In furthering my mission to minimalize our home, I turned my attention once again to our bedroom and decided to part with my wooden office desk, which I don’t really use much anymore due to the portability of my technology and my desire to work in a room other than our bedroom (the only room it fits into comfortably). After trying to sell it on Craigslist without much luck, I found a friend who wanted it for his new apartment, and who showed his gratitude by bringing over a first class meal to share when he picked it up. In place of the desk setup sits a comfy chair that we can snuggle on with a view of our backyard, along with a second chair (out of view) that Kealii likes to sit on after school each day to catch us up on what’s going on in his life. The final items to go will be our dresser and wooden bed frame (pictured). We are installing shelving into our closet to hold the clothes currently in our dresser and we’ve both wanted to get rid of the bed frame for years; it’s far too bulky for the dimensions of our room and we’ve broken and/or sprained our toes smashing into it on way too many occasions. Buh-bye! Once those last pieces are gone, we will pull up the white – I use the term “white” loosely – carpet that we had installed 17 years ago and replace it with hardwood to match the rest of the house. The room will also be repainted, with the walls getting a much-needed patching from dozens of pictures being hung and moved in our decade and a half in residence.
With the departure of my desk, I could turn my attention to further whittling down our technology inventory, ditching my large screen monitor (don’t use it enough), external hard drive (data in the cloud), and Xbox 360 and Roku streaming box (both replaced by an Xbox One). Everything I need to work efficiently now fits into a single, compact sleeve (pictured), consisting of a Microsoft Surface, Type Cover, Mouse, and ear buds that can be taken almost anywhere and setup with ease. Heck, even my cell phone fits in there! I will be hunting for a nice Bluetooth wireless sound bar (with wireless sub woofer) over the weekend (passed the 30 day list limit) to replace my aging Bose 3-2-1 system (which I sold on Craigslist for $200.00) as the Xbox One can easily connect to it via a single optical cable and broadcast sound from a single source. Sound-wise, there won’t be too much of a drop off in quality, plus I’m 90% deaf in my right ear, so high fidelity isn’t something that really concerns me at this point in my life.
I’ll next throw in a word about finances, which is sort of startling in its transformation from sad state a few recent years back to solvency today. In 2012 we were within weeks of losing our home to foreclosure, with the effects of the recession taking its toll on our business and Mom’s convalescent costs putting us near bankruptcy. As I’ve detailed in previous posts, I got rid of my fancy Samsung phones and replaced them with cheap Nokia 521’s for myself and my family approximately six months ago. The phones were $59.00 each to OWN and by going this route I could switch to a no-contract plan with T-Mobile and save almost $130.00 per month in cell phone charges over Verizon. I cut live television and phone service from Time Warner and my bill went from $110.00 per month down to $42.00. Add to this a few dollars of extra income via rental of our back apartment unit through Air BnB, and this has allowed us to eliminate a large portion of our legacy Freddy and Eddy debt and set us on a course that will hopefully result in our end-game retirement in Paso Robles.
Speaking of which, it’s now time to reveal our plans for taking our minimalist ways to their ultimate conclusion. Though we adore Southern California, and in particular our little slice of paradise tucked away in Mar Vista, the toll of flirting with foreclosure, the uncertain economy, and a general change of West Los Angeles from laid-back, easy going community to one now dominated by high tech money influence, it’s time we take action to excuse ourselves from the pressure of maintaining a house that will soon be back down to two occupants as our son departs for college (and life). This ultimate personal minimalism trend will see us moving within 3-5 years, settling in the central coast area, specifically around San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles. We’ve already researched land prices and are confident we can acquire 5-10 acres in the $150-200,000.00 range, then adding a tiny house for another $25-30,000.00. With the equity in our home – if prices continue to rise or at least hold steady – we could easily cash out and purchase in the aforementioned price range outright, with a bit left over. This essentially will rid us of a mortgage and simplify our lives significantly. Another option we are exploring is to keep our home here and rent it, which would bring us a tidy profit over what we pay, but the overall goal will remain the same – exit Los Angeles (urban life) for something more, say, minimalist.