I feel like the last several weeks have just been a wild ride of revelation and ducklings and craziness. I want to invite you over to have a big piping mug of coffee or an herbal cocktail, and I want to just talk, because everything is happening faster than I can reasonably chronicle it on this blog. If I had you over, all these ideas and anecdotes and stories would tumble out of my mouth faster than I could contain them and I would be a very bad host, hardly letting you get a word in edgewise.
In the blog world, jumping around is very bad form – it’s better to make tiny bite-size, stand alone posts that Google can conveniently index and that are easy to share on Facebook. But hell, some of you have been reading for years – you are virtual friends. I think I can bend the rules this once. So come on in, let me get you a drink and catch you what’s been going on.
1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Holy Mother of God, people, go buy this book. My life actually changed. I first heard about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – a tiny tome of tidying – from Kelly and Erik of Root Simple. They’re the cool LA kids of Urban Homesteading, and personal heroes of mine.)
The wait list at the library for Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was something like 600 people long, but I had a few Audible credits so I downloaded it as an audiobook. This was a great choice.
Over a whirlwind week, I listened to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up on my phone on repeat while decluttering according to author Marie Kondo’s simple mantra: if an item doesn’t “spark joy,” out it goes.
I could write a dozen posts about the process, the emotions, the practicalities and more of this method. Realizing many of the things surrounding you do not bring you joy brings up its own mess of emotions.
I had to let go of not just stuff, but of careers and interests I’ve moved on from and will never revisit. I had to let go of the ghosts of half-a-dozen aspirational lives.
I had to confront a strange, confusing sadness when I realized my home – a home I love, connected to gardens I’ve built for over a decade – is simply more than I need. What I need is far less than what I have, and what I want is somewhere in between.
See what I mean? It’s not just organizing – it’s this life changing introspection when your entire relationship to stuff shifts.
But for now, some numbers:
Nick and I set aside items of moderate value through this decluttering process to sell. Depending on the item, it went on Ebay, to the used bookstore, or to a big community garage sale.
Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up “Get-Rid-Of-Our-Stuff” Sales Numbers:
- Garage Sale – $463
- Ebay Sales – $585
- 2nd Hand Bookstore Sale – $22
- Amazon Rebate Book Credits – $96 (Paid in Amazon gift card credit)
Total Sales: $1166
And we aren’t done. There are more items to sell and donate. But for the moment we are taking a breather.
2. We Became A One-Car Family
Out here in suburbia, the expectation is that you should have N+1 cars, where N is the number of licensed drivers in your domicile.
So when Homebrew Husband told his coworkers he was “selling his extra car” most of them assumed he was getting rid of a third vehicle. Nope. With life arranged so that both Nick and I do most of our work from home, having a dedicated commuter car didn’t make sense any more.
We sold the commuter car, kept the more versatile kid-and-chicken-feed-and-straw-hauler, and I tuned up my bike and 7 year old bike trailer for those days when Nick has to take the car all day and I need to run local errands.
Becoming a one-car family in the suburbs has been slightly inconvenient once in the month since we sold the car. Other than that, we haven’t really noticed. There’s been no big crisis that required an extra vehicle, no emergency that required Nick and I both be on the road at the exact same time. It works.
The money we got for selling the extra car went straight into savings, and immediately lowered our expenses on insurance. All in all, it feels really awesome only having one car.
3. Duckling Drama
See Wednesday’s post for the full story. I’ll just reiterate here that ducklings have taken over my life.
Oh, and the little black one? He’s doing great and back out with his family with no sign of problems.
4. Can We talk about Money?
Look, guys, there’s just no way around this. I’ve tried to put it off for as long as possible, and I’ve tried to invest in alternatives, but I had to smack traditional shitty third party ads on this site. This was the hardest blog decision I’ve ever made, and truthfully I’m still really unsure about it.
The reality is, this website costs several hundred dollars a month just to run, and I had to find a way to pay those bills that didn’t require a ton more work for me.
Something like 3-and-a-half million people or more will come visit NWEdible in 2015, and most of them aren’t part of our community. That’s fine – they don’t have to be. They can show up for a jerky recipe or some info on canning and go on their merry way.
Just think about how many sites you visit once and never return to. It’s the nature of the internet.
All those “Wam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am” visitors cost money. Not a lot, individually, but it adds up. And for the most part, they don’t stick around to leave comments, engage, buy a garden planner or be part of our community.
I never wanted to subject our community to those third party, Google AdSense type ads. I find them irritating as hell, to be honest, and I am uncomfortable selling your eyeballs to companies I probably don’t support at all. But realistically, ads were the best way to recoup the cost of people who are one-and-done in their relationship to this site.
I could give you a long list of expenses that have grown as the site has, but I fear that would just be justifying what is, even to me, and ethically iffy decision.
The bottom line is – this site was becoming financially unsustainable. It just wasn’t going to work long-term. I’d rather compromise my ideals a little bit and hopefully make the whole package more sustainable for everyone (including my family) than abandon this space by making the perfect the enemy of the good.
It’s a terribly hard call. Honestly, I have a number of ideas on the back-burner for how I might move away from these ads in the future while still keeping the site financially viable, but all of them require a lot of work I just can’t do right now.
So, for now, it is what it is. I hope you understand, and if you don’t – well, I get that to. That’s why AdBlock is so awesome.
I’d love to know if and how the placement of third party ads on this site impacts you – I suspect most people honestly just don’t care, but if most of my regular readers feel like this is a huge betrayal, I want to know.
5. Eat From The Larder Challenge
Despite the lack of updates, I’m still doing it! No grocery shopping and still using up what we have. This time around has been far easier than last time, but I fear that’s because I’ve been far less hardcore.
I have to admit I slipped. After the exhausting garage sale where I spent all day hawking wine glasses and decorative kitchenware for 25 cents, I left with a car full of donation items and about $500 in cash in my wallet.
We stopped and got burgers. I’ll admit – not cooking was absolutely delicious.
Full post with food photos soon but one thing I’ve really noticed this time around is how nice dietary flexibility is when eating from a rapidly dwindling cache of food. Some days we eat full vegetarian, some days it’s paleo meat and salad, some days it’s a big hunk of whole wheat bread and some simple soup, some days no gluten or grains pass our lips.
None of this is out of some dietary identification as vegetarian or paleo or gluten free or whatever. We just eat all the things, in whatever combination seems to work that day. No one in my immediate family has allergies or severe food intolerances or ethical issues with meat consumption, so there are no practical impediments to eating this way.
I gotta say, in the natural living blog world, people often define themselves by what foods they will and won’t eat. Sometimes I feel like I’m a radical omnivore. Like I’m making some kind of statement by liking both steak and chickpeas, bread and broccoli. Weird, huh?
So, that’s the last several weeks of my life in one giant nutshell.