Tag Archives: reduce reuse recycle

Resolution Update, a little late

Here’s the June-ish update.

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  We don’t qualify for Making Home Affordable, so now we’re looking at a standard refi.  I should know more this week.    We’re generally doing okay on this, but I’m still trying to tighten up a little more.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. As you know, Daniel is here!  For the next six months, we will have monthly visits with his social worker and our social worker and will likely legalize the adoption next spring.  We are settling in pretty well.  Daniel seems to be getting attached to us, we’re improving at managing three kids at once (luckily, they rarely all need me simultaneously) and Madeline and Daniel behave just as you would expect siblings to– that is, they are best friends one moment, wrestling like baby bears the next and tattling on each other the next (“Daniel took my bucket!  Madeline touched me!”)
  3. Make more things from scratch. I am slacking here.  I bought bread.  Purchased bread does, however, make a much better peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It has been sooooo hot in our area that I haven’t had the motivation to turn on the oven.
  4. Landscape. Need more woodchips.  Front yard looks better since the removal of overgrown bushes.  Picture soon.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. The greatest evidence of our success is John’s recent statement, “You know, I don’t even miss paper towels.” 

And, dear readers (all 11 of you), we still want to go viral.  Admittedly, this particular post is more for Mr. AFT’s and my benefit, but if you know someone who might appreciate my pith (perhaps another exhausted parent of 3 under 5?), please forward!  Since we’ve pretty well succeeded on #5,  I may have to add a new goal– PUBLISH.



k and the AFTHOTW crew


Resolution Update – Super Duper *Three* Month Edition

Haven’t updated you since early March, so there’s three months worth of progress (or not-progress, as the case may be.)

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  I’m still doing battle with the mortgage company– which is to say, the new mortgage company (the third one since I started this adventure.)  If you are reading this and have successfully refi’ed with Ocwen or anyone else through the Making Home Affordable program, please let me know your secret!  Gas keeps going up, so that’s getting harder to reduce (I also keep driving more, with more regular sojourns to visit family in the aftermath of my SIL’s death.)  I’m trying *really* hard (at least I think I am), but I think I need a good kick in the butt to save a teeny bit more.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. Separate exciting update to come soon.
  3. Make more things from scratch. Still making all of our bread and yogurt.  Have adding making our own spray cleaner.
  4. Landscape. Big success here!  We gave up on grass in the backyard and now have reasonably neatly maintained wood chips.  There were potted plants for color, but M unpotted them.  She’s so industrious!  We’re looking into heavier shrubs.  We also removed the overgrown bushes in front of the house and Mr. AFTHOTW re-edged the lawn and put matching edging on the bed near the house.  It’s all nicely mulched and awaiting some plantings.  This is more progress than we have had on making the outside of our house look nice in the five years that we have lived here.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. Much better.  Jack’s sad demise means no more cleaning up doggy accidents and John is getting into the cloth habit. 

I count this as two clear successes with some other moments worthy of pride.  I’m going to have myself a cookie to celebrate.


I spent the day today decluttering a friend’s house.  We spent six hours in her bedroom and culled out three contractor bags full of clothes. We found about $15 in random coins.  We swiffered the walls.  I was in heaven.

I love to throw things away.  Well, actually, to get stuff out of the house and donate it or recycle it. Creating more trash actually kind of agitates me.  Call me freakish, but the chance to spend an hour shredding outdated contents of my files brings me joy. For a while, I tried to hold myself to “bring in one new thing, get rid of two old things” standard.  I’m not prepared to do the 100 things challenge — partly because my life doesn’t really work with that construct and partly because I can’t part with my Le Creuset cookware, amongst other things– but it does have me thinking.

I also happen to be reading a book called Less by Mark Lesser.  I am not done with it and have no recommendation either way on it. Lesser focuses on doing less, being in the moment, recharging yourself to be more effective, etc. etc.  All advice most of us have heard before.

So here’s what I’m pondering– if less is good for you (in this context), what happens when you don’t have less?  What happens when you have too much? You are featured on Hoarders or you have a nervous breakdown from trying to maintain a frenetic 23-hour-a-day schedule?  Obviously, most of us don’t go to that extreme, but neither do most of us live with just 100 things or meditate peacefully on a mountaintop.  But at what point does having and doing stop bringing contentment and start generating stress?  My friend with the contractor bags full of clothes says that she feel overwhelmed and out of control. That’s not surprising at this point, but how can we see when we are getting close to “that point”?

I’m not here to preach, but I want to put it out there– what happens to the essential stuff when the non-essential stuff encroaches on it?  How much is enough? Discuss amongst yourselves– or comment below.  And, do you also love the thrill of getting rid?