Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Home Resolutions

Today is moving day - the removalists are scheduled to arrive at the moment this post goes live (whether they are early or late remains to be seen, however) to haul our biggest furniture items 5km down the road on our behalf. We'll be following with boxes and bags and bins full of all our stuff. Now seems like a good time, better than the New Year even, to make some resolutions for life in our new house.

Waste less
I'm keenly aware of how much stuff we just threw away in the process of moving - even though we donated all we could, there were a number of things we had that just weren't give-away-able. This is mostly because we have a habit of using things to death, which is kind of a good thing. But I would also like to take the opportunity of moving house to make an effort to reduce the amount of stuff that comes into our house, and the amount of garbage that goes out.

In our regular, not-moving-house life, we don't throw away too much, thanks to the worm farm we've kept for a few years now. And with 770 square meters of yard, we will have space for a big compost pile as well - which will accommodate our weekly kitty litter dumps (we use recycled paper litter). So this will reduce our weekly trash already. But I'm also going to try to adopt strategies to avoid buying things with excessive packaging, short life spans, or things we just don't need. Suggestions in this area are more than welcome.

Grow All the Things!
Something I've been looking forward to since the remotest possibility of getting a house has entered our lives has been the future things we will grow. My dream, perhaps unrealistic, is to have a garden in which everything is edible. The house we are moving into has a few established plants, but plenty of empty space to play with. The things already growing include a hibiscus, which makes me happy because I love hibiscus tea. There are some things we'll need to take out - like some small clumps of palms that will get big and annoying. I've also got short-term plans for papaya trees, pineapples, and herbs of all kinds. And down the track we'll branch into ginger and turmeric, citrus, bananas, and of course a veggie patch full of wonderful produce. To maximise our space, I am going to try out this rocking vertical garden for herbs and greens. We're lucky to have some very handy gardeners within our circle of friends, and have been promised seedlings and cuttings and small plants already, so that will be a good way to kick things off.

Become a more sophisticated Saver
Andy and I have been pretty good at saving money. First on two PhD scholarships, and then on one scholarship + 1 half-time salary, we managed to save a fairly sizable down payment.  We did it by not spending much - buying very little, getting things second-hand, eating out almost never. This suited our lifestyle, and didn't feel like we were being deprived in any way. But the fact is, for the last 5+ years, we have been saving for just one thing, and our only regular expenses were food, rent, electricity, and the car. When we needed to spend more than usual, for a trip, or for a vet emergency, or a new washing machine, we could just take it out of our pot of house-money.

Now, though, we have entered the world of regular fortnightly mortgage repayments. And annual home insurance bills. And bi-annual rates. And maintenance and home repairs. So although we'll be saving $13,000 a year in rent, we won't be $13,000 a year richer. And now, in addition to spending most of our money on paying back our home loan as quickly as possible, I would also like to have other pots of money working towards the odd holiday, home improvements like solar panels (and maybe a new kitchen, long-term plan), and things of that nature. So I think I'll need to learn about budgeting and being deliberate with money in more depth.

Talk to the neighbours
In the flat where we have spent the past five years, we barely say hello to the people in the same unit block, let alone people in houses next door and across the road. When we moved in, some of our neighbours would avoid eye contact when they bumped into us in the driveway, making it hard for me to say "Hi! Let's be friends!" even though I sometimes wanted to. After a while there, though, neighbours change and we have at least said hello to everyone, even though we're not chummy with anyone.

In our new house, I'd like to try to be a bit more social and community-minded. This will be easy with at least one of the neighbours, who I already know from work. And hopefully she can ease the introductions with other people nearby, so I don't have the constant tension between wanting to know and like (and especially, to be liked!) by everyone, and also being terribly shy around new people.

Get a dog
We're already working on this one...

These are the things I have in my head before we even get our stuff into the house.


Kari said...

Oh wow! What an amazing list. And I am so very excited by your growing plans - although really, by all of your plans. The 'stuff' one is something I worry about too and have definitely not got a good handle on yet. The money / saving one is something I've gone through a similar process with you on by the sounds of it (PhD scholarship, saving and saving for a house, now mortgage replayments) but it's definitely an ongoing challenge.

Good luck again with the move, it sounds like you have some wonderful plans in the pipeline and I can't wait to hear how they pan out :)

Carissa said...

I love how the top of your blog looks now! Very pretty! Have a great day!

Emma said...

Your plans pretty much mirror ours when we moved into this house though we're renting (except I'm not too concerned about talking to my neighbours - they spend most of their time screaming at each other about how much they hate each other. Charming. And they stare at me when I mow the lawn.) I advise to get rid of the palms as soon as possible.

What kind of dog do you have in mind? So exciting. We're wanting an ex-racing greyhound :)

Very exciting plans :) look forward to reading about it more.

Millie said...

Lot of plans ahead...good luck Theresa and I love your blog's new header...great job.

Mel said...

Hope the move went smoothly! Your list is fantastic, it sounds like a great time in your life to make some resolutions.

We have been using software to track all of our expenses and set up budgets since getting into a mortgage 8 years ago. Whilst it can be a pain to sit down on a weekly basis to keep it up to date, the benefits of it have been so worthwhile for us.

Looking forward to hearing more about things as they progress!

Nadine said...

congratulations on the new house!! the resolutions are great - especially the veggie garden :)

Theresa said...

Thanks everyone!

Emma- funny you should mention greyhounds, we actually put in an application with GAP QLD 2 weeks ago, because we've heard there is a long waiting list for cat-friendly greys. Though there is a second rescue org in SEQLD that sounds quicker (and also less pro-racing), I forget the name of it.

Mel - what software do you use?

Lauren said...

absolutely LOVE all of your new home resolutions! we should all be doing all of those things every day. I hope it works for you!! :)

Leslie R. said...

That garden idea is terrific!