Card-catalog longing a reminder to be happy with what I have

A while back, I wrote a blog post about antiques I'd buy if I could only find them - even if it took some finangling to figure out where to put them in our tiny house.

That list included card catalogs. Well, the Preservation and Conservation Association is selling some from the University of Illinois through a waiting list.

Blog PhotoI so want to be on that list. I've visited the card catalogs at PACA (its architectural warehouse is a block from my office) and they're wonderful. But the truth is - we'd have to get rid of another piece of furniture to fit one in our house.

And after finding a spot for those metal vertical files we added last fall, we're to the point where every single piece of furniture in our home serves a purpose, with no room for extras. We'd have to get rid of the couch or our end-table dog crate or our vintage metal file cabinet to make room. We just can't.

But it's surprised me, how the subject of these card catalogs has caused me to think about our lifestyle.

I try so hard not to be materialistic. Our not-even-700-square foot house is the perfect size for Rob, me and our little dog and cat. It has plenty of 1920s charm and forces us to pare down our belongings. We live efficiently and modestly there, and we live close to our jobs, several grocery stores anda few parks.

Sometimes, like in the case of the card-catalog longing, it's hard. We both grew up in big old houses and love to fantasize about having one of our own. I find it difficult sometimes, to browse Pinterest and real estate listings and not feel envious, or like we deserve a huge house and a gourmet kitchen and an attached two-car garage.

But then, I remember our priorities for our family - to send our someday-kids to college (the best gift my parents ever gave me), to actually retire someday, to give to organizations we feel passionately about. Living modestly now will help us achieve those dreams. I try to keep in mind Dave Ramsey's advice, to "live like no one else," and stop comparing ourselves to others.

So, we won't get a card catalog. We're going to try to live in our tiny old house for as long as we can, and appreciate it while we're there. In the meantime, Rob and I will continue to tackle fun little do-it-yourself projects that will help us appreciate it more. In the meantime, other blog posts like this one, in particular, help me remember we're on the right track.

If you have room for a card catalog, though, you can get on the list by calling PACA at 217-359-7222.

News-Gazette photo by John Dixon.

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