In our first Family Meeting at the end of August, we discussed a lot of household issues, personal goals, and family plans for the next year or so. We pulled together a rough travel calendar for 2014, re-assigned the household chores into a more fair division, and agreed to try a laptop bedtime.
And we made a big decision that will have consequences especially in the last quarter of this year: we're moving.
Not too far, thankfully -- we're definitely going to stay in the Bay Area long-term. But our former housemate has a lead on a place in the East Bay that sounds close to ideal for all three of us (me, my wife, our housemate). It will open up at the beginning of 2014, so our discussion was about what would happen if we did or didn't get the lease. The final decision: the East Bay place will be our first choice, but even if that doesn't go through, we'll be on the lookout for some other similar living situation on the same timeline. So next year we will be in a new home!
Some of the things we're looking for in a rental:
- a single-family home or duplex instead of an apartment
- proximity to public transportation
- affordable rent even if our job situations change (the emergency fund helps with this)
- cats allowed
- enough space to accommodate a small child or two
- outdoor space for gardening
- kitchen workspace
Would be nice (and the place we have in mind has):
- wood floors
- more than one bathroom
- washer (free, not coin-op) and drying line
- a pantry!!! (I have pantry dreams galore)
The decision to move leads to some changes around the house. I'm going to have to curb my stockpiling habit if we intend for everything to fit into a single moving truck! In general, a move is a great excuse to downsize and purge unwanted household items. As it happens, the new place we have in mind would have MORE space that we have currently, but the principle of reviewing the collection and making choices still stands. Wedding supplies, for example, need to go. Selling them might make a little extra cash, but one way or another (selling, donating, giving to friends, or trashing), they won't be moved to the new place! We're going to focus on using up the last of most things, and waiting to buy new ones (food, cleaning products, kitchen supplies, etc.) until after the relocation. I can also pre-pack seasonal items that we want to keep but won't use between now and then (sadly, that does not include Xmas decorations -- and there are lots of those!). Having a deadline for decluttering is very motivational.
I think I'm going to continue to stock up on grocery items during September and October (and have adjusted the budget accordingly), and then through November and December we'll eat mainly from the freezer and pantry to whittle down the stores. If it looks like there's too much to tackle, we can donate some to a food pantry. Those holiday months always have a bunch of celebratory meals outside the house -- that should balance out the expected simplicity and repetitiveness of pantry meals. Can't wait until I can start from scratch (more or less) in a new home with a real pantry!