Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Shouts and murmurs: Give yourself more time next year

December 29, 2004

Call me a Kansan.

But I was surprised last week to read an editorial in the New York Times about a New York City apartment's selling price of $44 million.

The editorial, titled, "Does That Include the Curtains?" noted it was a Fifth Avenue penthouse with 20 rooms and 8,000 square feet. And of course there's a terrace overlooking Central Park.

Terms of the sale required upfront payment in cash. Reportedly, "media mogul and billionaire" Rupert Murdoch is the buyer.

Curious to learn how much of Tonganoxie $44 million would buy, I called the Leavenworth County appraiser's office.

Bob Weber, deputy county appraiser, said that as of Jan. 1, 2004, property in Tonganoxie, including that which is tax-exempt, was appraised at $204,104,555.

For comparison, in 2003, Tongan-oxie properties were appraised at $179,788,214, and in 2002, at $159,739,460.

In Tonganoxie where the recent average home price was recently quoted at $147,000, $44 million would buy about 20 percent of the property in Tonganoxie.

The $44 million purchase of an apartment, which of course will include furnishings also in the millions of dollars, makes an interesting contrast to a Tonganoxie woman who has a different view of what's important.

Trish Finch lives with her husband, Kevin Finch, on a hilltop house overlooking Tonganoxie. Three years ago, Trish embarked on a campaign to de-clutter her house.

A former collector and an avid bargain hunter, she began by looking at each object in her house and asking herself if it was necessary to have it in her life.

What she discovered is what many of us would discover. She didn't need even half of the things she had. She offered pieces to friends and family, and what they did not want, she began selling on the Internet. She held garage sales and she donated to charity.

Even now, she's continually on the hunt for what she can get rid of -- it might be a box of unused toys in the attic, dishes she no longer needs, or a sweater or two in the closet.

The result, Finch said, is that she now has more time than she did before. Cleaning house is a quicker task because there are fewer items to clean and dust around. Although she does still shop at garage sales looking for things her family needs, and for things to sell on E-bay, she seldom has a need to buy anything -- other than groceries -- in a store.

Those of us looking for a New Year's resolution might want to keep Trish's idea in mind. De-cluttering our homes need not be an all-out dedicated process. It can be gradual, tackling one closet, or even one shelf at a time. And the results, surprisingly, will wind up giving us the one thing we never have enough of -- more time.

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