I hate budgeting.
But it must be done.
I will say from the top that I don’t need anything else in the apartment. I do not need anything to complete this project. In fact, I could get rid of a whole lot of things and still have everything I need to make the apartment clean and organized.
I could just wash my hands of this whole budgeting issue by making “buy nothing” one of the rules. The only problem is that, having met me, I know that I would break this rule, and without guidelines, I would break it hard, because I really love buying things.
I won’t know everything I want for each space until I am spending the week focusing on it, but here’s a small dose of what I have been pondering:
Entryway (includes all the odd space between the door and the living area):
- Divider shelf to make a stacked display of the espresso cups
- Small cabinet for liquor storage/bar paraphernalia (hello, garage sales, because I am not paying retail)
- Books for CDs so I can get rid of all those hideous jewel cases
Living room and writing nook:
- Sheets, inexpensive fabric – something to make curtains out of that 1) is not sheer and 3) matches or can be dyed to match (ish – doesn’t have to be exact)
- Possibly dye
- Storage containers – leaning toward mason jars for most things but will need larger ones for multiple flours
- Small shelves to maximize space in all the cabinets
- Wooden slats to fix bottom drawer of chest of drawers and perhaps make slats for bakeware
- Barring the ability to find inexpensive shelving, spice jars that will stack
- Add to my Simple Additions collection (Pampered Chef plates, bowls, etc. – also, I’m a consultant, so if you see something you like, I can hook you up. /shameless plug)
- Under-the-bed storage
- Storage chest for end of bed
- Material to make curtains (or just buying curtains) for east window
- Materials to make headboard
- Silver accessories – soap dispenser, trash can, etc.
- Plum linens – six bath towels, two hand towels, shower curtain, bath mat(s)
That’s a long list already for a home that doesn’t really need anything.
This week, I am going to start pricing things and scouring garage sales and thrift stores. Because here’s the kicker – I’m going to give myself a $300 limit. For the whole summer. And I’m anxious about even setting aside that much, because I really do not need anything at all.
I can buy almost everything secondhand on my list or make it myself. I imagine the bulk of the money will be spent on the bathroom (because secondhand towels give me the icks), so I’m saving $150 for it (I have some coupons). That means that the other four areas have to average $35 apiece, with a $10 cushion. I will have to be careful. Because I have four huge windows in the living room/writing nook, and finding curtains for all four that either match or at least fit together in an artsy but not college-student-living-on-ramen kind of way for less than $35 is going to take a miracle (or a really fantastic estate sale).
When it comes to spending money on my apartment this summer, I will remember two things:
- I will not consider the week a failure if I can’t find items that fit into my budget by the end of the week that the room is supposed to be “done.” I will remember that the whole point of this project is that making a home is an on-going, ever-changing, organic process. It is unreasonable to expect that it will be My Ultimate Living Environment by the end of the summer.
- Even though the work is going to be divided into areas, the shopping doesn’t have to be. If I find inexpensive storage or great towels this week, I’m going to go ahead and buy them. Particularly if they are on sale.
Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are going to be thrift afternoons, but I reserve the right to shop whenever I feel like it. Also, garage sales happen on Saturdays, so that’s when I’ll be doing that. I will also be scouring Denton’s Freecycle list more carefully (meaning, I’ll actually read the email instead of saying, “Ack! No! No more stuff!” and deleting it without opening it). And SCRAP just became my favorite store of the summer, because the next two Fridays are fabric sales, and I might find jars there that will serve my spice storage needs. I am actively planning to make out like a bandit.