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#1 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been pondering this for quite a bit. I am going to try and word this right, because its only meant in a kind sense. Do you think keeping up with the Joneses can mean more than the traditional meaning? Originally keeping up with the Jones family meant whatever they had you had to have it and even nicer if possible. I am noticing a trend, not only on MDC but also in myself. I am doing the exact opposite. Trying so hard not to keep up with the Joneses. Smaller is better. Get rid of everything. Then we set a whole new set of standards that are equally difficult for many to obtain. CDMaze wrote in her other thread about not being able to keep a tiny house clean/neat. I am wondering if she is mentally comparing herself to Delight and her home. This is not a slam at Delight, so please don't take it that way. Delight has one child, and openly said she couldn't imagine three mess makers instead of one in her little space. Are we starting a trend of just the opposite of bigger is better and then when folks can't fit into that way of doing things does it also set us up to feel like a failure? Where is the medium? Where can we be at our comfort zone? What point can we accept us for us? I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud.
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#2 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 06:05 PM
 
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Hmmm...I think I compare myself to others without meaning to, you know the grass is greener thing.

Not so much that I want that item but more I want that clean house. :

I want the neat, organized, clean house and I only have it briefly. I have two children and am expecting #3 and I sahm so I feel like i have time to clean but not the motivation to clean. Sometimes I just need a little inspiration to get me in the mood and seeing other houses in worse condition than mine always makes me feel better. : Or if I see a cool idea, it will get me motivated.

I hear what you are saying!

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#3 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 06:17 PM
 
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I completely understand what you are saying. What it really boils down to is not being happy with where we are at at the stage of life we are currently in. We compare ourselves to other people (whether rich, organized, a great decorator, etc.) and feel like we could never compare or live up to that standard.

What we all need to realize is that we all have different talents and personalities. I am not a great housekeeper/organizer. Try as I might, I cannot keep my house organized like some of the wonderful people on here. I could never live in a tiny house either. Sometimes I wish I could and am also sometimes jealous of people who can.

I know that there are things I can do really well. I love to bake and am called Betty Homemaker by many of my friends. I can cook a great meal and love to entertain. I can also decorate my house really well (to my liking anyway). What I am trying to say by all of this is that everyone can do some things really well and other things not so well. We are all "wired" differently and I think we need to embrace the things other people can do and instead of feeling like we can't keep up with others "the Joneses", we should all strive to learn from everybody, but realize that we may never measure up to them.

I want this in my life so much. I want to be content with where I am at. I know that I can't buy all organics because we can't afford it. I know that I can't live in a 300 sq. ft house because I would go out of my mind. I would love to have my house totally organized like my mother in law, but it is not something I am very good at. I want to be at a point where I am 100% happy with my life just the way it is. I am getting there, but it is a daily struggle. So many people have a better grasp of this, but I know that we can all obtain a level of satisfaction with our own lives and learn to not compare ourselves with anyone.

Sorry to ramble, but I just feel like I know what you are saying. And this has been on my mind a lot lately too.

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#4 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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Yes, I do think it is not a good thing to compare oneself with others because eveyone has different circumstances. That being said I think it is refreshing to have the decluttering, smaller mindset because this totally goes against the grain of mainstream/current thinking (and advertisers want us to always want us to be in a state of "wanting").

Really its all about doing as much as you can without getting stressed out. I desire to be more environmentally conscience, but I struggle. My dh works alot, and I provide most of the care for my kids-therefore I do the best that I can do (while trying to preserve my sanity ).

One thing about the less is better mindset that is beneficial is that it also allows one to really focus on what is important. Really if one is not happy with oneself (due to personal/unresolved issues) no matter where they live-they may remain unhappy. I often look at celebrities who have mansions, mega bucks and wonder "even though they have all this stuff, why are they are still not grounded."
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#5 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nikki-yes I agree we need to concentrate on less materialistic things. What I am talking about is being so obsessed with NOT buying things I get the guilts when I buy something I truely love. Not love like I love Jesus, or my family. But things that make my space a happy space. But then feel the guilt because you bought it even though you don't have that much stuff. DYKWIM? I only buy what I can afford and really choose what I buy. I also remove 4 items out of my house for every one that comes in. But when I see folks with one plate, one bowl and one saucer for each person I look at the eight I have and wonder why I can't do that. Am I making any sense??? :
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#6 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 09:32 PM
 
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Melissa, I think you are making more sense than you realize. You are so right. Simple living should be about one's own family and lifestyle, not copying another's. If we do that, we aren't any better than if we were copying what the marketers want us to copy.
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#7 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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I think that it depends on the personality person reading. Two different mamas could read the exact same thread and look at the exact same pictures/blog/album/whatever. One mama will get up and feel motivated; she will clean and declutter her house, she'll repaint her kitchen and get a new rug and feel fresh, happy and at peace with her little home. The other mama will look around and feel pressured. She'll try to clean, she'll freshen up with some new curtains, but she won't feel good enough. Instead of happy and at peace, she will feel stressed and overwhelmed and hate her small space.

Most days I am the first mama. Some days I'm the second. But what I love is that there is a place here where I can come and read and feel renewed in my decision to live in a smaller home--in the middle of a world that is always chanting "bigger is better!!"

mommy to ds 11/05, dd1 01/08, and dd2 01/10!
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#8 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 10:14 PM
 
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Hmmm....I guess I know what you're saying.
It dosen't apply to me in the house keeping department, because that is where I excel.:
BUT-it does in many other forums.
For instance, I don't cook, and I don't feed my family whole foods. So when I read posts about woman who do that, I REALLY internalize it.
In fact, sometimes I go around for days thinking about what their lives must be like, and how do they pull that off...and is it possible to keep up with the house AND cook?
I take these thoughts with me to the grocery store. When I'm picking up my bag of Soft Batch cookies and putting it in the cart, the MDC mama's are in my head tisk tisking.
So yes, I do my fair share of trying to keep up. And yes, sometimes it feels like pressure. Other times I'm really grateful to have the bar set high because I'm aiming to get there.
And other times-I like where I am just fine.
Good post by the way.
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#9 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 10:14 PM
 
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i totally agree with the original post. I've been living in 754 square feet with two kids and a large dog. My dh and I both work from home and we live in a cold climate. This house is too small and the wrong room arrangement for us. Yes, I could continue to live here (and in fact we thought long and hard about moving because we love the location) but that would require more energy to maintain than it is worth to me.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#10 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 10:19 PM
 
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I can so relate, in fact I almost posted a similar thread and thought...nah, I don't want to seem like a hater or something I think it's easy to look at someone elses life and imagine. But, nobody is living my life but me. Sure I see mamas who post cute pix or neato blogs about what they're doing, and I think that's nice...but it's not my life and I can say I'm pretty happy on my own path. I think there's alot of pressure to do and be a certain way. It's hard to march to the beat of your on drummer and sing your own song.

I don't want to go any smaller than I already have. While I need to get rid of some stuff...I don't have plans to "go zen". It's not me. I like stuff, it makes me smile. I don't want to move around alot...I like staying put (maybe it comes from living alot of places growing up). I just want to do the things that I feel are important and find my own bliss in life.

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#11 of 34 Old 04-24-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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I cant find the medium!!!!!! Cannot find it. Even doing the Compact has had to be bent a little in order to really work for us.

I agree- be inspired, but, be realistic. I am *trying* to do this...I just have so many unhealthy attitudes about material stuff.

Our blog is more about our failures than our successes (at least recently)!
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#12 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
Nikki-yes I agree we need to concentrate on less materialistic things. What I am talking about is being so obsessed with NOT buying things I get the guilts when I buy something I truely love. Not love like I love Jesus, or my family. But things that make my space a happy space. But then feel the guilt because you bought it even though you don't have that much stuff. DYKWIM? I only buy what I can afford and really choose what I buy. I also remove 4 items out of my house for every one that comes in. But when I see folks with one plate, one bowl and one saucer for each person I look at the eight I have and wonder why I can't do that. Am I making any sense??? :
I get where you are coming from. I have a bunch of stuff and live in a townhouse that is about 1900 sq ft, so really I haven't done any downsizing(and just a little decluttering ). I think yes you can take something good and go to extremes with it, thats why its good to try to find some type of balance-if possible. I think we all are simply trying to do the best we can.
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#13 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 08:59 AM
 
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Also remember (like pp's have stated) that not everyone is gifted in the same area. Some are great cooks, great decorators, great minimalists, more patient parents, etc. Therefore each person should try to enjoy their own gift. Yes it is great to live with less-but don't feel bad for not reaching some preconcived goal.
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#14 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jillkuster View Post
When I'm picking up my bag of Soft Batch cookies and putting it in the cart, the MDC mama's are in my head tisk tisking.

They followed me to Walmart the other day! We rarely shop there anymore, but it is the easiest place to find shorts that fit my hard- to- find -shorts- for ds#2, so that's where we went.

I told them to HUSH!

( And yet I still feel like I must justify why we went there, instead of driving to three other places to find enough shorts, using up all that gas, and chugging out pollution from our car while driving to two or three neighboring towns. )

I understand what the OP is saying. It's still keeping up with the Jones's, just a different set of standards to meet.

I am soooo wanting to declutter, so it will be easier to keep my house neat, and I won't feel claustrophobic.

But we will be staying in this house for a long while. When dh retires we may move to a smaller place, but it will still be "big" compared to others homes, because he doesn't like small spaces and I like having a guestroom.

I have a weird relationship with material things, too, I think, and often feel guilty about some things we have or things I get that really do bring me pleasure. I am working on getting over it.

Different strokes for different folks.

I am inspired by others, but...

I'd like to set my own standard to live up to.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#15 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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I know what you are talking about - I found myself doing this in areas of my life. Thankfully I have acknowledged it and stopped it (or try hard to). I was always a bit off-the-beaten-path, but when I discovered there was a community of people who think a lot like me (AP) I dove right in. When I first heard of AP, I tried to do EVERYTHING - even things that didn't work for us. We use cloth diapers - but pocket, because I am just NOT an organic prefold type of mom. We breastfeed, but I don't want to breastfeed a preschooler - just not my cup of tea. Homeschooling - not for us.

But I used to pretend these things were - because I needed to keep up with the crunchy Joneses.

I'll never downsize my house - we are looking for a bigger home in the next few years. I want my kids to have their own bedrooms - we like living in a good school district - I want the whole 2000-sq-ft, 4 bedroom with the 2 car garage. I am not afraid to admit it - I'd be miserable in a small home!!!!

But, yes, I totally agree that Jonesing can go either way!
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#16 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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I'll never downsize my house - we are looking for a bigger home in the next few years. I want my kids to have their own bedrooms - we like living in a good school district - I want the whole 2000-sq-ft, 4 bedroom with the 2 car garage. I am not afraid to admit it - I'd be miserable in a small home!!!!
You want mine?

I've got it all ... four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, two car garage, family room and living room, half acre lot. I feel so guilty sometimes when I hear about the smaller, more compact homes around here. But then again, isn't that what this thread is about? Guilt is an ugly emotion, IMHO. I'm just lucky that we live in Cincinnati where real estate is extremely reasonable and affordable. I should be grateful, not guilty. I need to give those niggling voices in my head a nice big healthy dose of shut the hell up!
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#17 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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to OP: Well said!

I just found this forum in the last few weeks. I am a lurker, but would like to post more. The idea of simplicity intrigues me. I am not new to the concept. I live in a small home and chose to stay here, even though we could afford bigger. We are 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1200sqft home. My dh works at home. We gutted and remodeled. It is 100% ours and I love it. I am constantaly decluttering, because I hate stuff. BUT I do it because this is how I find MY peace.

What I was looking for on the forums is other mama's that are finding peace in their daily lives with where they are now. I work PT, have to small kiddos and a teenager. I don't do everything right, I am not always the mom/wife/person that I want to be, BUT I look to feel peace in my life everyday.

Usually it is the small things that I see. The hug or smile from my kids. The little ways i can bring comfort to my patients (I am an RN), the shared laugh with my dh. Other it is the accomplished decluttering that I did. Or the dinner I made. I think you get the picture...

Thanks for your posts, it is a nice reminder that I needed.
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#18 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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You want mine?

I've got it all ... four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, two car garage, family room and living room, half acre lot. I feel so guilty sometimes when I hear about the smaller, more compact homes around here. But then again, isn't that what this thread is about? Guilt is an ugly emotion, IMHO. I'm just lucky that we live in Cincinnati where real estate is extremely reasonable and affordable. I should be grateful, not guilty. I need to give those niggling voices in my head a nice big healthy dose of shut the hell up!
Hmmm - I think the commute would be a bit hard on DH. LOL

I would love it if I *could* feel comfortable and happy in a smaller home. I do think back to when we were first married with one baby, and we lived in a house in the city. Things were simpler then and I loved it. We didn't have as much stuff - because we had a smaller house and we were only beginning to get toys for DD. Sometimes I wish things could be like that again, but Ihave to remind myself that we have all this stuff because we have more kids.

Sure, there's a lot we can declutter - but as far as actual space is concerned, I would love some more. Really, there are only a few things I would like to change with my house - add a fourth bedroom, add another garage bay and a slightly bigger kitchen - oh, and I'd like a detatched home. Having neighbors is a blessing and a curse. LOL

I am going to try to do my best in the situation that's right for my family. If that includes a bigger house now, that's fine with me. But I can still be thoughtful to the Earth with a bigger home. Maybe someday we'll downsize to a smaller home - but for now we're happy where we are!
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#19 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 11:52 AM
 
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I know what you are talking about - I found myself doing this in areas of my life. Thankfully I have acknowledged it and stopped it (or try hard to). I was always a bit off-the-beaten-path, but when I discovered there was a community of people who think a lot like me (AP) I dove right in. When I first heard of AP, I tried to do EVERYTHING - even things that didn't work for us. We use cloth diapers - but pocket, because I am just NOT an organic prefold type of mom. We breastfeed, but I don't want to breastfeed a preschooler - just not my cup of tea. Homeschooling - not for us.

But I used to pretend these things were - because I needed to keep up with the crunchy Joneses.

I'll never downsize my house - we are looking for a bigger home in the next few years. I want my kids to have their own bedrooms - we like living in a good school district - I want the whole 2000-sq-ft, 4 bedroom with the 2 car garage. I am not afraid to admit it - I'd be miserable in a small home!!!!

But, yes, I totally agree that Jonesing can go either way!

Yes yes and yes! I feel guilty cause Im not more (Insert MDC adjective, hehe)

I didnt CD, I did BF but not for years, I love to grow my own food and would love some animals, I LONG to be self sufficient and at the same time I LONG to have nice things and be comfortable!! (Like looking through magazines and seeing a to die for kitchen! Ours is a mess and I would SO LOVE to have a nice kitchen to cook in!!)

I love my 1750 sq ft house and we have plans for an addition, at the very same time I wish we could move into a one room cabin in the woods! :

There is balance out there I believe. We have come SO FAR in the past 5 years, I think our "plan" changes and evolves as we do.

I try very hard not to compare myself and my family with anyone else, and try to live as responsibiliy and mindfully as we can. If you can get ahold of that way of thinking, that is what frees you. To be free to feel free enough to be yourself, THATS what it is all about, IMO. Then the Jones move away and you never have to compare yourself to them again!
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#20 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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This is a lot of the reason I started the thread about what are your real goals. I also wanted people to keep in mind that if one of your real big goals is extra time with your family, then to keep in mind that all the decluttering costs time, too. It's not shameful to have a room full of junk you can't find the time to clean out if your child is going through a particularly tough development stage and helping them through it is where your time is going instead. Try to find your real goals in all of life, then try your hardest to make your living and activity fit those goals. Don't pay too much aatention to other's goals unless you need the encouragement or help in solving a problem. Those are my goals anyway
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#21 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 03:28 PM
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excellent post!
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#22 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 03:44 PM
 
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I think you are right

and I think it is human nature

to constantly compare yourself to pople who you either value or who you see "living as you want to live" be it $$$$ or a pool or even a great mom with good kids, or a great profsional in your field or a strong believer in your church.

i think you see it in any group of people -- here it is easy to see tredns cuz it is all in writting, to be compared AND it s here "forever" so yu can see how things change over time.

AImee

Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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#23 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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I am inspired by others, but...

I'd like to set my own standard to live up to.

: I am inspired by many people but I'm not confusing their lives with mine. I used to be more concerned with what others did or what people thought of me but the more time goes on, the less I care. It's a much happier place to be
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#24 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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this thread is reminding me of the "crunchier than thou" threads we have sometimes.

....our house is 100 SQ FT and we all share ONE BOWL, ONE SPOON and ONE KNIFE. We're so simple we don't NEED forks or plates."
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#25 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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You need a KNIFE?


























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#26 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gosh guys at our house we each have a Swiss army knife that has a built in plate and cup and a portable dishwasher. Only takes one drawer in the kitchen for everyone's things. :
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#27 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#28 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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we eat off the floor,saves washing up and so a dish soap bottle doesn't clutter my sparkling sparse counter top

Natasha,Mum to many.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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#29 of 34 Old 04-25-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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Bah.

We do what makes us happy. We don't have cable, but then we turn around and blow that same amount on new books we could get perfectly easy from the library and NOT have to find storage space for.

As long as we're putting a specific amount into investment/savings each month and paying our bills, we'll blow what's leftover on "stupid" stuff, thank you very much (eating out, toys for the kid, toys for the husband ).

We don't want a large house, not because of some "frugality" issue, but just because we don't need the space (we have one child, and don't want anymore), and, frankly, we're lazy (don't even like cleaning the apt.) and hope to pay it off fairly quickly. But, we want a house with certain features we DESIRE not need...a yard, an extra space (extra bedroom, or den, or something) for our hobbies, a nice kitchen (I LOVE to cook and bake when I have the time; hate being cramped in our kitchen). We'll forgo the dining room, extra bath, garage, etc.

Do I compare our lifestyle to others? Sometimes...but usually it's because I look at people who live WAY beyond their means by CHOICE, and that confounds me. I like where we are...it's pretty stress free...we're not poor, we're not rich, we don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, but we also don't have to worry about paying a 4,000/month mortgage. We do some "crunchy" stuff, and are completely blatantly non-natural in other areas. *shrug* I've lived on 758/month (first teaching job on the rez), and I've lived on 6000+/month (when we were both working). We don't make that much anymore, and we have a kid now, but I don't think we're missing anything, as we've actually "upgraded" our life, if you want to call it that...we just shoved a lot of money into savings/investments and paying off our cars before that. It's all about finding the balance and trying to be happy and true to yourselves
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#30 of 34 Old 04-26-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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Great thread. I've also been exploring simplicity, decluttering, Compact-ing, etc. Still looking for the right balance for me. My goal is to spend less time and mental energy on *stuff*, more time on relationships and things that are more important to me. What I've learned so far is that I can spend even more time and energy on *stuff* when I'm on the simplicity path than when I wasn't- for example, I could spend hours and gas and effort searching thrift stores for something I have determined I need (like a sport coat for DS's first communion) rather than buying an inexpensive one from a store nearby and then passing it on when we're done with it. I could spend hours on some decluttering project rather than playing with my kids. This is so not the point of "mindful living" for me.
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