update: garage sale

Hi reader,

Quick update here. Including the amount in the original post, and by selling the remainder of items on Facebook Marketplace, we sold right around $400 worth of baby items. I have some things left, which I will gift to a friend or two, and then donate the rest. It feels great to be nearly at the end of this endeavor. I am tired of answering messages and having people drop by the house. I am ready to be done, and quite happy with what we made.

We’ve had some family in town for a few days, which has been great! But it’s back to the grind as I get settled back in. What’s new with you, reader?

Cheers,
Mel

money in the attic

Reader, guess how much money I had sitting in my attic for 2+ years? $140!

Every year our community has a garage sale. Which is awesome, because it draws out more people, and because I get to chat with my neighbors (which, admittedly, I don’t do often enough).

Clothes galore!

I don’t always have stuff to sell, but since Al and I decided for 99% sure that we are one & done on the children, it was time to get rid of Bo’s baby clothes. It wasn’t really easy for me, if I’m being honest. There were a lot of sentimental items in there.. a lot of really sweet times happened while she was wearing those clothes. But ultimately, it was time. Whereas I am not normally a very sentimental person with regards to tangibles, I did save just a few sentimentals (such as the first onesie and first shoes, but not much more than that).

Garage sales hit primarily on the “reuse” and “recycle” aspects of the 4R blog. I am so thrilled that people will use the (literally) hundred+ items we sold. We didn’t have many big ticket items (the most expensive was around $10), and most things sold for $0.50 or 3 for $1, so it’s a great feeling that these items that were sitting in my attic are going to be used by others… and people paid me money for these things!

These haven’t sold yet; look at the sheer quantity.

There are many items that didn’t sell (yet). My last ditch effort for these is listing them on Facebook Marketplace at a much more reduced price, in hopes that someone who needs them can use them. If they don’t sell there, they’re going to Goodwill. These clothes are in mostly great condition, used by (primarily) a single child in a clean, non-smoking home, who only spit up a handful of times. I even made a box that could clothe a single child (for a whole year!) from newborn to one year old and listed it for around $50. Imagine how much I would have saved if I didn’t buy a single item for her full first year outside of a $50 box of clothing! It would have been hundreds.

…and even more

There was one container of things that I took straight to Goodwill. Just a bunch of little odds & ends, not worth trying to sell. I also had a bunch of baby items that were not clothing… bottles, baby carriers/wraps, etc. Some sold, some didn’t. The things that didn’t got listed online.

I felt very productive with the sales that I made today. I’m planning on using the money that I got to go to a second-hand boutique to see what I can find that might fill some blank spots that are left in my wardrobe after I purged so many items. If anything’s left over, the remainder will be used towards hosting family that we have coming to town, or to cover other primary expenses.

Tell me, reader, what good deals have you come into? What items have you sold that have gotten a second life with another family?

Cheers,
Mel

the power of community

Hi reader!

Pacific Northwesterners are not known for their warmth and friendliness but for being polite, yet cold, to others. People say it’s hard to make friends and many feel isolated. And while I can see that mentality occasionally, such as in a crowded public place, I have made wonderful friends as an adult.

I often see people help each other out, and as I get older and adult friendships become more established, I increasingly see the value beyond the emotional. I see friends help each other move, people bring in food to share at work (the GovJobs are especially terrible for the waistline), and I often see the exchange of goods between friends. When someone doesn’t need something that someone else does, I see a ton of hand-me-downs.

For example, I recently went through my bathroom products to get rid of excess and reorganize. I am a notorious product hoarder, and it got really bad after I had Bo (I have genetically and chronically dry skin and my hair was falling out… I was trying everything but nothing was working!). I’ve been wanting to combat the urge to keep things I don’t use. Since all of the products were open and not brand new, I knew I couldn’t return them. I asked a friend who works with the women’s shelter, and she said that they would not take them because they were open. But, if I didn’t want them, she would take them and share them with her daughter! So I just handed them off! Some of them had barely been used, so I’m sure there was quite a bit of value in there:

And just this week, I have a different friend who is moving. Her kids are teens and she’s getting rid of Leogs. LEGOS! I asked how much she wanted for them, and she said nothing and offered them to me. With a kiddo who is getting close to the building age, I took her up on that in a heartbeat.

It’s a great feeling to be building community around me. I enjoy having friends, coworkers, and family (such as my MIL) that actively find opportunities to help each other out.

Tell me about opportunities that your community has taken to help each other out? Do you feel that you have a large and broad community? Close and tight-knit?

Cheers!
Mel

reducing expenses – small changes

Happy Tuesday, readers!

In the personal finance realm, I often read that people should reduce their expenses. Obviously that means spend less money. Especially on things that are not important to you. I’ve been looking for ways to reduce recurring expenses (in addition to reducing my food costs, of course). I like seeing real examples so here are three small changes we made recently that will reduce our spending.

  1. Downsized our garbage service: Saving $20/mo. When we started garbage service after we moved in to our house, we got the second smallest garbage can, a standard huge recycle bin, and a yard waste bin. After we had Bo, we needed to increase the size of the garbage can. Now, we rarely fill it up, and almost never fill up our yard waste. Downsizing our garbage can and stopping yard waste service all together is saving us quite a bit of money for making pretty much no change in our lives. Our yard waste goes into the compost bin anyway, and if it doesn’t belong in there, we can take it to the dump or, better yet, see if a neighbor has space in their bin!
  2. Stopped getting my eyebrows done: Saving $20 every other month. I used to get my (very unruly) brows done every other week, but when I got my GovJob (6+ years ago), the brow salon proved too far to go regularly so I was down to once every couple months. Last time I went I thought to myself “I could have done them better anyway”, which would save time AND money. So I did, and they look great and from now on I will spend $0 getting my brows shaped.
  3. Bought cloth napkins: Will start saving us money if we use them for more than a year (and then will save about $20/year). We buy the $9.99 Costco 4-pack of 260 napkins (1,040 napkins total) and since there are 4 of us in the house, we probably go through them pretty fast by using more than 1 per day (we do have a toddler, after all). The cloth napkins were right around $20 on Amazon. We used to use cloth napkins but for a couple years, we’ve been buying paper/disposable napkins. The environmental guilt definitely got to me more than the money on this one.

Those are my examples of small ways that we’ve reduced expenses lately. What other small changes have you made that lower your expenses or impact on the environment?

Cheers,
Mel

reduce, reuse, recycle, retire

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the club! My internet name is Mel, and the purpose of this blog is to document my family’s journey into intentional living, with an ultimate goal of early retirement thrown in there (but not too early, more on this later). Our family consists of my husband Al, our toddler Bo, my mother-in-law, and our dog Bear.

So, why “reduce, reuse, recycle, retire”? These four r’s sum up our plan to get where we want to be, in the manner that is important to us. But it’s not about recycling trash (though hey, that’s great!), it’s about:

  • Reducing spending, unnecessary consumer purchases, and waste;
  • Reusing items where we can and buying reusable items where it makes sense. This also includes giving away or selling items so that they don’t end up in the landfill;
  • Recycling what is no longer useful;
  • Retiring early by increasing our savings rate, while focusing our spending and energy on what is truly important to us.

We’ve been doing a lot of research, reading, and podcast-listening lately, which has started to subtly shift the trajectory of our lives. And while I am a late-adopter to some of these philosophies, my husband seems to be quite the natural for things that I find challenging (like frugality!). And although we are just starting to step off of the path we have been walking, my intent is to be authentic with this journey, the good and bad, and to find the path that fits.

Through this blog, I look forward to finding some like-minded people, who might be walking (or running) a similar path. People who are authentically sharing their successes and stumbles, tips and tricks! Drop a line and let me know who you are and how you’re living intentionally.

Cheers,
Mel