Monday, July 21, 2008

Catching up...

Well, it's been a while since I have posted. We bought a house! It's a 1500 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and a family room. I'm so excited. I have so many plans for this new place, that's for sure. I have to admit - I was shocked by the utility bills for this place. I have a goal - and that's to significantly reduce the energy use in that home. I can't imagine paying that much for Gas, that's for sure.

We will have to find ways to better insulate our home this year. We don't have it in our budget to replace the windows and, as they are single paned, we will have to examine our options. I'll buy curtains for the winter, that should be a help in keeping the heat in and the cold out.

I'm looking forward to gardening, and while it's too late for planting a veggie garden, I think I might be able to get some radishes and carrots in and possibly some lettuce as I know that likes cooler temperatures. I also have a clothesline! I'm so excited about that, too. It's a little umbrella type one - exactly what I wanted as it doesn't hang your undies out for the neighbourhood to see, LOL...

It's been a time of purging yet again, as we begin to pack for this next phase of our lives. We joined in with a friend for a garage sale this past weekend and managed to get rid of some of our 'stuff' and have put a bunch of things on craigslist, as well. We've decided that we will have a garage sale one more time after we move as I'm sure that once we begin to put things away in our new home, I will find that there are things that do not fit anymore. I've been putting things into garage sale boxes as I pack. It's hard to believe there are so many things I don't want anymore, especially after the many times I've done this over the last couple of years.

I've been raiding the recycling bin for newspapers to pack in. I bought some tissue paper to wrap the china in, but only one layer as the rest is newsprint. Lots and lots of paper getting another use before recycling. and all of the boxes are second hand - from friends, family and the liquor store. Another re-use before recycling. I also think I'll be able to pass along the boxes again through fullcycle or craigslist after we move. We're moving mid-month - so there will probably be lots of people who could use the boxes.

We are also on septic at our new place, so I'll be even more particular about using natural products and environmentally safe cleaners. That's a good thing - and one that won't be too difficult given that I've been switching over for some time now.

So, while I won't be posting as often as I'd planned - the next few weeks will be seeing me work towards letting go of more, looking for ways to re-use items, packing up our home and trying to ensure that I cover off everything you have to do when you move. (and boy, that's a big list!)

My tip for the day: take shorter showers! I understand the daughter at the home we are buying liked to have long showers - really long showers - and that's probably why they pay near $183/ month for gas. Yikes! We wash on cold, take shorter showers and try to make sure our son has lower water level baths (he's little, so loves a bath - but with his eczema, we use cooler water, anyway). Lots to conserve on at the new place!!!


Shihtzu Staff said...

Check how efficient your furnace is. Our blls were that high when we moved in where we are and we replaced the furnace we are now down over $40 per month.

RJ said...

thanks! I think that is part of the problem as the furnace is quite old - it also needs servicing and duct cleaning. We can't afford the new furnace right away, but will be looking into the options so that as soon as we can, we'll be ready. Since we live in such a temperate climate, I'm hoping that our furnace months this coming year will be on the lower side - but you just never know.

jen x said...

Congrats on the new house!

Maisie said...

Jackie, a thought for your windows.

You can get a diy double glzing kit which is basically clingwrap which you fit over the windows the seal in a layer of air between it and the actual window.

Also sausage dog draught excluders would be good for door that have draughts underneath.

Have a look at it is UK based but great at giving tips for saving energy and decreasing fuel bills.

RJ said...

I will definately check out that website, thanks! I was looking online at those window kits. I think we'll probably end up doing that this year, as I'm pretty sure we won't have the money to replace even just the two patio glass doors. I like the sausage dog idea - I'm going to go around the house with some incense or a lit candle to see where the draughts come from and if from the door bottom, I'll weather strip and put one of those there, too.

I'm madly looking up powersmart/energy smart stuff now as I think we'll need all the help we can get!

Gillie said...

You could probably do spinach and chard - I'm in Chicago and they are considered cool weather crops here, either at the beginning or end of the summer. Seed needs to go in in August, I think.

RJ said...

Thanks! I've never really had chard, but spinach is ideal for our son. I'm going to check out the seeds (and maybe try some chard before we move so I know if we like it)

Can't wait to buy some seed packets and plant some things!

Brenda said...

That's so exciting that you guys bought a house! Congrats!

It's been several months since I said I would start "editing" my possessions, but I finally decided there's no time like the present. Over the past fews days I sorted through a stack of boxes that I haven't opened since I moved in with Bryce (1.5 years ago!!!). I now have two large garbage bags of clothes as well as two apple boxes full of misc items to go to good will, and a dog kennel and two baby gates from our puppy days to sell in the bargain finder. It was tough to get rid of some things, but I kept telling my self to be brutal about it and cut some stuff loose.

Next on the list is to go through the boxes of kitchenware/dishes that we ended up with as doubles... It's going to be an ongoing process.

Melody said...

Congrats on the new house. I look forward to reading about how you reduce your bill. Have you thought about going solar? Maybe as a longer term plan. It would cost about $20.000 to install. With bills of $183.00 per month it would take 9 years to pay for itself if you could go net-zero. I dream of a solar-powered life!


Young Snowbird said...

For the windows, they make insulated drapes or curtains to assist with blocking the cold. They're not too expensive. I don't have a source for you off-hand, though. Those sausage dogs work well on window sills, too. If you get moisture build-up on your windows, keep a small fan running on low speed, blowing across the window. That will keep the moisture down.
In a pinch one year when I lived in an apt that had single paned windows and the outside temps were below 10 f, I took some tension rods, and some thick bath towels, sewed over one end to make a curtain, and hung the towels as insulators to keep the cold out. You can do this with with fleece blankets too, depending on how much cold air you want to keep out, and how willing you are to not have light come in.

That utility bill does hurt, eh? Have you put an insulating cover around your hot water tank? They don't cost much, can be bought at home improvement or hardware stores. Saved me a bunch of money doing that (same apt as above.)Ditto with the programmable thermostat.

Young Snowbird said...

One other tip - septic. A friend of mine kept her septic running great by using the enzymes religiously, and had maintenanced twice a year by a septic company. That really kept her system problem free!