Why Organize and Where To Start . . . .

I love watching the CBS This Morning Segments “Note to Self.” Lately, I have been longing for my younger self to give her some tips on organizing her priorities.

There are goals that I could have reached sooner had I realized how simple it would have been to make some commitments early —

  • Pick the first home to be a starter to help build a real estate portfolio of rental properties — I so wish I had kept my first home that was bought for $75,000 in 1979.
  • Don’t be fooled by lower interest rates and refinancing too often, you lose ground every time you re-up any loan for the same term.
  • Don’t start the habit of accumulating things — get out and have adventures instead. It’s really only the big occasions in life that you remember what you wore — BUT — you always remember a trip and who you were with.
  • Keep active forever — feeling good is essential to getting up every day and looking forward to new life experiences.
  • Never stop learning — be curious and stay current on all new technology.

I never asked myself where I want to be in 20/30/40 years. It was not even a flicker of a thought. I never worried about retirement and what that would look like. I thought every book that professed a new idea for success was mandatory reading for me. Buying a family home was huge in my life plan but I never realized how the percentage that it took of the family income would keep adventures out of the realm of possibility. I stopped riding bikes and running on a regular basis — why?

Don’t feel bad for me. My life is good:

  • I have learned to not accumulate clothes or books — there are many of both that I have donated over the last 10 years. Especially those instant business success books that didn’t translate into my success.
  • The closets and cupboards are not hiding unknown surprises. I don’t buy the stuff that used to fill them up — never to be seen again.
  • I graduated from college with my Bachelor Degree later in life. It was a regret I could not ignore — it was worth everything to have that piece of paper.
  • I go over my financial picture every week with the help of Quicken.
  • I love to work and have created a career that incorporates all that I do well and look forward to in my day — I have had many jobs and took the pieces of each that I loved and created When House Is Home.
  • I created this website and am learning how to live in a paperless world (at work and at home). I must admit though, Minecraft still escapes me.

What would you tell your younger self? Do you regret the choices you didn’t make? Is there still time to reach your goals? I say YES!

It’s Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been

P.S. I still need to work on bike riding and running — I will update you on my progress. . . . .

Brave Enough

What I’ve come to notice is that if we are brave enough to allow parts of ourselves to die — old roles, old beliefs, and old identities that no longer serve us — then we can evolve more fully into our authentic selves. Sit with that.

Maria Shriver

Change is scary and hard. It is easier to stay in the comfort zone of every day life. Problem is there is a moment when the question becomes “what if I’d…….”

I got comfortable with the safe pattern of being a nurturer rather than a dreamer. I avoided risk and set myself up for zero growth as I aged. I wanted to make sure that no one was ever angry or disappointed in me. I was becoming a very uninteresting and sad person.

Funny thing, there always comes a day of reckoning with yourself. Here is when it happened for me:

  • I was in the walk-in refrigerator of our restaurant crying for the thousandth time;
  • I had lost my laugh;
  • Our life savings was in that business and I could not walk out;
  • What the heck did I want — no one knew.

I decided it was time to find someone to help me sort out what I was feeling. I found a counselor who did not let me feel sorry for myself. Instead we worked on a finding out what I wanted and setting goals week by week. I lost my tears and gained a plan.

We sold the restaurant a year later. I enrolled in college. I got busy and had to restructure my day so that my kids, my husband and my home did not take the hit for me finding myself. I made the decision that even if I only had the ability to take one class a semester, I would not stop till I completed my degree. It took me almost 15 years but I graduated and found my strength in the process. I did not quit when it got tough. Tests and term papers became my challenge. Although going to school was tough on my family, they never wavered in their support for me.

How does this story relate to When House is Home you ask? Through it all our home was a part of all the changes I went through. I always felt relief that I had this space to give me comfort when I opened the door. It was filled with chaos and love. It was set up to be a happy place. No matter where I was in my world, it never failed me. When a home recharges your spirit — you know it is meant to be yours.

I learned to trust my instincts that the paths I had taken all these years were exactly what I was meant to do. What role do you want to shed? If you could wake up tomorrow and be doing anything, what would it be? I am paying more attention to people who do great things with a simple idea — one of them is 4Ocean. They are two surfers who started cleaning up the ocean trash, one pound at a time.

When House Is Home

What I Learned This Week

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau

My struggle has always been to stay in the present. Writing is my tool to keep me humble. My outward demeanor does not always match what my brain is thinking. I want to laugh all the time but I am so serious most of my days ~~ is it possible to find those waves that Thoreau is talking about?

I subscribe to Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper ~~ she makes me laugh in her quest to be unique, she too is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants aside from expectations and she interviews interesting people with thought provoking problem solving ideas on her podcast “Meaningful Conversations” ~~ all the ingredients that keep me coming back each week. I like the way she approaches life and inspiration is a great way to move forward.

This week my husband and I made a major life decision:

When Downsizing is Not Downsizing

We have been looking at smaller homes in our area. We knew downsizing would be hard but would open up possibilities ~~ smaller yard, smaller inside, more free time. Turns out downsizing would have been more stressful to achieve than we hoped:

  • We would be making a lateral move financially and the security we have built up over our last 36 years would dissolve.
  • My husband’s creative vision for our yard would disappear with a sale and I reminded him, “when our family and friends step outside, they feel your love.”
  • Every room has meaning and that was our plan.
  • A larger home means more movement each day ~~ a good thing for our health.
  • Our neighborhood is familiar and comforting.
  • Watching a moving van pull away would take too much of the life we built together with it.

Home is a feeling ~~ not stuff. We must come up with a new idea for an adventure but we want to come home to the place we love.

And so, we are staying. We are relieved. We laugh more each day. We have to rely on our imaginations to come up with new ways to explore our need for change. We must stay healthy to keep up with our home maintenance schedule. Creative financial planning must become a date night topic.

We are still those two young marrieds with four kids who created a beloved home with meaning. We are not ready to let it go . . . . .

When House Is Home Family

Transition

Take a step back and really know that you want to be a homeowner. If those reasons outweigh your worries about the market, then you are on the right track. When we bought our home 36 years ago, interest rates were 12- 1/4% but we bought to build a family environment that helped ease the stress of a blended family with our kids. Our home is part of the family and has provided a safe refuge to rest, energize and get back out in the world for our kids (we have four) — even though they are now on their own.

Life At Home

If you have a five-year plan to stay, try to buy something that you can keep, pay off and possibly rent out for future retirement income — my biggest regret is that we did not keep the first home we sold when we bought this one.

Make a Plan


If you decide it is time to buy your home, it is likely that you will walk into a house, look around and say “This is Home” . . . . Your journey has begun.

Your Journey

When House is Home

Your home is your recharge station. It starts and ends your day. It is such a good feeling when you walk in the door and look around and love what you see.

Create Your Vision

How many times have you passed by a room, your closet, the garage, the yards or your office and said “it’s time for me to do something about that space.” Months can go by and you still have not found the time to work on the space that is driving you crazy. Contact us — we can help!

Make Your Home Yours

It all starts with a “to do” list and your budget. A simple start is best and we begin with the end in mind. If it was all done — what would it look like? We have used this process to update and organize our own home over the last 34 years — the best feeling is knowing something is getting done and that your list is working.

Set Your Goals

Chris can help with the landscape design or updating of your yards. Start with the basics of making sure the sprinklers are working and then planting of each section can be done over time.  Believe me — our yard did not look like this when we moved in! Over time, following a plan, we realized our vision.

Our Yard Over Time

Sherry can help with organizing those closets, the garage, your office, photos and paperwork. It can be tough to let go of things that you think you might need in the future — but clutter can keep you anxious. Clothes that you save for “some day” can make room for new items that update your look. Photos that have been stored in the back of a closet for years can be brought out and shared. Income tax time can be made easy when paperwork is organized with files that keep getting updated every month. The garage can stop being the “throw and close the door.”

A Simple Place For Everything

 

Go to our CONTACT tab and email us with your “to do” list.  We offer a free first consultation and service all of Orange County, California.