Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Bedrooms, Money Makers and Productivity

by Katy on August 22, 2011 · 20 comments

It’s time for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little but about that.

Where Children Sleep

The NY Times blog recently ran an extremely moving photo essay and review of James Mollison’s book Where Children Sleep, which chronicles the bedrooms of children throughout the world. From the opulence of a preschooler’s beauty queen bedroom, to a seven-year-old strip miner’s one-bedroom house in Nepal, these masterful photos will challenge any preconceived notions you may be harboring of children’s wants versus needs.

Click HERE to read the book review and look through the photo essay. I highly recommend that you click on the full screen option.

My Thousand Dollar Goal

I somehow ended up with only two eight hour shifts over the next four weeks, as opposed to the regular eight that I would work. (I try to work two eight hour shifts per week in my job as a labor and delivery nurse.) And instead of wailing and moaning over this circumstance, I’m actually kind of excited to figure out some alternate income during this time period. I have decided to see if I can make an extra thousand dollars from all my various sidelines.

Here’s how I think I’ll work to make my money:

  • Sell various items on eBay, such as some vintage Tonka trucks I recently picked up for $1 apiece at a garage sale, as well as some older Macintosh programming disks.
  • Make myself available to help my mother clean out her rental cottages.
  • Sell a cool, but unused vintage tandem bicycle that’s sitting in my basement.
  • Make ourselves available to do short term foreign exchange student hosting. (We’re currently hosting a Japanese teenager, which pays $120 per week.)
  • Take a box of books that I set aside last month to sell over at Powell’s bookstore.
  • Start researching how to write and publish my own eBook.
  • Continue to keep an eye out for Goodwill bargains that I can turn around for a profit on eBay or Craigslist.

I think I should be able to cobble together enough money to get through this time without feeling the pinch. And frankly, I’m kind of excited to essentially have a month off from work. And you know me — I like a challenge!

My Patent Pending Productivity System

I recently found myself in the rare situation of being all by my lonesome in the house, and my first temptation was to flop in front of the TV and enjoy hour after hour of delicious Mad Men on Netflix. Unfortunately, I had a house chock full of unpleasant chores vying for my attention, so I chose to implement a productivity system that I dubbed:

Three Hateful Chores and a Treat.

  1. Put laundry in the wash.
  2. Unload dishwasher and dish drain.
  3. Scoop litter boxes.
  4. Mad Men

And then . . .

  1. Vacuum out the crap from the heat registers.
  2. Hang laundry.
  3. Tidy entryway and coat closet.
  4. Mad Men.

It was amazing how much I was able to get a fair amount done in the house, while also making sure to give time to my old pal, Don Draper. I will definitely be employing this tactic in the not so distant future. It was awesome!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan August 23, 2011 at 5:30 am

Enjoy the time off, Katy! I can’t imagine you will sit around doing nothing for a minute!

I like your ideas for 1,000 dollars goal. Fingers crossed!


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary August 23, 2011 at 5:45 am

Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — my favorite kind of Mish-Mash!

That slide show was incredible. I saw it days ago thanks to your post on FB, and I’m still haunted by some of the images.


Jennifer @ Fast, Cheap, and Good August 23, 2011 at 7:51 am

I’ve just started catching up on past seasons of Mad Men, and I’m thinking of employing your motivational strategy! This is even better because my “day job” is copywriting. So maybe:

1. Copywriting project
2. Clean bathroom
3. Weed garden
4. Consider why my life is better than Peggy’s. (Mad Men)



Practical Parsimony August 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

In high school I employed a similar tactic and drove my mother mad–A big treat and then work during commercials. Back then, there was no way to record a show for later. If she left me at home and told me to wash the dishes (in the sink, of course), I would only work during commercials. I was fast so I could get back to my tv program. If she were home, I frustrated her to no end by doing this! When married, I rushed to get things done like you (but only one thing) and then would watch an episode of something. It works!You get more accomplished than I did!


Van August 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

I LOVE your non-sequitur mish-mash post. 🙂 Gonna try the hateful chores and reward thing…

But I do chores with the guilty-pleasure shows like Mad Men and True Blood playing in the background for a win-win. (I’ll stop and pay more attention for the good parts. “Yay, Boobs!”)


Kathryn August 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the link to Mollison’s photos. I’m really passionate about the issue of simple living and what children actually need, vs. what our culture says they need. Photos like these are so crucial in opening our eyes to the blessings we take for granted, and the needs of people we might be able to help.
And I love your productivity system. I think I just might have to give it a try.


Karen August 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Katy, the “3 chores followed by a treat” is one I also began using this year, and it works great. I work as an editor, mostly telecommuting, and some days the editing pile is so high that I get discouraged. I began setting up my schedule so that I have to edit X number of pages, after which I get 30 minutes or so of a movie or TV show on my queue, then back to the editing; rinse and repeat until the pile for that day is done.

I find that I’m actually more productive this way, and my mood is definitely better while working.


MissyL August 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Katy, can I see that bike in your basement? Do you have a link to your e-bay store or will you sell it on Craigslist?


Katy August 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I’ll be selling it on craigslist for $150. It’s a Columbia “Twosome.”



AnnW August 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm

what the heck? I thought we were short 400,000 nurses in the US. I thought the shortage was so great that you could get up to $50 an hour. I would sign up with a per diem agency. Portland doesn’t know what they are missing. Picking up an extra shift would be so much easier than having an extra kid around the house. Or do everything, then treat yourself to something special. Besides TV and movies, what do you really crave?


Katy August 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm


I’m excited to essentially have a month off from work. I plan on catching up on projects and work on my writing. And I LIKE having foreign exchange students in the house, they help my sons with their Japanese and provide interesting perspective.



Lynda August 24, 2011 at 12:56 am

My downfall is “just one more episode from this box set we borrowed, then it can go back…”

Ah, Mad Men… the non fattening treat you can eat between chores!


Dmarie August 24, 2011 at 6:13 am

thanks for sharing the slide-show…what a heartbreaking illustration that I’ve got too much stuff!


Megg August 24, 2011 at 6:18 am

I set the goal to make $35 on ebay this month. I’ve made $10. Oops! But I also haven’t gotten around to taking good pictures of the things I want to sell. I was going to last night but it was too dark by the time we were done with dinner and I was ready to go. Oh well, maybe next month!

I do have a table I got off Freecycle that I’m going to sand down and finish then sell on craigslist! I’m super excited for that.


Jean August 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

Love the three chores and a treat-I will have to try this for noisy chores–like vacuuming. I have discovered I can do chores and get ahead on my never ending book list with audio books–just love these. Can’t wait to clean the bathroom or fold the laundry or sew because I can also listen to a few chapters of my latest guilty pleasure–usually some British murder mystery, or a legal thriller, or…my library has plenty of them that I can reserve so I can have a constant supply of free entertainment.


Jackie August 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Katy, what is the name of the foreign exchange organization? I’m looking to do something similar in Chicago and I’m wondering how to get started or where to look. Google searches have not been particularly helpful yet because they all seem to be longer term. I would love to do the short-term thing!

Also, my current get-stuff-done strategy is to work on my crafty projects, which are always left unfinished forever, WHILE watching Project Runway!


Katy August 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

The organization is called “Andeo Homestays,” although it might be a local company.



Audrey August 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one who harbors a Mad Men obsession. I also use it as a treat when I finish my chores/errands. I have a 1 month old and I’m enjoying the breastfeeding because I’m watching the entire series yet again….from the beginning…I LOVE IT!!!


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