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Loving Life On A Budget

2014 Review…Happy New Year!

GO Mantel

In January, I randomly threw these items on our mantel after putting away the Christmas decorations. My husband pointed out that our mantel said “Go”, and we had no idea how true this was going to be throughout the year. We had not yet purchased the land we are living on today, but we were discussing selling our house this year. Our house had more issues than I care to list, and we knew we would never get the money back out of the house. Mid-January, we put an offer on our land. After a lot of negotiations and standing firm on our offer, we finally purchased the 25 acres in late February.

driveway

When we knew purchasing the land was going to happen, we started working like crazy to get the house ready to sell. We rebuilt the privacy fence, which led to a nail through my foot. After that, I supervised my sweet husband as he did his best to make our yard look desirable. We cleaned, de-cluttered, packed, and painted throughout March.

New FenceOn April 1st, the for sale sign went in the yard. I spent my days cleaning and waiting on the phone to ring. I would make sure the house was ready for a showing at a moment’s notice, then go to the craft room to work on Christmas presents. I know that sounds crazy, but I didn’t know when we would be moving or if I would have the ability to keep my crafting supplies with me. I finished work for the summer at the beginning of May and did my best to stay calm and hopeful. There had been no showings, and we were concerned. Unfortunately, about the time we listed our house, the market slowed to a crawl and nothing was selling. As the summer went on, we continued to live constantly cleaning. By July, we had enough and decided to go to Atlanta for the day. While having lunch, we got a phone call and ended up racing home. We had two showings that night and both families made offers. We accepted one of them, and the fun began! After much discussion, we packed up the house and moved everything to storage. The house closed on September 12th, and we moved into the RV.

RV Home

In order for us to do this, August was filled with packing, cleaning, moving, laying water  and power lines, and putting in the driveway. On September 11th, we pulled the RV (packed heavier than it should be) out the driveway as we left our house for the last time. Yes, I was sad, but I was also very excited.

house site

By the end of September, the house build had begun, and we had settled into RV living. We got a good bit of rain right after we moved here and that was a very difficult time for us. We couldn’t get the dogs outside to play, and we had to fight muddy paws when we could get them out. After that, we had a nice stretch of beautiful dry weather. We enjoyed time outside and the building moved along quickly. In early November, we drove down to my Dad’s house for the weekend. It was nice to stay in a house! While there, we drove down to Charleston to visit the in-laws since they were in town. That’s really the only trip we took this year. I’m looking forward to a vacation next year!

Dried In Front

The house was dried in by mid November, and the very next day rain returned! We have had rain off and on since then, but they still come and work on the inside when it’s raining. Over Thanksgiving and into the first week of December, the dry wall was installed and finished. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel and participated in the craziness that is Black Friday shopping. We even purchased our appliances during the Black Friday sales.

Christmas TreeThe Christmas tree in the camper is my little Charlie Brown tree…sad…I know. However, I did have the kids at school make paper ornaments for a tree I decorated in a local contest. We entered to win a $1,000 grant for our after school program, so I hope people are voting for our tree. Since I didn’t have a tree to decorate of my own, I had fun decorating this one.

For Christmas, we packed up and went to my Dad’s house for almost two weeks. It was so nice to use a real shower, sleep in a real bed, and have access to a washer and dryer. It rained almost the whole time we were there, but we still had a good time with Dad. We were excited to return home and see the progress that had been made while we were away. Unfortunately, not much had been done due to all the rain.

Back of House Dec 2014

I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by! We have been so blessed this year, and I am very thankful we decided to take this opportunity. This year hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth every bit of blood, sweat, and tears we have shed throughout this experience. The house isn’t done yet, and RV living is still our life, but we hope to spend most of 2015 enjoying our new home and welcoming others to enjoy it with us. I’m excited about 2015, and I hope you are too! Happy New Year! 🙂

Happy New Year!

 

 

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5 Things I Learned While Selling My House

Sold House

  1. Declutter! Most Realtors will tell you to declutter your home before putting it on the market. Their reasoning is the people looking at your home need to be able to picture themselves living in your house. This doesn’t work well if there is an abundance of personal items all over the shelves and walls. That means most of the family pictures need to be boxed up. Fortunately for us, we don’t have a ton of family pictures around, so one little box took care of that for us. The benefit I found in doing some pre-packing is it made the daily cleaning a lot quicker. Dusting takes less time when there are less items to dust! Before we listed our home, I went through every room and boxed up anything I could do without for a while. This has actually helped move our packing process along quite nicely now that the house has sold.
  2. Pick a Realtor you trust. I was fortunate enough to know exactly who I was going to call when we decided to sell our home. If you are like me, you probably know a few Realtors, but trust your instinct when picking the one you want to sell your home. There is a lot that can go wrong, so pick someone you know is trustworthy and will tell you exactly what you need to do and when it needs to be done. Working with a friend is great, because you know them personally and can even text them without feeling like you are crossing a line. Having the personal relationship has made this such an easy process. Some people prefer to have a strictly professional relationship with their selling Realtor and that’s fine too. I just feel the personal connection really makes the process a lot easier and provides more benefits.
  3. It’s OK to say “No.” I had a call one day from a Realtor wanting to show our house in 30 minutes. We may not have children yet, but we do have two dogs that I had to remove from the house. Not to mention, it was my birthday and I had decided to give myself the day off from cleaning. The house was a mess! I rescheduled the appointment for later in the day, cleaned like crazy, removed the dogs from the house and the people never showed up to look at it. I cried and felt horrible about not being prepared. Then I came to the realization that if someone really wants to see my house, they won’t mind rescheduling. I’m almost positive those people didn’t show up because we were just added to a list as a comparison. That day I came to the conclusion that it’s ok to tell them no and request another time. Try not to do this, but let’s just be honest and say only giving 30 minutes is quite ridiculous. This is also where having a Realtor you trust and can openly communicate with is important. One day, we had to say no because we were too far away to get home in time to remove the dogs. Right after we got the phone call, I texted my Realtor to see if we could reschedule and he made it happen by contacting the other Realtor personally. This actually resulted in the showing that sold our house, so always make sure the Realtor is in the loop!
  4. Be Patient. This one was tough for us, because we are both very impatient people. It took about 4 months for our house to sell. It’s hard not knowing when it will sell; especially when you are wanting to build your new home and have to wait for the house to sell first. Every day I would catch myself staring at my phone just hoping it would ring. This, my friends, will make you crazy! Even though it’s hard, try to go about your day as usual. The phone will ring when it’s time, and it will probably ring a lot until you get a contract. I did find that our calls usually came around 2-4 pm.
  5. This Too Shall Pass! Probably the hardest part of this whole process, other than the waiting, is keeping the house clean enough for a showing. Remember, we don’t want to have to say no, but it’s ok if necessary. In order to be ready, the house must be clean. (As a side note, I actually questioned some friends who had recently bought houses. They all said if the house was not clean when they walked in, they were less likely to consider it as a possibility. Cleanliness makes a big difference!) The best thing to do is get into a routine. Dishes, vacuuming, wiping down the bathrooms and keeping the dirty clothes at bay can be done quickly each day with a routine. However, the hardest part is keeping everything looking good until you feel it’s safe to dirty things again that day. I would wait until at least 6pm to cook dinner, because I felt it was a safe bet no one would call at that point. Try to find a way to use this time for something you enjoy and it will take your mind off wanting the phone to ring and having to sit in a perfectly cleaned house. Since I wasn’t sure what our temporary living arrangement would be, I decided to go ahead and make some Christmas gifts to pass the time. Do your best to find the good in the situation and keep in mind this is only temporary!

This has been quite the process and it’s not over yet! This is not our first move, but it’s definitely the biggest move yet. Over the next few months, I plan to write about our journey while building our new home and the adventures we have in our temporary home! 🙂

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Weekly Favorites 3/28/14

I’ve been so busy this week that I didn’t realize it was already Friday! I have spent almost no time online this week, so I didn’t find any favorites to share. However, we did complete two projects that have been in the works for a while. So those are going to be my favorites for this week!

Coat Rack

I’m loving my new coat rack! I’m going to be honest, I have yet to use it or to even put it in the room where I want it to be located. I just love how nice it turned out! It’s sitting in the living room right now, because I cleaned the carpet in our room today. I have a massive collection of coats and jackets that pile up in the corner where I walk in the door. This is going to be the perfect solution just in time for me to wash and put away all the coats and jackets for summer! There’s always next year…

desk

This is our new desk! I liked it ok until I started staining it. After I saw it stained, I fell in love. Too bad this is my husband’s desk and not mine. The good news is that if we wanted to work side by side the desk is long enough for us to do that comfortably. It’s larger than I thought it would be, but it turned out beautifully.

In case you are interested, I found both the plans for these online and pinned them months ago. The coat rack directions can be found here, and the desk plans are here.

Most people get rid of furniture when they are planning to move…we just make more! Our furniture building is going on hold now until we sell the house. Until then, I will be making plans for our next furniture building adventure 🙂

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Great Homemade Carpet Cleaner!

I have a room in my basement that has a door to the back yard. The dogs are constantly in and out of this door bringing with them the red dirt from our yard. After getting past the initial big red area of carpet at the door, you can follow the paw prints where they circle the room when they come inside. It has never really bothered me that this carpet looks horrible. We have been planning for a few years to split this room into a shop and a laundry room, so I haven’t bothered to take care of the carpet like I should. Bad. Idea. Now that we are preparing to sell our house, this carpet has become a nightmare. I don’t want to replace it, so I have to get it clean. This is what it looked like, and let me just say this picture is being very generous with not showing how dark those stains are.

Carpet Before

 

I own a carpet cleaner, but I have not been impressed by it’s cleaning ability during the maybe three times that I’ve used it. I also don’t use it often because the detergent for the machine is so expensive. By the time I buy enough detergent to clean all the carpets in my house, I could pay someone to come do it for me. I decided to give this cleaner one more chance, but use a homemade detergent instead of the store bought detergent. Here is what happened.

Carpet During

Do you see that line? I just about jumped for joy! Does my carpet look brand new? Nope. But it doesn’t scream that it needs to be replaced anymore! There are a few stubborn spots that wouldn’t come out, but they are noticeably less visible. I can live with that.

Carpet After

This homemade detergent has made my day and is going to save us so much money! The only thing I didn’t already have in my house was liquid fabric softener. So I spent $1 on some at the Dollar Tree. Considering I only used two tablespoons of it today, I think it will last me a while. The recipe does contain vinegar, and it did have a slight vinegar smell. To be honest, I was too cheap  didn’t want to buy essential oils, so I didn’t have that to cover up the vinegar smell. It wasn’t a strong smell though, so it didn’t bother me. My carpet is now dry and it does not smell like vinegar.

I now know I have a great carpet cleaner and all it needed to work properly was the right detergent. I already have it filled and ready to do the other carpets in the house. I have high hopes after the difference it made on the basement carpet. Want the recipe? Go here and try it! You won’t be sorry! 🙂

 

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From Mirror To Cork Board

We are in the process of moving our office downstairs. I’m using a whole room for my crafting supplies, desk, and bookshelf. My Dad brought up an old vanity for me a few years ago, and it has been sitting in the corner of the basement since it arrived. I decided it is the perfect size for a desk! My current desk is larger than I need, but it would make a great crafting table. So I got my husband to help me move the vanity into the room I claimed for crafting and desk work. There was only one problem with the idea of using the vanity as my desk. I don’t want to stare at myself in a very large mirror while I’m on the computer. 

MirrorI thought about painting it with chalkboard paint, but then I decided I didn’t want the chalk mess all over my computer. So I went over to Hobby Lobby and bought a roll of cork board. After sticking a pin through the cork board, I discovered one layer was not going to be thick enough. Fortunately, I had four cork squares I had used in my preschool classroom a few years ago. I removed their fabric cover and cut them to puzzle piece them together as the first layer on the mirror. I used my hot glue gun to attach the pieces to each other.

Mirror with first layer of corkNext, I laid this piece of glued together cork board onto the rolled cork board to cut a piece the same size. I glued the pieced together layer to the mirror and began placing the rolled cork on top. Push pins were used to hold the top layer of cork to the bottom until I was ready to glue them together. 

Cork pinned downOnce everything was lined up, I took a few pins out at a time and hot glued the top layer to the bottom layer. Since the top layer had been rolled up, it wanted to bubble up in the middle. Every time I glued a section, I pushed my hand from the middle of the mirror to the edge where the glue was to make sure it stretched out as flat as possible. 

Vanity with cork boardHere is the finished product. Well…not really. I plan to paint the desk and recover the seat. I just don’t have time for all that right now. That’s a project for another day. Right now, it serves the purpose I need it to serve.

Now it’s time to start moving all my stuff downstairs. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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The Last Time I Try To Re-purpose Wood

Earlier this week, I posted about replacing our privacy fence last weekend. With all that old fence board pilled up in my yard this week, my mind was racing with all the ideas of things to make with the ones that were still usable. I had grand plans for those old boards! Last night my husband informed me to pick what I wanted because the rest would be heading to the landfill this morning. So after dinner, I went out to pick the best boards. While under the carport shuffling through boards, I lost my balance. It was like slow motion. I knew it was coming, but could not stop it. That’s right, a nail came right through the bottom of my shoe. Sadly, my brand new shoes will now leak when I walk in the rain. Even more sad is the fact I had to go to urgent care this morning to have it looked at and get antibiotics. Thank goodness I had a tetanus shot less than three years ago. That is the last time I try to re-purpose wood. The doctor visit and medicine cost me more than it would have cost to just go to Lowe’s and buy the wood. Lesson learned. Now I’m going to go prop my foot up and read a good book. Walking around is not going to be my first choice of activities for the next few days. Now as a friendly suggestion, if you have not had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years, go get it! You never know when something like this will happen. Trust me, a nail through the foot is enough pain without having to get a shot on top of it. 🙂

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New Fence!

A couple weekends ago, my sweet husband was removing old cross ties from our front yard that were placed to mark a flower bed. While he was working on this, we noticed how bad our privacy fence was looking. Upon further inspection, we found it was rotted and in need of repair. This weekend we decided to take care of that, because who wants to do this kind of outside work in the heat of summer? Here is what one side of our fence looked like.

Old FenceOur fence wasn’t missing posts until we went over to see how easily they would come down. I pulled those down with one hand, so let’s just say it only took a few minutes for all of them to be removed. We have another section about this long on the other side of the house. It took us about four hours to do both sections, which isn’t bad for a nice weekend project. Here is what our new fence looks like.

New FenceWe know it’s not exactly straight, but that’s ok. We have to wait for the wood to dry out some before we can stain it, so it will match our front porch in a few weeks. We both admitted if we would have known how budget friendly this project was going to be, we would have done this a long time ago. We bought these fence posts at Lowe’s for $1.50 each. We were able to save the 4×4 posts in the ground, but the 2×4 boards along the back also had to be replaced. Overall, it was a quick, easy, and budget friendly project to help our house look nicer.

We also started building a new desk on Saturday night. After all the fence building on Sunday, we were too tired to work anymore on that project. Maybe we can finish it next week. 🙂

 

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Something Missing & Something New!

So this is the scene in my garage right now…

Hanging A WallSo what’s missing? The air handler should be sitting beside the hot water heater. New air ducts and air handler are being installed this week! Hopefully by the end of the week we will be able to run our heat and air without me getting an upper respiratory infection. That duct board was some nasty stuff!

So what’s new? Let me tell you how I spent Monday evening. After dinner we went to Lowe’s to pick up supplies. Then we put up insulation and put up the wall! That’s right, our after dinner activity was finally putting up that wall in the garage. My husband figured it would be best to do this while the air handler was not there. It makes sense. Now it just needs to be finished and painted. Then it will be the only finished area in our garage. Honestly, it will probably stay that way. But if we ever get a whim to put up a wall, there is still plenty of area to work on.

I don’t know what’s gotten into us the past few days, but we have been cleaning and working on projects almost on a daily basis. After the snow melted and the weather turned nice, we got into spring cleaning fever, I guess. I’m done with winter this year!  🙂

 

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