First-Time Homeowners (Cont’d.)

First, I must take a moment to thank Sarah (aka Slinny), Lauren, Jenn, Jen, Jenny C., Katie, Nancy (aka my mother) and Courtney for their heartfelt responses (both on the blog and during conversations struck throughout the week) to my question, “Does ‘nothing new for a year’ include home improvements?”

The replies were mixed.

My mom offered to pay for the updates now with the understanding that I’d repay her next year. No worries, I declined her very generous offer.

Sarah thinks, “home improvements are separate. Fixing up a house is a huge job and I applaud anyone who tackles that project.” While Lauren maintains that, “home improvements do count as something new because being able to improve on your home is a luxury, not a necessity.”

And, to be honest– I think both women are right.

When I asked Courtney about her thoughts on the question she reminded me that our purpose of starting this project in the first place wasn’t about making life harder than it needs to be or challenging ourselves, but rather to start thinking about things differently… more sustainably.

And with that, I decided to proceed with home improvements in the following manner:

2010 – During my “year of nothing new”
• Pull up ugly green carpet and install wood floors (using recycled, reclaimed wood)
• Update bathroom using recycled and repurposed materials purchased at Construction Junction and/or other retailers specializing in secondhand building materials
• Landscape front yard (hiring a landscaper who specializes in eco practices. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.)

2011 & Beyond
• Replace windows*
• Replace exterior siding*
• Remodel kitchen*
• Paint*
(*using recycled materials when possible)

I’m not sure how my decision on this matter will land with everyone, but I’ll sleep well (in my soon to be improved home) knowing that I came to this conclusion mindfully and staying true to what I set out to do this year.

I’ll keep you posted on how it all unfolds.

~Stacey

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