Monday, April 6, 2009

Stop the Insanity

MM: Was watching North Carolina put it to Michigan State, and decided to rip of the new neighbor's internet and sneak in a post.

We have been moving out of our rent house, living out of suitcases as the paint crew did their thing, and moving in to the new place. Couple that with traveling, and the Mooney family is one tired bunch.

Quirky Question of the Week:
Continuing with our weekly question and seeking your feedback, we'll play a game of "you pick it". We'll provide two questions and you pick one or both and let us know what you think. We have home on the head, so humor us:

#1 Rent or Buy? And why?
#2 What things have you done (or seen done) in order to make a house feel more peaceful oasis than Grand Central Station?

***due to comments, I have realized that #2 insinuated that our house feels like Grand Central Stations; that is actually not what I meant. Although, at times it does feel as such, for the most part, we both strive to make our home a peaceful place. It's just that we are constantly looking for new ways to do this even better.


Beth G. said...

BUY- Im a realtor so I can't help it... but I do think that if anyone is able and can qualify for a load now is a GREAT time to buy. But don't buy just anything... even through the price might be right people need to make sure it's good property in a good location... Location, Location, Location!

When my husband and I moved to Myrtle Beach we really got rid of everything we don't normally use. We didn't keep anything based on using it "one day" (except for old photos)... we have a lot less clutter and more wide open spaces.

Excited for yall and hope you feel settled soon!

Anonymous said...

BUY! Do you know that there is a $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers in 2009. With rates as low as 5% right now, there has never been a better time to buy a house.

I shop only in clearance aisles and Walmart. I love to save money and makes me have so much more pride in my home.

Anonymous said...

#1.Currently we rent.
The reason...we are 50 and 48. We are in the process of putting our last of 4 children through college. In order to do so, i...the mom...went to work when they were all in high school (4 kids in 5 years made it not feaseible financially for me to work when they were smaller.)
Our kids have all contributed to their educational experience. But we also needed to sell our home and use the equity we had built up...just our choice...not everyone makes this decision. We are very happy with this decision as it has helped enable ALL of our kids to complete their education. The cost of college today, in state or out of state is overwhelming. Big families cannot afford it without help. This was the best case scenario for our family.

We are looking to purchase again this summer.

#2.It takes time to adjust to having children in the home. It will come and one day you will realize the "Grand Central Station" effect has been replaced with a more or new normal life style. Give yourself time. You are still in a transition. You have experienced so much in the last months. A new baby, a new home. Travel. Leaving the home you shared with Eliot. Don't expect too much too soon.

RELAX! Let life happen and enjoy it while it does...

RLR said...

Matt - these are great questions!

#1 - Buy. It's an investment that will (hopefully, again, someday...) increase in value. I think Beth G has some good advice. And, it is REALLY a good time to buy!

#2 - The most important thing, to me, is to get rid of the clutter. I'm not a great example, I'm a work in progress - but I can feel myself relax a bit more with every de-cluttering task I check off of my to-do list! For our family, I think this will be the most important step in making our home more peaceful.

Laura Kelley said...

#1 Buy--our mortgage payment is less than rent and we have a great interest rate on a 30 year fix

#2 We have 2 little ones and their toys stay in their rooms. They do bring toys into the living room to play, but we have one 12x12 basket that stays under our coffee table that has toys. If the toy won't fit in the basket then it is housed in their rooms. Also they have to help clean up whatever they get out. And kids toys can get so out of control so every two months or so we go through their toys and things they havent been playing with get given to kids who dont have toys.

Anonymous said...

Buy! I like to think that by making my house payment it is like putting money in savings. You have that money if you really needed it for something unlike when you rent, you will never see that money again.

#2 - I think as long as you have a family it will seem like Grand Central Station because you will always be trying to coordinate everyone's schedules. SIMPLIFY!! Only do the activities that you really want to do and that mean something to you and your family. Hopefully then you will still have time to sit together as a family and take care of the things that really matter like your spouse, kids and the people that you care most about in life.

Sarah said...

1. Buy. We waited two years and rented after moving to a new state, and we wish we had bought sooner. It was good to take some time before purchasing while living here, though. We ended up buying in a very different area than we initially rented in and thought we would be living, and we're glad now to be near our church and in a neighborhood that is more suited to our family.

2. Our family includes six kids, ages 9-17 months, a dad who travels extensively for business, and a mom (me) who holds down the fort and tries to keep all the balls in the air. It's pretty busy around here!

A couple thoughts on keeping your home calm:
*Learn to say no. There are SO many "good" things that you can keep busy with--commit to only those that you feel passionately about. Let the rest go.
*(As your child/ren grow)Limit your children's activities. Give them unscheduled time to play with sticks and bugs and build elaborate tents out of blankets. Again, there are many, many good activities with which we can fill our children's lives. Resist the temptation. Do one activity/sport a season at most.
*Focus on family time together. Establish habits and traditions now, and follow through on them. They don't have to be any more elaborate than watching a favorite show together every Sunday night while eating popcorn. Your daughter will grow up loving the security and predictablity of these family traditions.

Monkey Momma said...

Buy v. Rent: Buy! But I agree with the above...LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! We bought a cute little house in a great location and I loved it! Even though down the street there was a CUTER house in a so-so location. I'm so glad my husband pressed for this home...I'm in love with it now and look at the other choice as a weak one. Also, with today's rates, there is no reason to rent...take it and run!

Grand Central Station: I just look at it as part of parenthood. Comes with the territory. And after so many years of longing for a child, I look at it as an nice (noisy) change. :-) I will say you've already gotten a lot of great advice (organize, declutter, keep toys in the bedrooms). Those are all things I do and it really does help. I also have an Asian/Zen style of decorating: bold colors, a few pieces of art, even fewer trinkets. It really allows us to RELAX when we come home, in spite of the chaos.

Leigh Collins said...

buy! get a tax break on interest and a place to really call "our home"

Peaceful? Living plants and fresh cut flowers!

ann said...

Grand Central is not a bad place - you meet a lot of new people there, and from Grand Central you head out to see the world, and through Grand Central Station you return home. Embrace Grand Central Station.

Also - "Home is a Safe Place" - whether that means babyproofing or respect when music/tv is too loud. Home has to be a safe place. Because if home's not safe...why would anyone want to come home?

Jen said...

1. Buy! I always felt like I was just throwing my money away when I rented. Plus, now is such a great time to buy a great house. And location is key!

2. To make your home seem more peaceful, I suggest organization, less clutter, calming colors. Not necessarily blues, etc but colors that are peaceful to you. It takes some time for all of these, but you will have a peaceful organized home in no time. Good Luck! and congrats on your new home!

Mrs H said...

Buy! It is more work at times than renting and you do have extra expences like fixing things that break! But in the end being able to decorate and do whatever you want with YOUR house is really rewarding. My two tips on making a home peaceful the windows as often as possible, play music whenever you can and (make that three tips) keep it picked up. Sure, you might not have time to mop the floors today but if you pick up the toys (in my case, the dog's toys) and get rid of the clutter then it feels good to be there!

The Davidson Den said...

1. I'd say do whatever you have to do to stay out of debt. My husband and I are looking for a way OUT of a mortgage. The Lord doesn't want us to be indebted to anyone, even banks. Just me two cents... :)

2. One of the best things we ever did (and the easiest) was to remove the TV from our master bedroom. We wanted it to be more of a haven than a noisy, media-filled room like the living room. It's a place to go be by yourself or with your spouse, to read, to pray, to sleep. It makes a difference, take it from me.

The Davidson Den said...

I mean "MY" two cents. (sigh)

SaraMarie said...

OK, I am the first person to say this but RENT! We own, and I wish to God we didn' far we've lost over 60K in the "value" of our home. The tax write off is great, but it doesn't make up for, including interest, how much one actually puts into a house. A 150K house will (at the current low interest rates) will end up costing you almost 400K over 30 years. That does not include home improvements/repairs. The house ends up owning you. And you become so overwhelmed by STUFF, stuff that begins to define who we are here on earth. This house weighs us down. I feel like if Jesus calls me to live in Africa, I can't go because I won't be able to pay my mortgage. I wish we could sell our house and rent again. Its impossible since we owe more than its worth (not that it would sell anyway). Earth is only a temporary home and I feel like as if all our needs are met (as God has promised they will be) then we are good. We get abundantly more than what we need, especially in this country. So, buy, rent, whatever. We can make any place home. Home is a state of mind. :)

2. I have OCD and run a "tight ship". Its hard when they're young, but as they get older, you designate chores and have "quiet time". And we tend to be minimalists and we don't have a lot of clutter. Everything has a place, and if its not being used thats where you can find it. It works for us. Labeling is also very helpful!

Anonymous said...

#2 Eat dinner as a family, and talk! Put up photos of those you love, including Eliot, and fresh flowers. Do the dishes every night, and pick up the clutter before going to bed, so that when you wake up, your house is peaceful and you want to be there!

Katie said...

We rent. The main reason is we've seeked God's face on buying and it's not for us right now. Plus, if something breaks that belongs to the house, I pick up the phone and call the landlord, not the handyman. It's his problem and while I'm a stay-at-home-mom and we're squeaking by, we just flat can't afford repairs. AND, I agree with an earlier comment that we are not to be indebted to anyone, even banks.

As for making a house peaceful, we pray and dedicate each individual room to God. When we moved into this house, we neglected to do it right away and one day the light bulb went on for both of us. We did it and it was amazingly different.

Anonymous said...

As to number one, I would say that you should do whatever is going to allow you to maintain the priorities that God has placed in your life. For us, me being a SAHM was a priority that God placed on us. We wouldn't be able to maintain that priority if we bought a home, so we choose to rent. However if things changed down the road financially for us then we would seriously consider buying a house, but not for the time being.

As for number two my Mom heard a great saying that I've been trying to take to heart, "Bloom where you're planted". Whatever makes you calm, feel centered or closer to God make that a priority when setting up your house. We have three kids aged 6 and under, so our house definitely isn't calm and serene. But I do what I can to get our household to that place. Focus on the little things that you can easily change and make LONG term goals for larger projects. I have the tendency to make huge "to do" lists for myself and then get overwhelmed and frustrated when they don't get done. I'm sure that's a big temptation as you have a new place, but focus on little changes you can make that'll help to bring about the sense of calm and peace your looking for in your new home.

Anonymous said...

I baked banana bread yesterday afternoon and it made the house smell so homey! If you don't bake, light a good candle (out of reach of little hands of course!).

Allison said...

I think many people say BUY right now just because of the first time homebuyers tax credit, but my husband and I rent and will continue to do so until he's finished with school (31 years old, going back for nurse practitioning). We have done this because of the uncertainty out there right now. What if he doesn't get into the school of his choice, and we have to move? We cannot afford to have a house sitting around that we aren't living in. Also, we can't assume we'll be able to sell it. I think many people that assumed that very thing are hurting big time right now.

I live IN Jesus said...

I used to agree with everyone about the buy answer. While buying a home has pluses the Lord has been working on my cultural view as of late....That said, I would prefer to rent(even though we own!) because it allows more flexibility for the Lord to have His will in our lives. As it is right now--we would have ALOT to sell in order to move to His call(I realize He is God and He can and will do amazing things when His servants are willing to be obedient...). There is a certain amount of bondage in owning a home and there are MANY people who own homes right now that are not worth what they borrowed to purchase them "yesterday"! I alos personally believe that purchasing a home right now is kind of a gamble what with the state of our country and the worldwide economy! God bless.
Sarah T

Anonymous said...

If you are going to be in a place less than three or four years (especially in this economy) RENT! We have TONS of friends who are in grad/med programs who are trying to move on and CAN'T sell their houses. They'll have 30 GROUPS of people come to the open houses with no offers. If you are a student or a resident of some sort - I say RENT. Once you're done with schooling you will have the resources to have a WAY bigger pool of homes to choose from and be more established in your finances, location, career, family, etc. Trust me on this one!!!

Anonymous said...


Also, with renting if you have a problem the landlord/company fixes it. You don't have to shell out the extra CASH and TIME that come with being a homeowner. TRUST ME!!! If you are in the grad student/resident phase of life DO NOT BUY. You won't have time to mow your lawn, rake leaves, fix furnaces or money to pay property taxes, buy new appliances when they break down, etc. I've seen both sides - being able to be FREE and CLEAR of that rental - to be able to just walk away at the end of a lease is PRICELESS. :)

Beck said...

1) I'm a renter who will say buy. We live in a gorgeous neighborhood that we wouldn't be able to afford (yet) but our landlord (Russ' boss) gives us very cheap rent. So for this stage in the game, we're renting while we save for our ideal home.

2) I love the outdoors, so we've invested in fun patio furniture for our back porch, antique glider included. We also love a good firepit. There is something so soothing about being on the back porch, or in the back yard sitting around the firepit. Conversations thrive. Babies are calmed.

And we recently got rid of lots of the clutter, like one other commenter said. We put stuff in a box in the closet and pared down the accessories. Then we moved furniture so that the baby had plenty of room to crawl. Open blinds, let the sun come in...very soothing!

Shannon and Carey said...

#1 BUY-Investment. You can do whatever you want to the house. Paint it pink or fix it up.

#2 - Get rid of things you don't use. Organize. Don't fill up all your free time (Yeah, like you have alot!) lol

We have twins and just doing the normal every day stuff feels like its GCS around here. So when we do throw anything into the mix, it's even more hectic.

Shannon in Austin

Randi said...

1. Buy, buy, buy. I say this because it is cheaper for us in MA to pay mortgage than to pay rent.
2. Good books, good videos and good food. I think this is the key to making a home feel, well, homey.

Anonymous said...

good questions, I am really enjoying the responses!

1)i could not give an educated answer on this one

2)routines seem to instill calm in everyone at our house...bed time routine, morning routine, and meal time routine...also I believe we should all observe the 4th commandment and truly rest one day a week.

JD said...

Buy. Say you pay your landlord $xxx amount of dollars for 2 years straight. You're paying his mortgage. Why not be paying your own for roughly the same amount?

As for the oasis... less clutter, less stuff. Paint the entire house with colors that appeal to you and that work well together. Wait until you've been in the house for a while before deciding on colors and decorating ideas. Get the feel for it first.