The road to home ownership...starts with tidying up
This month sees the start of another year's tenancy agreement in our current flat - we moved in back in summer 2014 (you can read about it here and here). We are using this as motivation to finally, finally, get round to buying a house.
Finances are obviously a big issue, and until that is all sorted we don't know exactly what our budget is. All we do know is that living in the south as we do, our budget isn't going to go far, whatever it is! I'm still trying to persuade Ben to move back up north, but he won't budge (literally).
However, we are confident that by the new year we will be in a position to buy a house (I'm going to carry on saying house, although Sensible Amy points out a flat may be all we can actually afford). We've yet to narrow it down to a location, but our work addresses are about 40 miles apart so most likely we'll be somewhere in the middle so we can share the commuting distance. Ben is fussier than I am, so basically he needs to start making some decisions!
We're quite motivated at the moment to do lots of tidying and getting rid of stuff - moving it all was hard enough last time and we're bound to have acquired more possessions in the intervening three years. We have a bag for life which lives in the hallway and every fortnight or so we take it to a charity shop - having it in the hallway means we see it all the time, a constant reminder about whether we really need things. Ben's been on a roll with eBay, and a box went off to MusicMagpie last week - the items in it were only worth a few pence, but it was quicker and so much less faff to have it all sent off in one go than to deal with eBay, even if that would have earned a bit more. It also meant we had a little bit more room in the flat, rather than a box which kept getting in the way.
The other week I went through my desk drawers and created a small mountain of paper to recycle - journal articles I'd printed out, essays I wrote for my MA, the sort of thing I really don't need any more. I had great fun testing pens and ended up throwing most of them away (side note: does anyone know of anywhere I can recycle pens? Seems a waste to just put them into landfill). I also found I have a lot of staples (and not all of them fit my stapler).
My yarn stash hasn't become any smaller, but I have sorted it out into three large storage bags, so at least it looks neater. I also have a better idea of what I own, and have finally decided on some patterns for some of my indie sock yarn. A colleague has commissioned me to knit a blanket for her sister's wedding, so I have a lot of yarn destined for that - I keep telling myself (and Ben!) that the pile is going to get smaller.
I admire people who can live in a minimalist home, but that's really not my cup of tea - I like stuff. But we do have too much stuff (how many mugs is too many? How many glasses?) so I'm trying to think more carefully about what I buy. I watched a documentary on minimalism and was amazed at some of the lifestyles there! My favourite bit of the whole doc was what one man said at the end: "Love people and use things. Because the opposite never works." Isn't that wise?
Right. I need to keep up the momentum. I've got another pile of stuff on my desk to sort through, and then I can have a gin on the balcony.