Perhaps like some of you, I have almost been suckered into purchasing one of those trendy “Family Rules” wall hangings that started surfacing in small gift shops and antique stores (only to be snatched up and reconstituted by the Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s of the world) that tell us “in our family, we do second chances”. What has stopped me from purchasing said wall décor is the same thing that stops me from making New Year’s Resolutions every year. I don’t want this thing in writing telling me that I’m only going to watch Netflix once per week or eat ice cream once per week or to “always say your sorry” just so I can feel bad when I go to bed angry, having had ice cream twice that day, the second time during a marathon of “Orange is the New Black”. Jeez….who needs that kind of pressure?!
In our family, the reality is that most days, we do dysfunction and chaos. We do messes. And I don’t know anybody who would want that hanging on their wall (although, now that I’ve written it, I kind of love it and do want that hanging on my wall). All this to say, I’ve found myself in a few situations over the past several weeks that have made me want to make my own set of “Guidelines and Things to Keep in Mind,” for my family only, based on some things that could use a little tweaking…perhaps. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see.
1. Don’t buy stuff off of Craigslist. Especially if, when you drive the 45 minutes out to Scandia, it is furniture sitting in a barn. You will spend an ENTIRE DAY Rug Doctoring that crap only to get it into your house smelling faintly of barn.
2. Don’t buy stuff on clearance. Clearance is not “aka” great. It’s “aka” stuff nobody else wants, outdated stuff, or “we have so much of this stuff, we’ll basically give it to you for free.” Does that sound like something you want? The answer is no, Karin. NO. Unless it is the end of season patio tent you picked up at Home Depot that was regularly $199 for $59. Yeah, that was amazing.
3. If any red flags go up during the buying process, do not go through the process of buying. You will not lose the weight, it will not look better with a different bra, you will not sew the tear or hem it up or dye the fabric or spray paint it black. It will not get more comfortable or work better the more you use it. You will not use it. The scratch will bother you. You will not figure it out when you get home. You will not make it work.
4. Buy bins (credit goes to my husband for this one). Buy all kinds of catch-all bins, storage bins, large bins, and small bins. Don’t worry about how much you spend on bins. They will make you appear more organized and help you when you need to clean stuff up quickly. Which is always.
5. When your husband says he is going to clean out the garage, don’t believe him. What he means is, “I am going to start cleaning the garage so that you cannot park your car in it for several months.” That is all.
6. Stop buying foreclosures. You are project starters, not project finishers. By the time the house is finished, you will move. While you live there, the projects will consume you and drive you crazy. It’s only a “good” investment if in the end, you still have your sanity. Which, at this point, is really questionable.
7. Stop taking on other peoples convictions! Don’t put down the Quaker granola bars in lieu of the granola bars with “ancient grains” unless you know what ancient grains are and you know why they should be (correction: are, otherwise, they are not) meaningful to you. Coconut oil and agave syrup will sit on your shelf for years past their expiration date if you don’t specifically have something to use them in!! Brown eggs and organic milk are just more expensive if sometimes you find yourself buying the regular kind. Don’t buy things just because someone else thinks they are great or you read about them in an article! Get a mother loving backbone and own your choices!
8. Buying in bulk does not save money. In fact, you lose money when you have to throw something away because it went bad, or you realized you didn’t like it, or you didn’t like so much of it.
9. You won’t have a clean house unless you hire a cleaning lady. Accept it and move on.
10. Take a deep breath and embrace the chaos. These are the days. Let people in in spite of, or maybe even because of, the mess. Relationships are the thing.