And Now It’s Ours: Our First House

This is our first house, but not our first home.

When money is flowing through our fingers like water for this renovation, we’ve called the plumber three times, Doug put in the new floor, and everything is freshly painted white, it’s kind of hard to believe that this is really for us.

We saved up our money for it so we were prepared, but I still have thoughts like, “Is it okay to spend that much money on something trivial like shelf liners?” “Will this choice be timeless or outdated in ten years?” “Is this the best quality and value for the money so we only have to buy it once?”

In college I knew too many children who didn’t have socks, and I knew them so well that when I started earning more money, it was hard to spend it on things like expensive home furnishings. Every dollar represented money that could have been used to buy a pair of socks for a disadvantaged child, so I had to be responsible with my choices about spending money, not out of guilt, but just from knowing.

One time I mentioned that to someone, and she looked horrified as she said, “I could never live like that!” so I don’t really talk about it much anymore.

I spend money more easily for the household now because it’s not just for me, and I’ve seen how buying quality can save money in the long run. That’s why I was so glad to find a home that hadn’t been renovated yet. The counters, the floors, and everything had served a single family for forty years, so we carefully made updates that might last another forty. Will we live here for that long or only a few years? Only time will tell.

We brought in our furnishings from our storage unit where they have waited in boxes for nine months.

For the kids it was like Christmas, no, like five Christmases when they saw their old toys again. They stayed in their rooms to play again with their toys, and we didn’t see them for two whole days.

Indeed it was kind of like Christmas because I boxed everything in the days after last year’s Christmas, so our things were packed in the remnants of old wrapping paper and the newspapers from that week, our dishes secured with green ribbon and cushioned by crumpled-up red and silver shiny paper.

Our things look good in our new house. They seem to fit, and yes, I know I’m teasing you by not showing more pictures yet, but we’ve been so busy doing that there was not much time for telling about it. Soon, I promise.


Also, the online workshop for Simple Blogging is on Wednesday. Registration is still open. We’ll be talking about using a long-term perspective for blogging and time management so that you can position yourself to realize your goals, avoid blogging burnout, and spend less time overall at the computer. There will be plenty of time for Q&A as well. Sign up for it here.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Can’t wait to see the “After” pics. Thank you for sharing this with us!
    Michelle Traudt´s last post…Passionate About What Does Matter

  2. I’m also so excited for after pictures!

    And I love the mental image of your stuff wrapped in Christmas paper. How nice to have a little pre-Christmas in September!

    How exciting to finally be in your own home again. :)
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Paris to the Past: Traveling Through French History by Train

  3. Oh you are such a tease! I just KNEW there would be pictures!
    I am looking forward to your workshop this week! Will be nice to actually “hear” your voice!
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s last post…Fighting Bloggy Burnout

  4. I find myself second guessing things like that too… It drives my husband crazy. It’s not that he isn’t compassionate or aware as much as he wants to see me do nice and good for me. I guess it’s a fine line…

    can’t wait to see/hear more about your new home!

  5. “timeless” and “classic” are two things i look for in clothes and home furnishings. can’t wait to see and read more!
    Katherine´s last post…Halfway through- the update

  6. Congratulations on your new house, and on unpacking! We’re still living on a single income, but are starting to replace things (as they break, or wear, etc) with quality ones. Looking at long-term value instead of something that will be dated or stop functioning in a year.

    I think it’s a great transition – to a more sustainable life.

    Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic´s last post…Postcards from Phoenix

  7. Congrats on moving into your first house! I’m looking forward to seeing some more pictures.

    BTW, I signed up for your workshop and read “Simple Blogging” this past weekend. The book blew my mind! I’m already feeling less stressed and more hopeful about my blog. Thank you!
    Sage´s last post…How Do You Hue? Synesthesia

  8. I know that feeling. And since there’s far more need in the world than what our life savings amounts to, it’s not an issue that can be resolved. Realistically, we are going to be buying things we don’t need while other people struggle for survival. I guess it helps to make sure that we love the things we buy, and to get in the habit of giving.

  9. What a great time in your life! I can’t wait until I’m there too. Enjoy it :)

    Jenna´s last post…My Family Meal Planner Giveaway

  10. Congratulations! A busy and exciting time, to be sure.
    Please tell us about those red shoes! Too cute!

  11. OK, I have to ask. Where did you get your shoes?
    Wendy´s last post…My Not So New Job

    • They are Spring Steps “Juniper” and I ordered them from

      • They are super cute!

        • I have the same shoes but in brown. Aren’t they comfy? Good luck on your new home! And I know what you mean about money – I know a few friends who waste so much money and they are near retirement. What are they thinking?

  12. Yes yes yes to the having a hard time spending money thing. I have the same issue. Especially when it comes to buying clothes for myself.

    Congratulations on the house!
    Nichole´s last post…How to win acquaintances and influence very little

    • I completely agree. My wardrobe is super small. I am finally going to purchase a second pair of jeans (that way I have 2 pairs). I am a runner, the one part of my “wardrobe” I am ok with spending money on are my shoes (which last me a good 4-5 months).

  13. I just recently found your blog and have enjoyed your philosophy on money matters. When my husband and I were first married, and through about year 15, we had very little money. Now things are different and we have more money, but I still am so frugal. My friends buy expensive purses and don’t think twice about dropping $300-400 on a bag. They want me to as well, but that amount of money represents more than I used to have to buy groceries for my family of 5 for an entire month. I see money in a different way than they do. So, I understand what you mean. Congrats on your home and making it feel special.

  14. Settling in is special. Congrats on making your space your place.

  15. I can’t wait for pictures!

    I’ve become a lot more mindful with spending. Less trips to Target. Less trips to the grocery store (and if I go, I buy only what is needed, though chocolate can be quite tempting sometimes.) What can get frustrating is sometimes when we get a head a bit, big bills, sometimes unexpected bills roll in and I get frustrated and overwhelmed, then my mind goes to “there are some people out there less fortunate than me.” That will always put things in perspective.

    Enjoy your house! ;)

  16. So happy for you! It probably doesn’t seem like it to you, but that was a fast home renovation. I cannot wait to see all the pictures. Post them soon, please!
    Jennie´s last post…Simple Pleasures

  17. Congratulations! And to help balance the “kids who don’t have socks” phenomenon…
    The priest who built our church used to remark with pride about the marble altar. Not because it was fancy, but because it was *easy.* It cleaned up in no time, required very little to make it look fancy, and didn’t scuff, scratch, or get marked. He was happy to say he chose it for those reasons, and used to say, “Don’t go cheap–you can’t afford it!” And in all the years–pews have been repaired and replaced, other decor has been redone, but that altar stands and looks as great today as it did on Day 1.
    Not to say your kitchen should be marble. You do what you can with what you have. But. The more durable choice tends to be a good one for the bigger picture as well.
    MemeGRL´s last post…MPM–September Surprises

  18. Oh I love that wall of boxes!!! How fun to refind your treasures… Happy discovering!!!
    se7en´s last post…Sunday Snippet: A Faith Cook GiveAway Winner…

  19. It is a special time when the boxes sit like presents ready to open and each one opened brings fresh as well as long forgotten memories of the when, where and from whom we got the article. How wonderful to have a new house to make into a home with all the possibilities of ‘you’ in that residence at a new address now with your name on the mailbox. Congratulations for all the patience and for painting those walls white, I love white walls. Adding furniture and assessories in other colors is so fun with the blank palate of white behind you. I commend you on your journey and hope this is not the last in your young life. Again congratulations from another Texan.

  20. First off, love the red buckle shoes.

    Second, I’m off to check out the link about spending money “not out of guilt…” I struggle with this. Excited to read your words.
    Amy Sullivan´s last post…Napping and Refocus

  21. Congratulations. Enjoy every moment of your new home…actually, it sounds like you are already. Eagerly awaiting your photos whenever you get the time.

  22. So glad to hear you got moved in! I’m sure all of the updates you two did look amazing and will last a long time. I think when renovating a home it is easy to try to think of the next owners and what they might want, but at the end of the day, you have to live there and the way that your home looks, and subsequently, makes you feel is very, very important. Make your home your sanctuary and it will all fall into place from there. At least that’s my philosophy! Can’t wait to see pictures!

  23. I found your blog recently and really appreciate your approach to blogging and life! Just signed up for your class! Can’t wait!

  24. Oh wow! congrats on getting moved into your very own house! I got started reading your blog when looking for ways to decorate and feel at home in temporary homes, we’ve lived in 9 houses in our 7 years of marriage! and it looks like we might be moving again soon! It’s so encouraging to read about and hear from other people who have moved alot and have finally found a spot to settle down in! =)
    I really appreciate how you point out that spending a little more for quality is more important than just saving money now =)

  25. We are in the process of selling our first home. Looking at your I photos reminds me how much I will need to do. Groan… Congratulations, looks like a great place to grow some love.

  26. Congratulations on your own home. When it belongs to you it makes everything special.

  27. Woohoo! Congratulations on finally getting moved in. It must be so exciting. When I read on your previous post that you were living from your trunk, I was so amazed. Have a wonderful time unpacking all of your treasures.

  28. Look forward to seeing your “after” pictures. What color of white did you choose for your home?

  29. Yippee ! I am so thrilled for you. Hearty Congratulations.
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Sometimes You Just Have To Be A Gemma

  30. Congratulations on your new home! Looking forward to seeing pictures of the work you’ve done!
    Natalie @ Maple Leaf Circle´s last post…A Homeschool Life Down Under

  31. Congratulations! I can’t wait for pictures. I’m already excited.

  32. Congrats! We just bought our first house in May and I relate to lots of what you’ve said. We really liked the Lowe’s boxes too. Happy unpacking, settling and *living* in your new house, just your latest *home*. Kelly
    Kelly´s last post…happy fall!

  33. What a great reward for all the hard work – home! I enjoy unpacking and nesting but I can imagine it might be a little more difficult with children. I don’t have any yet! Thanks for including us in on all the fun! As everyone else, I can’t wait to see pictures!

  34. I know the feeling of “knowing” and it is sometimes frustrating. I said to my husband not that long ago that I sometimes wish I could mindlessly shop, spend, consume, eat, live without thinking about social causes and the greater reach of my choices. I mean, sometimes buying precut chicken breasts for $1.88/lb. sounds really convenient, not to mention economical, but I can’t get past the conditions those chickens have suffered and the poor quality of their resulting nutritional value. Even though I love hanging clothes to dry, even I’ll admit that using my dryer would be faster and easier . . . but I can’t do it on a sunny day without thinking about the energy being wasted. And then there’s the consuming–I no longer feel comfortable buying birthday gifts or even accepting them, because I know I don’t “need” any of it. Being socially conscious is a pain in the a** a lot of the time. I guess that’s just another First World problem, though, right?

  35. Congratulations! I’m so happy that your house is your own. Looking forward to the next chapters…

  36. I am so sorry missed the workshop! Would have loved to attend!

    Congratulations on your new house!

  37. Congrats on the move! Where were you before? (I just started following today – followed from Sorta Crunchy.) My family and I are moving into our own home for the first time too (although were not buying but renting, and we were living in intentional community for 2 1/2 years.
    rachel – even one sparrow´s last post…Blog Highlight: Justice Pirate