getting a fresh start, a do-over. I feel like that’s kind of a cop-out, because if you really want to make a change you can just do it, right? You shouldn’t need an excuse or some outside event to give yourself permission.
But on the other hand, changing your environment can have such an impact on behavior and mindset. Without the constant reminders and triggers for your usual habits and auto-pilot behaviors, it really is easier to turn over the proverbial new leaf once you move to a new place.
Moving has us thinking more about the kind of lifestyle we want to lead and how we want our home to enable that lifestyle and reflect our values. We want to take full advantage of this opportunity to build new habits while we’re building a new home.
Moving is already helping me in the practice of minimalism, because in the process of packing everything in our apartment and getting ready to move it to the new house, we’re forced to really evaluate each of our things and decide whether it is worth packing or whether it has a place in our new home. We have the opportunity to start over with a minimal amount of possessions and just try not to add to it. The house is a blank slate where clutter hasn’t had the chance to camp out in nooks and crannies or hide in plain sight – all we will have is what we choose to add.
We’ve also both become really interested in the pursuit of a zero-waste lifestyle. Of all the ways to practice minimalism, this is the one that intrigues me the most and the one I want to lean into. It will take some work to figure out what a zero waste home looks like for us, but I am grateful for this opportunity to begin building new habits and hopefully eliminating some of the things that trigger our current wastefulness.
We also want to start living more active lifestyles. I admit this one really isn’t directly related to homeownership, but as long as we’re in the spirit of fresh starts and positive changes, I’m throwing it in.
I suppose it sounds odd that someone who runs and trains for marathons would complain that she doesn’t live an active enough lifestyle. But it is absolutely possible, and I’m living proof. I mean, hey, marathon training is not to be taken lightly. But doesn’t it seem odd to run 50 miles a week and then spend most of the rest of your time sitting…in cars, at desks, in front of televisions?
I’m not going to give up running or marathon training, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I haven’t chosen the healthiest way to live even though I am a runner. Instead of getting my activity in intense bouts of exercise and then spending the majority of my day sitting, wouldn’t it make more sense to just be more active in general? Ride my bike to and from work, walk to stores and other places when I can, tend to a garden, cook more, and oh yeah, do HOUSE work?
I’m sure on some level I’m underestimating the amount of work it takes to change behavior and make new habits, but I’m excited for this opportunity to finally gain some momentum in creating the life I really want to live. The biggest thing this life change has done for us is to allow us to feel like we’re not stuck anymore – stuck in a crummy apartment, in an unhealthy lifestyle, in a boring life with no change or challenge. It’s so invigorating to feel like I’m working toward something again, like I’m finally creating something.