In transition from dining room to office.
- DH = Dear Husband
- DD2 = Dear Second Daughter
- DD1 = Dear First Daughter
Four months ago, I wrote a post about the renovations we have planned to take on. DH’s home business office has long been too small for him, and an overflow of equipment and boxes has gradually spilled over into other parts of the house. So the plan is to move his office into the larger living room and dining room space, create a small living room out of his current office, and to have a combined dining room/sitting area in what is now the family room. The project will involve selling and giving away a lot of old, worn, big furniture; buying some new, smaller furniture; installing a new floor; and purchasing things like lighting, shelving, cupboards, and blinds as well as the nuts and bolts to install them. Some of it will count as a business expense, but most won’t.
Embarrassing post (but not too embarrassing)
I’m a little embarrassed by that post I wrote four months ago. After three years of intense debt-repayment, my long dormant inner shopaholic woke up, and our discussions and plans for new flooring and furniture released pent up waves of endorphin rush. “It was SO LOVELY to be able to think, talk, and plan in this way!” I wrote. “I was high on visions of tile, hardwood, and leather furniture. I don’t even care how shallow that sounds!” I’m not too embarrassed though. It was an honest snapshot of where I was at, and that’s what this blog is all about. Not how we should be thinking, feeling, and acting – but about how we actually do think, feel, and act as we navigate our way out of debt.
From renovation high to sober calculation
Over the past four months, some new realities have sobered our renovation high. For one thing, we have committed to taking on the expenses of DD2’s room and board for the next two years as she studies and trains at her university downtown. For another, there is still the possibility of a loss of income due to union action at my work. So our approach to our renovations has become more practical and calculated.
- Instead of installing two new floors, we’re going to install one – in what will be the new dining room. The new living room? We’ll have our old carpet cleaned and keep on using it. That’s about $500 not spent.
- Instead of having the new dining room floor installed by a contractor – something that we thought would be wise to do because DH’s business has been so busy – we’re going to devote two week-ends to DH installing it himself. That’s about $1,250 not spent.
- Instead of buying a sectional leather sofa for the new living room, we’re going to buy a fabric sectional that can be pulled out into a bed. That’s about $750 not spent.
- Instead of doing everything at once, we’re going to take things on in stages. That will prolong the doses of chaos that come with renovations, but it will also take away the rush factor. I find in general that when things are rushed, they cost more.
So there’s at least $2,500 that we are not prepared to spend anymore. And that, my friends, is what sobriety in renovation planning can do for you.
“I can’t start to move my office until we sell the piano,” DH said about a month ago – just before we put it up on Kijiji. It was a reality that pulled at my heart strings, but I recognized that we wouldn’t have room for the piano with the changes we’re making. And nobody has played it on a regular basis for years. I have always harboured a romanticized ideal of piano playing, and I put each of our daughters through lessons – a form of torture for them – until each one quit. DD1 had a renewed interest in her early twenties, but she lives on the west coast now. I would love to take up the piano again (I took lessons as a child), but I can’t see having time for it until I’m able to retire. We’ll miss the piano at Christmas time, when someone in the extended family traditionally plays carols and we all sing . . . But I realize that it doesn’t make sense to keep it for a once-a-year tradition. Two days ago, it was moved out to another home in the neighbourhood. “We’ll get another one some day,” DH said. I’m going to hold him to that.
Let the renovations begin!
And so, it has started. Yesterday, we carried the dining room table and chairs to their new place in what is now a gong show of a family room in transition. DH removed the hanging dining room lamp (which would have been a head-bump waiting to happen if he’d left it there for any time) and installed a flat office light fixture. He has set up a work station where the piano was in the living room. Excess stuff – some to be sold at a garage sale, some to be given away, some to be sold on Kijiji – is filling up DD2’s old room and will soon fill up the garage too. I have picked a garage sale date of mid-September, and two of my friends from church are going to haul their excess stuff over too, so we’ll make an event of it. I’m going to see if my neighbours would like to make it a whole street garage sale.
It feels great to be getting this thing going. For months, our house has endured what to me seems like the restless agitation of late pregnancy. Now there is movement, and the promise that every piece of furniture, every bit of business equipment, and every box will find its proper place. There will be the relief of purging excess. There will be a welcome fresh start. Our frugal, practical calculations don’t dull the anticipation of change. It’s time to deliver!
Have you ever had to part with something that had an idealized value for you? Have you ever renovated frugally? Your comments are welcome.