Home Maintenance

Maybe it’s just because we’re hunkering down for the winter ahead, but it sure feels like home maintenance season to me. When we bought a 1904 home, we knew that we’d have a fair amount of maintenance. Thankfully, it hasn’t been any more than our previous 1920’s house. No matter if your house is a century old or brand new, home ownership requires a commitment to regular maintenance.

Yet when it comes to home maintenance, neither of us are do-it-yourselfers. About the extent of our skills is interior painting, which Hubby used a few weekends ago repainting the bathroom ceiling and trim. But for the bulk of our projects, hiring professionals is necessary. We recently had our energy efficient boiler cleaned and inspected. We don’t use our fireplace more than a dozen times a winter, but we haven’t had it cleaned in the past two and it seems like an important safety project. We’re also getting a bid on roof cleaning/maintenance, since when I had our house evaluated for solar I realized that there’s more moss on our roof than NW firs.

If that honey-do list weren’t enough, EcoMaids staff discovered a slow drip from the back of the upstairs toilet onto the floor. It’s hard to pinpoint why the leak appeared and how to fix it. I have a feeling this repair will make it to the top of the list this weekend, as we’re all tired of going downstairs to use a toilet (reminds me of our starter home!)

In past we’ve hired from a variety of sources. I’ve been happy with ServiceMagic for finding quality professionals.   We’ve also had good luck with Craigslist, but I prefer referrals from friends. 

In case you’re ready to start a remodeling project, here is a comprehensive article on green remodeling. The new Home Improvement Products guide for the Healthy Stuff campaign has tested over 8,000 products for toxic chemicals (something the EPA hasn’t even attempted) and you can quickly find home improvement products that won’t harm your family. While we’re eye deep in basic maintenance at the moment, I definitely plan on using this resource.

How do you prioritize your home maintenance?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Pass It On

Lately I’ve started passing on our plethora of baby and kid stuff. A close family friend is due with a baby girl, and we had fun going through Girly’s clothes together. I also gave her our infant car seat, baby bath tub, bouncy chair and baby moses basket. At that point we were overwhelmed by all the stuff in the corner basement room, so we opted to pace ourselves and go through more another time. But it did remind me of the warm sentimental feeling I also got when I gave/got hand-me-downs from family friends as a kid.

I also offered by breast pump to a co-worker of mine who is planning to pump at work, and she’s also very grateful for my generosity.

At some point soon I’m going to try to muster the energy to do some consigning, which apparently has been very popular in Portland. I was only disappointed to see that I missed a big consignment sale

Do you pass it on or sell your kid stuff?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.


I enjoyed the ultimate luxury this past Friday: coming home from a long week to a spotless home. Yes, we’ll finally managed to budget a monthly cleaning service.

I’ve been blessed with a Hubby who loves cleaning, but also cursed with a Hubby who craves cleanliness to the point of being borderline obsessive about it. Even though he pulls more than his weight in the cleaning department,  I’ve been fantasizing about a cleaning service for a while, especially since getting our Doggy

Initially I kept telling myself that we could manage without and that it was important to raise our kids with chores. Then finally it dawned on me that even if we hired some help, there would still be more than enough dishes, laundry, yardwork and household projects to teach our kids the importance of contributing to our family. 

So when we recently got over the hump to no longer need to pay private mortgage insurance, we both agreed that getting a cleaning service would increase our quality of life more than anything else. Our first deep cleaning  made for a much more relaxing weekend, and something to look forward to right before Thanksgiving!

I’ll share more about EcoMaids, the national franchise we chose to clean our home next month, but in case you decide to take the plunge before then, mention my blog and get $100 off your first four services.  There are also other House Cleaning Services that may be available in your area.

Do you have a cleaning service?
Are they eco and budget friendly?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Zero Dollars Per Gallon

This has been an invigorating week for me, and it isn’t just the beautiful fall weather that has me beaming a little brighter. I’ve biked with the kids 5 of the past 6 days. 

As I wrote in late spring, I finally got myself geared up bike with a toddler seat. Well as much as the cheap bike seat worked for Girly, it left me with a Big Guy who still isn’t big enough to bike downtown. Plus, I really needed to be able to haul all the stuff that I typically tote on the bus every day. 

So, I was ever so grateful when my Father picked me up a Burley trailer from Craig’slist. It handles so nicely that I almost would never guess that I’m trailing almost a hundred pounds of cargo. It hooks on/off really easily and is light weight enough that I can lift it up the stairs by myself. I truly wish that I would have brought down and bought one years ago!

My best story of the week was when I was inching my way up the long steep hill home, and a huge red pick-up truck came along side me…I saw this buff guy’s arm come out and I wondered if he was going to yell some obscenity, but to my delight he smiled and yelled out “Way to go! Keep pedaling!” So when I slowed to a crawl today, my sweet Big Guy yelled out “Mommy, you can do it!”  Experiencing  bicycle culture  helps make any extra effort feel worth my while.  

While I’m not really saving any money by bike commuting instead of busing, we did save save a little gas money on our neighborhood trips over the weekend. Plus, it’s free exercise and a fun way to start and end my office work day.

I don’t know how much we’ll manage to bike once the weather turns, but I’m setting a goal for myself to get on my bike at least once a week. I used to bike in all weather, and I know the most important thing is to wear the right layers.

Lastly, if you want to pick up your own $0.00 9/10 shirt for yourself, I found a sweet one on Etsy.

Beyond the MPG, what benefits to find from biking?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.