Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

The new house

I’m interrupting the scheduled talk about diabetes diets to give you a tour or my new house.  With a couple of strokes of an ink pen this house on Date Street is no longer mine and no longer a big headache.  Now I’m in limbo between houses.

The renter in the new house did move on schedule which meant I finally got to see the inside. I knew I’d be buying the house no matter what shape it was inside even without seeing it. Renters often leave houses in bad shape and that person was angry over having to move.  There was a lot of trash left behind by the renter but the seller had guys there cleaning it all up. This is my new house.  See the warehouse behind it?  I’ll talk about it in a minute.

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From the outside the house looks big but the square footage is less than the house I’m leaving.  Does that bother me? Absolutely not. I’m happy about it.  For a long time I had thought about getting one of those tiny house things on wheels or possibly a shed turned into a house.  This house is bigger than either one of those ideas but I do have a small house like I want.  This house is just right for my retirement house and I can continue quilting.

I have a storage shed!  Its small too but plenty large enough for a mower, garden tools, and holiday decorations.  There is a shelf on one side that could hold extra canning jars.

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It has a nice shaded back yard with a brick patio.  The driveway gravel has spread into the yard.  I’m not sure if that was deliberate or not.  Eventually I’ll rake that back for more yard space.  It has a shade tree in the center of the yard with a limb just right for a rope swing to be added.  There’s a dog house that’s in really good shape.   Maybe it can be re-purposed for something.  In this picture you can see the warehouse better.

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The backyard is actually several feet below the level of the warehouse.  The warehouse has a basement which is actually higher than the height of the shed.  My backyard is level with the floor of their basement. Some people wouldn’t like a warehouse behind them but I see it as a really big privacy fence as well as protection from possible high winds during storms.  I might be allowed to paint a pretty country garden scene on it. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

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Just about 8 or 10 feet beyond the left corner of that building is a railroad track.  Trains scare the dickens out of me.  I’ve always avoided them if possible.  Trains are required to move slowly through this area which means very little noise.  The trains would be hidden by the bushes.  If I don’t see them or hear them I don’t think I’ll be scared.

There is actually enough sun for a small garden.  This picture was taken about 9 am.  Evidently someone had a small garden there at one time because I found some raised bed type boards almost buried in the ground.  A little work and they might be reusable.  I also found one lettuce plant struggling to survive in a shaded area. I think I’ll put a cage around it and let it live and go to seed.  If its hardy enough to live then the seeds it produces should be good hardy ones.

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Now lets go into the house.  I forgot to get a photo of the laundry room.  It has a washer and dryer which are not in very good shape. I’ll freecycle those.  Mine are going with me.

This is my kitchen.  I don’t like or want the stove.  Mine is newer with much better features.  I have a self cleaning oven and a clock timer for turning the oven on at a certain time then turning it off again later.  I’m going to ask if I’m allowed to take my stove or should I buy another one.  I can’t live with the one thats there.  The oven is dirty and it has no features.  The fridge is clean enough to use so its staying for awhile.  I do like my bar fridge and will decide later which to keep.

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So let’s continue with the tour.  We stand in the kitchen looking down the hall.  The new quilting room is to the left with 2 bedrooms at the end and bathroom on the right.

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My quilting machine will just barely fit into the front room.  While we were there the seller and I ripped out the carpet from the quilting room and the hallway so the trash guys could haul it away. It had to come out before the machine is put into place. The wood floor underneath does have some issues which would be easily fixable. I’m thinking maybe I could rent a sander and refinish it before the machine is moved.  If not I’ll do it someday in the near future.

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The bedroom on the left is probably going to be a den because its the largest of the two.  I need space for a couch and tv watching area for visitors or grand kids. Never had that at my current house.

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The bedroom on the right is where I’ll have my room.  I’m glad I only have a double bed and not something larger.  It will fit nicely in the room.

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Both rooms do still have carpet but that’s coming out eventually. There is a closet in every room including the bathroom.  Yeah!

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The bathroom does need some work.  It will be strange having plastic instead of ceramic tile around the tub.  I’m not sure about the shower head.  I don’t know if its water efficient.  I can worry about that later.

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Time to go up the stairs to see what it looks like up there.  The stairway is just inside the front door.

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At the top of the stairs is a built in closet area.   Perfect for storing off season clothing or extra linens.

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One bedroom to the left with carpet removed. We didn’t do that, it was already gone. There is a patched place in the ceiling from a tree branch falling on it.  It was inspected to be sure there wasn’t any structural damage to the rafters before it was patched.

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Other bedroom to the right with carpet still there.  That will be Ladybug’s room.  Her favorite color is purple and the carpet is purple.  She’s gonna love it.

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Both rooms have a closet that is actually the windows you see from the outside.  There is a fire escape ladder in each.

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It was hard to get a photo when facing the sun so here is one taken from the side.  I’m thinking those closets could be changed to seating areas just perfect for grand kids to sit while reading books. The closet at the top of the stairs is big enough it could be converted into two closets with openings on either side.  One for each room.

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Well that was the house tour for now.  You got to see it as soon as I did.  Moving is both exciting and scary at the same time.  More than once I doubted and second guessed my decision to move.  I had my real estate man give me pep talks when I had those doubts.  I asked him to talk to me as if I was his mother making the decision.  That worked great.

Its scary because only a few days ago I was completely debt free. Now I’m putting myself thousands of dollars in debt again and for a very long time.  I hate debt.  Debt scares me alot.  I’m also afraid the household expenses may be really high and I can’t afford them. I’ll just have to be very conservative for awhile until I know how much those expenses will be.  For certain there will be some energy upgrades ASAP.  I’m hoping the quilting income will be enough to reassure me I can afford living there.

I’m also excited about moving.  Moving means new stuff.  Moving means new decorating and organizing ideas.  Moving means freedom from neighborhood stress.  Moving means I’ll no longer have to worry about drive by shootings and getting shot while setting inside the house minding my own business.  No more living in the center of three gang territories. Moving means no more dealing with young kids who don’t receive any discipline.  No more thump thump thumping cars, loud motorcycles, or arguing with neighbors about parking space.  No more neighbors visiting just to see what I have and what they can “borrow” from me without returning it.

My furry kid and I will enjoy our yard without worry over big fighting or biting dogs sneaking up on us.  The grand kids will have a yard to run around and play instead of being confined to just a front porch.  I’ll have a house I won’t be ashamed of letting family visit and no more feeling like I live in a garage.

Oh my gosh, I just realize there won’t be meat eating ants or mice or rats in the new kitchen.  I saw no evidence of either when I was there.  The more I think about what I will have that I don’t have here, or vice versa, the more excited I get.

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40 comments on “The new house

  1. Lyndsey Stanfill
    August 1, 2016

    Looks fantastic. I’m very excited for you!

    • Anita
      August 2, 2016

      Thank you Lyndsey.

  2. mem37814
    June 10, 2016

    I think anyone is wise to prepare to down size an declutter while your health is good enough to do .I have a friend in her 80’s,has had a stroke an is now w/ her daughter.She was always going to- but never got around to it..Now the burden is on her family. She could have used that room/space,money from the sale of unwanted items etc. but she chose to do nothing.. I am proud of u NaNa. Thanks for sharing w/ us

    • Anita
      June 11, 2016

      I agree and thank you. I’ve gone on purging spells at different times over the years. I can stand the buildup of STUFF only for so long and then it needs to go out. I keep repeating to myself “if I should die today would my family want this item” and it usually works for me. I’m hoping this will be the last purge for a long time.

  3. Randal Oulton
    June 9, 2016

    “Renters often leave houses in bad shape” I was a bit surprised to hear a sweeping statement like that. Not having the money to buy a house is not a lack of character. It’s a lack of cash. :}

    • Anita
      June 9, 2016

      Yes, I see your point. I meant no disrespect to anyone. I’m a person with a lack of funds and I’m a good person. I sometimes forget there is a whole different world away from the crime ridden world I’ve been living in. Hmm… I wonder how long it will take me to see the world differently after I move.

      In my world renters barely have the funds to move and absolutely no funds for hauling junk to the dump. In my world people don’t respect themselves, their neighbors, or other people’s property so they are not going to respect the next person to move into a house. Add in that they are angry at the landlord and its even worse. I hear people say “Its not mine anymore so I don’t care about it.” The combination of those things results in renters often leaving a house in bad shape.

  4. carenowplease
    June 8, 2016

    My next move will be at the end of the year, I am selling up and going to get a tiny place I know I will be able to manage the bills.
    So I am already sorting and ridding and selling or giving things away.

    Congratulations and good luck for your new home.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      Good luck with yours too.

  5. boblosan
    June 8, 2016

    Congratulations on your wonderful new home! It’s lovely and I’m sure the changes you want to make will make it even more comfortable and workable. I like the purple rug, too :). May God bless you and keep you safe in your new home.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      Thank you. It already feels comfortable.

  6. J.
    June 8, 2016

    I´m so happy for you. Congratulations! Your new house looks like a happy place!!! It´ll be a wonderful home. Good wishes from Patagonia, j.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      Thank you. You are right it is a happy place.

  7. Linda
    June 8, 2016

    I am so happy for you. Your house is such a pretty cottage in the style I love – I couldn’t be more excited for you. I admire you so much and I’m glad you get to feel safe again.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      All I can say is thank you.

  8. Theresa
    June 8, 2016

    I like the look of the new house! It’s funny about trains. When I was a kid I had a lot of nightmares and I’d wake up in the middle of the night and listen to the trains running and it made me feel safe because I knew I was back in the right place at the right time. Not sure what is scary about trains, but maybe if you hear them you can remember scared kid who felt better because of trains.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      Me being scared of trains is because when I was 5 years old I saw another kid try to rescue his puppy that was on the tracks. The boy wasn’t quick enough and lost both arms above the elbow. I’ve never been able to forget the images I saw that day. I know it was a long time ago and I will learn to live near the tracks. It will take time.

  9. Kathleen
    June 8, 2016

    Anita,
    I am just thrilled for you…Love the new home….I have always wanted another upstairs bedroom….I had one once when I was about 15yrs old..,Windows all around 3 walls,trees shading in the hot afternoon….waking to the birds chirping in the early morning and late evening…but we only lived (rented) there for 6 months..I have fond memories of it though.
    God Bless you and yours!!
    Kathleen

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      That is the same thoughts I had about the upstairs rooms when I first saw them. How much Ladybug is going to love it up there.

  10. Jackie
    June 8, 2016

    Yay for HAPPY, new beginnings! You deserve this, Anita! Your house is darling!

    • Anita
      June 10, 2016

      Thanks Jackie.

  11. sarasinart
    June 8, 2016

    Congratulations on a new and wonderful house! Some things that need prettied up don’t seem too bad, and it all has such great possibilities. And you could have a little garden to grow some of your own veggies. It’s all very exciting for you!

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks, thats how I feel. Nothing that can’t be fixed.

  12. Kathy Thompson
    June 7, 2016

    I’m so happy for you! We recently retired–earlier than planned due to family and health issues–and we’ve downsized as well. We LOVE the new smaller house. The most difficult part was deciding to donate instead of doing yard sales. We let our grandsons do one yard sale to earn some Christmas money, but it just didn’t pay enough for a repeat. We chose to donate so that our things might bless others. Your new home is just lovely!! I hope all works out for you and you have a wonderful time fixing things the way you like. Anxious to read more about it! Enjoy!!

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Yes, that part is difficult. I’ve been donating to freecycle, the library book sale, and a homeless shelter. A yard sale just wouldn’t work in this neighborhood. I do plan to take more than I’ll actually keep but only temporary. If something doesn’t fit or doesn’t look right at the new house it will be donated.

  13. KAYTHEGARDENER
    June 7, 2016

    Dear Na-Na,
    For the plastic surround in the bath, get a squeegee & be sure to wipe down the walls after people use it. Soap scum seems to stick & dull it faster than ceramic tile & don’t use abrasive cleaners on it or it might scratch… Just a hint from cleaning other people’s houses ):

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks for the advice. I put a squeegee on my shopping list. Can you suggest something to clean soap scum off that’s already there? I use vinegar or peroxide for most of my cleaning but the renter had lots of kids. It may already be scratched to a dull finish. You have any suggestions for cleaning ceiling fans with layers of greasy dirt?

  14. cynthia
    June 7, 2016

    How wonderful! It’s a cute house with lots of possibilities and you will have so much fun moving in your things and making it your home. I love those wood floors and the kitchen has lots of space.
    I just sold my house in Minnesota and moved to South Carolina where we are renting and house hunting. Very hard to find something nice enough that we can afford.

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thats a long way from Minnesota. Where in SC? I have quilt customers that live in Bluffton. They tell me SC is a really nice place to retire at. I got very lucky with my house. I’ve known the owners for a really long time. They are retiring and wanted to sell the rental property. I needed a house in a better neighborhood. A win for both of us.

  15. mem37814
    June 7, 2016

    I am so excited for you. Thanks for the tour. You have a house and now you are making it into a home.Maybe you will have free cycle there and can get some items. if u need. Please keep us up dated. I am sure u will budget to keep your cost low…

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Yes, we have freecycle here. I’ve freecycled several things I didn’t want to take with me. Without a car its very difficult to get things for myself from freecycle. I do yard sales and thrift shops with pretty good results.

  16. anita
    June 7, 2016

    so happy for you!!

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks Anita.

  17. Jane
    June 7, 2016

    Your brand new nest looks absolutely wonderful! I’m so happy for you. 🙂

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks Jane.

  18. Leslie Saunders
    June 7, 2016

    I am so happy for you. It looks ” homey” and comfortable.

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks Leslie, it does feel comfortable. I feel the tension leave me the minute I walk into it.

  19. Donna
    June 7, 2016

    So happy for you Anita! You will be so happy. Wish I could reach through the Internet and give you a hug!

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks Donna. Hugs would be nice.

  20. Margie in Toronto
    June 7, 2016

    So pleased for you – it sounds as though it’s perfect for you and the yard will be wonderful. Moving is so much work though so try not to overdo it if you can – hope you have lots of help from the family.

    • Anita
      June 8, 2016

      Thanks Margie. I’m moving only the stuff not too heavy to lift. Books, fabrics, dishes and that sort of thing. I have a son in law with a couple of friends to do the heavy lifting.

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