• So DH was all, “I like Tesla’s logo, it’s like a spiky T.”  And I was all, “OHHHHHH… I kept trying to figure out if it was supposed to be a stylized cow skull or a uterus.  T makes much more sense.”
  • Flipped through the FrugalWoods blog now that they’ve moved out of the city.  Man, homesteading sounds like an enormous boring drag.  More power to them, I guess?  But definitely not the life I would want AT ALL.  Maybe if they were both not employed and the kid was older?  Still, it sounds busy but dull.
  • Giving stuff away before moving, what do people want most?  Balance bikes and coolers.
  • Since we’re moving and the other half of the duplex moved, the new landlord took this as a sign to sell the duplex.
  • We discovered that our rental place isn’t actually 1200 sq ft as advertised, but 1080 sq ft.  So it’s even more impressive that we were able to survive here for a year with two kids.  :)  (Also we’re not getting quite as much a deal on the rent as we’d thought, but it’s still pretty reasonably priced.)
  • Giving stuff away is surprisingly irritating.  DH is saying maybe we should just pay money to rent a uhaul to take stuff to goodwill.  Man people are so entitled and flaky sometimes.  Not all people, but some people.  Also I suspect that some of these SAHM would be better off getting jobs than sending long detailed emails about why they’re the best person to get whatever free thing.  Though perhaps they would have been better choices than the entitled flaky people who often email first and that’s why they do it.
  • Last time we did something like this, we had an alley behind the house we were renting and the freecycle wasn’t ridiculous.  So we were able to say, “lots of free stuff out in the alley at this address” and people just took stuff and updated freecycle without us having to actually talk to people complaining about the quality of said free stuff or why they couldn’t wait a week to pick it up.  Here that’s strictly prohibited and we have to set up appointments.  UGH.
  • We did put up free signs on some furniture and put it in our driveway (sort of like an all-free garage sale), but some is too heavy to take outside the house and bring back in.
  • Eventually we got rid of most of it and were able to fit goodwill stuff into the car.
  • I loved the way at the convention that HRC had a Bernie narrative that healed rather than divided, even if some divisiveness would have been justified. Sometimes if you tell the positive narrative enough, everyone starts to believe it until it becomes the truth.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 47 Comments »

47 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I hate trying to give stuff away. People say they are coming but don’t. Or, they want exact descriptions and guarantees before they come. I am supposed to work on their schedule. All this is stuff I cannot move.

  2. eemusings Says:

    LOL ouch on the FrugalWoods. But I personally agree, definitely not for me. Chickens and a small garden are enough.

    I’ve had really good experiences giving stuff away in a pinch on Freecycle (and on short notice when we left the country to boot) but colleagues have had people flake, and prefer to sell stuff as a a result.

  3. eemusings Says:

    On the flipside I’ve struggled with Freecycle as a recipient or wannabe recipient. Often givers just don’t give any detail or even photos. I’ve often emailed asking for a bit more info about an item, and just gotten back contact details telling me to come whenever. DUDE.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      No doubt someone who isn’t picky will end up taking it. Though we did get post pictures and got questions from people asking for pictures which were in the post, which was weird.

  4. Linda Says:

    I can understand people wanting to make sure a free item fits their needs. They have to make time and use fuel to pick it up, and depending on the size they may need to arrange to borrow a vehicle and get help with loading/unloading, too.

    At some point I’ll be able to replace my couch and love seat and I’ll be giving them away rather than selling them. I’m thinking I’ll arrange for a local charity that works with homeless individuals to pick it up. The charity is often looking for furniture and home furnishings for people recently housed.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sure, one can understand that. Just as one can understand, I dunno, wanting free things to be delivered to a house by professional movers. If you want that kind of service, you can pay for it.

      Similarly, if a person wants to have more hassle than “first come first serve” then the person might as well be selling the item. It’s not like there aren’t people willing to get the free stuff because they want it more and got there first. But they’re shoved out of the running and the entire process is lengthened for days as the person making the appointment flakes or decides they don’t want it and the second person has to be contacted, etc.

      But, if the person who is getting the free stuff is the one whose convenience is more important, then you end up with freecycle rules that favor people doing the pickup. Which is why there isn’t a lot of movement on that particular freecycle server anymore and the freecycle moderators are constantly sending emails admonishing people for treating freecycle like it’s treated most other places.

  5. Leah Says:

    FYI for the future: if you have lots of free stuff, many thrift stores will send a truck to your house to pick up.

    I read Frugalwoods and think the blog has gotten better since they moved. Not my lifestyle, but I enjoy living vicariously. To each their own.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We checked that first. They don’t. They do, however, have links to preferred movers that you can pay to take stuff to the thrift store. (Also, the thrift store has really bad yelp reviews with their employees refusing to take stuff they’ve agreed to take and being jerks about it. We were able to drop off our remaining odds and ends without problem though.)

      The blog has gotten better in that they are posting a lot less so there’s less repetition… but the life sounds busy and boring. I mean, they must enjoy chopping wood and doing all the household tasks I hated doing as a kid (and decided I would make money so I could avoid doing them), but it sounds boring and awful to me. There’s a reason a lot of rich people live in cities even though they could afford to homestead, and it’s not because they’re fooling themselves.

      • Leah Says:

        Bummer about the truck. But presumably Paradise had many more thrift stores you could have called with better reviews and possibly trucks. There are 4 or 5 different thrift stores in my town of under 30k, and all but one will send trucks for big donations.

        Re: Frugalwoods, if you think it’s boring, don’t bother. I think it’s mean spirited to make fun of their carefully chosen lifestyle. Not everyone loves the outdoors or camping, but that doesn’t make those bad hobbies either. You don’t like heat or working out, so it’s not your thing. That’s fine. But it is their thing. I don’t think I want to homestead, but I find it intriguing, so I like the blog. I also think many city professionals could stand to learn a few things from them (and MiserMom) about reducing consumption and their environmental impact.

        Hope this makes sense. Typed it on my phone from the middle of the woods ;-) I would rather be outside most of the time.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Nope! Not a heavy thrift presence. Totally different demographics. I imagine there’s less rent competition from Tesla dealerships in a town of 30K. Also we didn’t buy anything at goodwill when we first got there because they were selling used ikea furniture for more than it cost new. Truly bizarre.

        I was not aware that saying I had different interests than someone else was mean spirited. And tbh, I thought it would be more interesting to read about (before having kids I used to enjoy pioneer-woman type blogs) and was surprised at how much of a slog it sounds like.

        Economies of scale lead to reduced waste. Comparative advantage is more efficient than homesteading. Do you really think wood-burning is environmentally friendly?

  6. jjiraffe Says:

    Homesteading is not for me, either. It’s really hard in a way I’m not well suited to (I would have made a terrible go of it as an 1800s farmer in America).

    NextDoor is the best way I’ve been able to unload free stuff fast. Maybe people in your neighborhood are more motivated because it’s easier for them?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      In the end we used a combination of the local yahoo group (similar to nextdoor) and just sticking stuff in our driveway with “free” signs. We also used craigslist-free for the large furniture items. We didn’t want to use craigslist-free for all of it in the way one would use freecycle because we didn’t want to post our address in a post that was viewable by the entire MSA if we could help it. (Though in the past when we lived in an apartment building we did that– telling people there was stuff next to the apartment dumpster seems less risky than saying there’s stuff in our driveway.)

  7. Leigh Says:

    I always assumed the Tesla logo was a T. But it sure does look like a lot of other shapes too.

    I always lived in the suburbs or a college town until about eight years ago. I love that I can walk to run errands now and how much natural exercise that gets me. I would never give that up anymore.

    That’s annoying that giving away stuff for free hasn’t been easy. We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of people that want our free stuff.

    I have a friend visiting who I used to be just as cheap as and now they’re still as cheap and I’ve evolved a bit. It’s really stressing both me and BF out listening to them talk about all this effort they go to do things to save money. I just won’t go to that much effort anymore.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Lots of people wanted our stuff, but they wanted us to save it for them for specific pick-up times well into the future. And then to change their minds and not show up. Or to only want the bedframe and not the mattress when they did show up. So much hassle! (Not for all items, but for enough items to be annoying.)

      *deep breath* It’s over now. We even got rid of our extra boxes when we got home by using freecycle. *breathe*

      • Leigh Says:

        Deep breaths! Getting rid of BF’s mattress, box spring, and bed frame was so annoying we eventually paid a charity to come and pick it up. This round of free stuff though, I said it was first come first serve so the person who replied first but couldn’t get it until 2 pm didn’t get it. Decluttering feels so good with the stuff gone though!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We couldn’t get rid of the mattress to charity because it had a stain on it from the previous owners. (Another long slightly irritating story involving flaky people, but that’s from over a year ago!)

  8. SP Says:

    I’ll have to check out FrugalWoods lately. I like the idea and have such an amazing time on backpacking trips – when most of your day is spent hiking or tending to basics. But I wonder if I like that so much because it is a break from my normal life. What sounds so terrible about it? The lack of going out to a job, being far from city things, or all of the hard outdoor labor, or just… the combination?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      All the time spent doing household chores. Household chores are boring (to me).

      Yes yes, I know many people get a quiet satisfaction from homemaking but I am not one of them. (I also do not think I would like The Frugal Girl’s life either– there’s a reason we paid housepainters instead of doing it ourselves because we know we don’t like painting walls, but I would enjoy it more than FrugalWoods. Especially since most of the homemaking stuff the Frugal Girl does is optional and she can do it on her own time-frame, whereas when you’re homesteading it really isn’t and things can’t be put off.)

      I did a quick google of “Is homesteading fun” this morning and on the first page there was a lot of stuff on how to avoid homesteading burnout. Me, I’m a big believer in comparative advantage.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think Historiann had a series a while back on Little House on the Prairie and some stuff about a PBS reality show and how we romanticize the drudgery and how women burn out a lot sooner than men because their daily chores are outdoors and more interesting and less immediate. One of the FW’s posts about how she’s not strong enough to chop wood kind of touched on that.

      • SP Says:

        That’s really interesting. Doing projects outside is much more interesting and rewarding than the day-to-day tedium of keeping the house clean (and I imagine, watching a baby).

        To be clear, I would never actually want to homestead, but it didn’t sound that tedious to me – just different.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I wonder if it would sound less tedious to me if I hadn’t actually spent large portions of my childhood doing it, especially doing it knowing that we could have bought a dryer or not processed the same fruit/veggie on such a grand scale or what-have-you. Like, I could be reading novels instead of hanging laundry/making the nth batch of applesauce/etc.

    • Leigh Says:

      The thing that bugs me about FrugalWoods and ER blogs in general is that they place zero value on time. They view time as free. But I have a limited amount of time and it is important to me to plan it wisely.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I don’t know that they place zero value on time. They must not get bored by activities that I find boring and they prefer the zen of regular chores to the excitement of things that other people find entertaining. Like, they know they’re making trade-offs but they’re comfortable with those trade-offs.

      • Leigh Says:

        True – they do seem comfortable with their trade offs. They’re just so far from any trade offs I would ever make myself I guess that it feels like they don’t value their time.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Their saving-to-homestead life mostly didn’t seem that much different than our graduate school life (other than the sameness of their meals– we ate cheap, but in rotation), but now that there are details up about homesteading it just boggles my mind that anybody could willingly choose to do that.

        Specifically because, as you say, they’re so far off from any trade-offs I would ever make myself.

    • xykademiqz Says:

      Reading the Frugalwoods blog is, to me, like reading about the life of Martians. Their priorities are very different from mine and their cheerfulness over doing stuff that I’d call “Kill me now” are fascinating. I remember a post where she showed that the husband makes rice and beans for both of them for lunch every single day; there was a picture of dozens of containers filled with rice and beans… My first thought was “frugal scurvy.” I will never understand cutting food expenses (on purpose, not because you cannot afford to) to the point of constantly eating the same thing just because it’s cheap, when you can in fact afford variety and fresh produce.

      Sorry if I sounded mean, it was not the intention. Their lifestyle choices and the zeal with which they proselytize (although it may just be the money they make off the blog) are just really hard for me to comprehend. I get a similar vibe from Mr. MM; whenever I read about his “cooperative wife” and especially when Mrs. MM writes something about how they live, the family seems to be sorta-willing captives to Mr. MM’s extremism.

      I generally stay away from early retirement blogs; I am not really their target audience (plus my head ends up hurting from all the eyerolling).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        “Kill me now” is also my thought when reading some of the posts. I am SO glad I live in the 21st century in a developed country where I am allowed to work in the labor force in a high powered position. Would not give that away for New England winters.

        And yes, we get really really bored with food being the same. So having the same thing for lunch every day for us is a non-starter. I can do two identical meals in a row (slightly more if it’s spaghetti) and after that I start disliking it. I even had to take a break from breakfast oatmeal because I overdid it when I was food-limited during pregnancy. (It’s just starting to become something I’m willing to eat again.)

        Some people have more of a need for novelty, sort of like Cloud talks about when she talks about scanners vs. deep-divers. Academia probably attracts a bit more of people who need different stuff going on to be entertained.

        I don’t think FW are as bad about proselytizing as Mr. MM.

      • Leah Says:

        IIRC, Frugalwoods don’t make money off their blog. She makes money by freelance writing.

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Heh. I love reading about homesteading in the same way I loved reading the Little House on the Prairie books (before I realized how incredibly racist and Manifest Destiny they were): it reminds me of my family. We were farmers two generations back and I spent time on gran’s working farm before she passed. She was wealthy enough to afford household help at that time, which wasn’t expensive anyway considering 2nd world country and rural and so on, but she still managed her farm well into her 80s. But I love it from afar and only in short bursts. Even more crippling disease, I was extra happy to come home and hug every appliance in our apartment and sing off tune odes to the shower. Spider and creepy crawly free showers, bless thee!

    I do take a not-quiet satisfaction in homemaking in the same way I take it in being able to walk a mile. It’s absolutely meaningless to the average person and of course your choice makes sense, as that was the choice I wanted in the past too. Now it’s hugely meaningful to me to be able to physically get up, go into the kitchen and cook a meal, or vacuum a room, or wipe down some dust, because there have been so many days of laying in bed, tearful from pain. I used to enjoy it a bit when I was younger but nothing like I do now when I know that being completely debilitated is possibly in my future. I don’t want it to be my life, though! It’s just taking extra appreciation for the things I can do while I still can.

    YAY for giving away free stuff being over! PiC hates working with people like that, and they’re flaky like that when they’re buying cheap things off Craigslist too, not just for free stuff. What a pain.

  10. Cloud Says:

    I was going to mention that Historiann post! Living off the grid is not for me. Women’s labor in the “good old days” was repetitive and exhausting. Hooray for modern appliances.

    I hear you on the freecycle thing. Luckily for us, we do have local charities that will come pick up furniture. Although I got rid of the last big thing (a kid’s bed) by asking the guy I saw cleaning out the furniture at a neighbor’s garage sale if he wanted a bed. Our proximity to the border means there are a lot of people who will pick up stuff to haul down to Mexico and sell.

  11. chacha1 Says:

    There is a reason why centuries of homesteaders are lost to history … they never had time to sit down and write (if they’d ever been taught to read and write) about the experience. Or they were in too much pain/fatigue to write, or they had nothing to write with and no light to write by. “Homestead bloggers” occupy a carefully constructed artificial space, just as much as those of us who work in offices and buy food at the supermarket.

    I suspect a lot of modern “homesteaders” are inspired by the Walden mythos, and forget (or don’t know) that whole story was facilitated by a) free rent b) food delivery.

    When the time comes for us to move, I cannot be arsed to try to give stuff away. I will happily pay 1-800-Got-Junk to come and get everything we are not taking with us, and let them deal with it.

    fwiw I don’t read MMM as proselytizing in the conventional sense. I read it as “we are able to live like this because we make these choices; if you want to live like this, then don’t dismiss these choices out of hand, because clearly they work for some people.” There is a lot of dismissing-out-of-hand that goes on in PF. I say no to many of MMM’s choices and I’m willing to admit it’s due to a) laziness b) desire for comfort, not to any inherent disability of my own. A lot of people don’t like to admit they are lazy, or that they are making choices based on ease and comfort. To me it’s funny when he bashes some commenter who is trying to rationalize their $600/mo car payment or their 60-mile commute. :-) As to Mrs MM, well, I would put up with a lot to not have to go to a damn office every damn day, and she doesn’t even have to live like a homesteader.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      c) mom did laundry! (that’s in the comments on this H’Ann thread ;) )

      MMM is totally proselytizing– his latest bit was that you need to have exactly one child(!) People who have more than one child are complainy-pants. No explanation of why 0 children is not a more valid choice based on his arguments. He had taken a break from being a one-true-way jerk for a while, but he seems to be back at it.

      • chacha1 Says:

        LOL as someone with zero children, I will probably enjoy that post :-)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        No, because you have the wrong number of children! The mustashian way of life allows for ONE child.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        his latest bit was that you need to have exactly one child
        Do you have the link? I can’t tell which post it is, and I have to moderate my MMM intake.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        not off the top of my head

      • Leigh Says:


        Is this the post you’re referring to? It’s titled “Great News: You’re Allowed To Have Only One Kid!” I didn’t read it as one child is the only way but him coming to terms with only having one kid being the right decision for them and wanting to broadcast to other people that it’s okay too.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        No, it was a much more recent one than that. The comments got really nasty attacking a woman who disagreed.

        The post you link to is from 2014, which I believe was during his “hanging with JD and getting a little of the ‘do what works for you’ philosophy.” Reading him during that period was more enjoyable, especially since he was being less hypocritical because he was downsizing his environmentally unfriendly huge house to smaller digs.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        Was it this one, the about not having to have a dog?
        (I regret to report that I went down the rabbit hole trying to identify the post N&M were talking about). This one sort of talks about kids (as equivalent to dogs, ugh), is more recent, and there’s a woman who was attacked kind of nastily in it…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I don’t know– I’m pretty sure it was a 2016 post and relatively recent (like within the past 10 posts). But it turned me off of MMM again so I haven’t been keeping up. Generally when he gets like that, I stop reading until I see he’s got a post about home improvement on someone’s blogroll. Because really those are the most interesting (even if it’s not something I would want to do).

      • Ana Says:

        I went down the rabbit hole and could find no such post…he’s only written a handful in the past year, and none of them said anything about family size—maybe he wrote it on another blog?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        No, it was definitely MMM. If I didn’t have a grant proposal due in 1 week and a book chapter due in 4 weeks I would look. I believe we complained about it on our blog a little bit sometime after it came out, but we may also have just left it as a comment somewhere else, I don’t remember. IIRC, it was mentioned in passing in the post. But it’s really not important.

  12. moom Says:

    What does RBOC stand for? Google can’t answer that one!

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