Living Simply

How Much Is Your Time Worth?

What would you give to have an extra 5 hours?

Time is one of our most precious resources. No matter how much we make or how hard we work, we all have something in common: we all have 24 hours in a day. The best time-management tools and resources can’t squeeze any more hours out of a day. It comes down to the choices we make.

The Struggles We Face

Finding the time to decorate your house in a way that creates an inviting environment for friends and family can be difficult. Many of us buy random items to avoid blank walls without asking ourselves what we’re trying to achieve.

Lack of Clarity and Focus Now Leads to Wasted Time Later

Have you ever made a trip to Hobby Lobby and seen women with their baskets piled full of stuff? I hear conversations between two women like “Oh, look how cute that is” and into the basket it goes with barely a second’s thought. I can’t help but think, “That’s it? That’s the filter to determine whether or not to add something to your house?”

However, I too have been guilty of confusing appreciation with love without having a clear focus for why I am buying something.

Before I considered the feel or style I wanted for our family room, I bought a lovely piece of artwork at a discount home décor store. It was covered in beautiful flowers in various shades of purples and blues. It was the only one! If I left it there, someone else would take it! Gasp!

Excited, I brought it home and put it on the mantel. I imagined this epic moment where I would hear the voice of angels as the spotlight fell upon such a lovely work of art.

Laaaa! Angelic voices

As I stood back waiting to be amazed, it was not the sound of a triumphant symphony that came to mind. It was more like a lone organ playing at a funeral parlor. Who knew that flowers could look so sad? I didn’t know the feeling I was going for, but I knew that wasn’t it!

Back to the store it went!

Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences. You might not take everything back, but you’re not happy with what you have.

Do you find yourself looking at your friends’ houses and think, “It must come so easy to them! What’s wrong with me?” Are you still searching for those “perfect pieces” without knowing what it is you’re looking for? If so, start with the feeling you want for each living area and go from there.

Have you heard the saying “buy what you love?” The logic goes buy what you love and then you will love your house because it will be full of things you love. You take their advice, but things start to feel cluttered and tiring rather than a happy retreat.

This is what happens when you buy what you love without focus: Your spare bedroom becomes a junk room, waiting for the day that you will spend hours sifting through it.

The result of “buying what you love” without focus – hours of fun awaits!

Lack of Knowledge Leads to Never Starting

Some of us have no clue how to decorate and give up before we even start. It takes time to learn something new! That time comes from somewhere.

When we lived in an apartment, I spent very few dollars and hours on decorating. We knew it wasn’t a permanent place and we were saving every spare dime for a down payment on a house. Decorating seemed like an unnecessary expense to me at the time.

When we bought our house, my attitude changed. A house is such an investment, to not make it beautiful seems like a waste. What is the purpose of spending your hard-earned money on something you cannot enjoy?

Perhaps the process of decorating is not something you enjoy, but who doesn’t love beauty? In fact, daily beauty can make us feel happier. Happy people tend to make others around them happier, and that impact can enhance life for everyone.

Whether we bought stuff without focus or gave up altogether, we may feel unsatisfied with what we have but feel helpless in changing our circumstance.

Baby Steps: Start with the Fireplace Mantel

Some say the fireplace mantel is the heart of the home. Generally, it is the focal point of the main living area, and where we relax and spend time with family and friends. It’s also one of the most challenging areas to decorate because you are limited in the depth of the items you can place there. On a positive note, if you have young children at home, it could be the one place you don’t have to worry about items getting broken, lost, or falling in the toilet.

I challenge you to start there and see where it takes you. The question is, how much time are you willing to spend decorating your mantel?

Option 1 – Decorate it Yourself: How Much Does It Really Cost?

I think most of us don’t realize the total amount of time it takes to do anything. Join me in the weeds for a moment.

I laid out a general process to decorate a mantel and provided a time estimate for each part of the process below.

 Process Likely Steps Time
Come up with design Search Pinterest to see what other people are doing 1 – 2 hours
Travel to the store to find items Search for a nearby store and travel 20 minutes there and back = 40 minutes
You rarely find everything you’re looking for in one store Go to more stores in the same trip + 10-20 minutes for each additional store on the same trip
You may not find everything you’re looking for in one shopping trip New trips 20 minutes there and back = 40 minutes
Browsing Search for items 30 minutes – 1 hour / store
Time Searching for a Better Deal Going through the ads and researching online 15-30 minutes
Waiting in the checkout line Stand in line to pay 5-10 minutes/ transaction
Arranging and rearranging Put items on mantel and move around until it looks good 30 minutes – 1 hour
Deciding if it works….if not, new game plan Return: Find receipt (5-10 minutes), drive back to the store (+ 40 minutes), wait in line for refund (5-15 minutes)

Keep: Figure out what to do with it or store the item; clutter makes you less productive and makes it harder to find other things

Sell later: Clean out your cluttered house, prepare for a garage sale (selling the item for pennies on the dollar)

Return: 50 minutes – 1 hour 5 minutes

Keep: 20 minutes

Sell later: 3 hours

I consider this a conservative estimate. You could spend two full days coming up with ideas and shopping and still not get the look you want.

Let’s say you spend:

  • 1 hour: Ideas
  • 1 hour: Travel (3 stores in one trip: travel time to each additional store is 10 minutes and the last store to your house is 20 minutes)
  • 1 hour: Browsing
  • 25 minutes: Plan (planning stores to shop and looking for deals or coupons)
  • 15 minutes: In Line
  • 30 minutes: Arranging (items on the mantel)

Assuming you are happy with what you came up with, your total time commitment is 4 hours 10 minutes.

If you work outside the home, do you know your hourly rate? If you make $60,000 a year with two weeks unpaid vacation, you work 50 weeks a year. At 40 hours a week, your hourly rate is $30 an hour. That means the amount of time you spend decorating your mantel is like it cost you $125. That doesn’t include the cost of materials and assumes you like what you came up with!

Option 2 – Order a Pre-made Mantelscape

Another solution exists. Give your loved ones a beautifully decorated fireplace where they can gather. Save time and energy by purchasing a pre-packaged mantelscape and have it delivered to your door. The included placement strip helps you achieve a consistent look in your home year after year.

Does this sound like something you’re interested in? Sign up here to receive updates, including new designs.

Check out the shop for current designs, including Christmas mantelscapes I just added!

You could do it yourself. Or you could spend 5 hours doing something you really love.


Feature image photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash; Image in body by Nghia Le on Unsplash


 

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4 thoughts on “How Much Is Your Time Worth?

  1. Who cannot relate to your humorous story of shopping for that perfect item, then taking it home, placing it where you thought it would fit in perfectly with all your other “stuff”, only to feel disappointment. I know I have. I purchased one of your autumn add on sets and am very happy to see how beautifully it fits in with the rest of my decor. Thanks for offering such a unique and creative way to decorate and save time and money. 😊

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