We moved into our home on October 2, 2008. Josiah was born about a month and a half later, on November 16th. Neither the house nor the nursery were in perfect order when we brought him home from the hospital. It still never is. And even though we were fully unpacked and moved in to our house by about Christmas that year, we are still not done making it our home. I am realizing that we never will be. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE the process. So this category–“Making our House a Home”–will be the place where I share with you my journey in home-making. Now, strictly speaking, this is a blog about baby stuff and motherhood…but I think a huge part of being a mother is making a home!  So I have decided to let you into our home, to show you around a bit, and let you know what we are working on. Right now, the big project is our bathroom remodel. But today, I want to share with you a few general thoughts about this whole process.

My husband and I agree that there is no point in putting money into upgrading our home if we don’t actually own it (aka. paying off the mortgage). Whenever we begin a new home project, we have committed to make an extra principle payment on our mortgage of the same amount of money we are spending on the project. This means that before starting anything new we have to save up twice the amount of money that we think we need (plus more, since there will inevitably be extra costs that arise throughout the process). This gives us plenty of time to plan, dream, and scheme about what we want to do. It also gives us plenty of time to shop around, do cost comparisons, and search for deals.

We don’t want to wait until we have a project to do to make extra payments on our home, though. We know that we will save ourselves thousands upon thousands of dollars in interest if we pay off our home early. And when it is all paid off, the $1,oooish dollars we hand over every month will be spending money. And then we can do all sorts of fun projects! So, for now, we try to distinguish between what is “necessary” and what is “unnecessary.” Admittedly, this can be a really fine line. Exhibit A: the bathroom remodel. The shower had leaked through the basement ceiling since we moved in (It was still livable/usable because the basement shower is right below the upstairs one, so the water dripped from one shower to the next). Still, it did need to be fixed, as the problem (and  mold) would only be grow bigger the longer we put it off.  Fixing the shower was necessary. In order to find the leak, we had to rip all the tile off the wall…as long as we were tearing the room apart, we decided to tear out the linen closet as well so that we could put in a bigger vanity. This was not entirely necessary, but it certainly made sense to do it now if we were ever going to. Fine line. We probably crossed it…I don’t know.

Another thing we keep in mind when choosing our next project is that this isn’t our forever home. We try to keep resale value in mind with everything we do. Our goal is to get every penny we put into this house back when we sell it. Projects which increase our property value are our priority when considering what we should tackle next.

At the same time, this is our home now, and it will be for the next several years. Therefore, there are parts of us everywhere you look. This house is an expression of our personalities. Everything we do will inevitably have our fingerprint. We pick what we pick and do what we do because we like it. Hopefully the next people to live here will too.

I have now mentioned several philosophies we have about money and our home. I should also mention that we are a single-income family. Let’s just say saving is slow-going. A few months ago, we decided to try a cash spending system (as Dave Ramsey promotes,see here). We have separate envelopes full of cash which are designated for food, gas, car repairs, diapers, toiletries, gifts, etc. We did our best to skim off any bit of excess spending from these categories so that at least $100 every month can go toward paying off student loans and our home. Another way we have committed to saving is stashing our change: If I spend $2.15 on a gallon of milk, I consider it a $3.00 gallon of milk and put the extra $0.85 into a jar. It is nice not to deal with carrying around change. It is also fun to watch it add up.

So when it comes to spending…let’s just say we try to make every penny count! One way I love to do so is by reusing and re-purposing anything and everything I can. This is actually probably the most exciting part of decorating for me: taking something I already have, something I was given, or something I found oober cheap…and finding the perfect place or purpose for it. It is actually probably ridiculous the excitement I find in doing this. It is this type of thing that I most want to share with you! (And more likely than not, ask your opinion on.)

Thanks for joining me in the adventure. Happy Homing!

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