The Hamrick Family Social Experiment: Conclusion

It’s over. The wait for our real life is over. Sort of.

Today we move out of our temporary apartment into our house. We will spend today doing the illustrious job of loading/delivering the things we brought with us to our new house, returning all the borrowed items to the amazing people who loaned them to us, and cleaning the apartment.

I wanted to give a quick run-down of how our spending freeze went and our thoughts on the Social Experiment. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can go back and read the first post about that here. In short, I came up with an idea that, if it worked, would keep me from having to buy things to use while we lived in the temporary apartment… things that we already have in our HHGs that were waiting patiently a few miles down the road in a storage facility. In this life I could easily end up with several sets of small kitchen appliances, linens, and inexpensive trash cans if I bought them every time I moved and had to wait a while for housing.

I have to say… IT WORKED!

To begin with I created an event on evite and posted it on the local Homeschool Facebook group as well as on my blog.

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 4.14.18 PM

I had a brief explanation on the page about what the experiment was, and sat back to see what would happen.

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One of the keys to making this easy was the drop-down menu I set up which listed what I needed. (If you were to use this website as it was intended, the drop-down menu helps guests of a potluck know which foods need to be signed-up for. It’s a glorious website if you’re the hostess and want to make sure all the bases are covered…) As those who saw my request for help went to the invitation, they could see what items I needed to borrow. If they saw I needed four lamps and had one, they could select that, and the website would then show that I needed three. Love this website.  Below is a sample so you can see what I’m talking about.  I created this mock-up just for you.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 7.33.23 AM

The conversations on there were fun, and the response was overwhelming!

Within 48 hours I had about everything on my list covered… definitely everything I needed to make life livable. A few days after that I was able to gather a few last things that I had forgotten to put on the list, or things I didn’t want to put on the list because they were splurges (a garlic press and a Pampered Chef Stone, to be exact). I was able to borrow these things from a friend here and she may never know how much I appreciate that garlic press! I use it for almost every dinner I make! (“Pressing” garlic by hand is NO fun.)  Oh, and another friend loaned me a pair of scissors and a very nice 4 QT Pampered Chef stainless steel pot.  How I forgot to ask for scissors to begin with I will never know!

As the experiment went on I made a list of the things we purchased… things I wish we could have avoided purchasing but had to anyway. (Obviously I purchased food and toiletries, but as far as things that we have coming our way in our HHGs, below is the list of things we bought during our spending freeze.)

1. Spatula (one I borrowed from someone cracked so I replaced it)
2. Hangers*
3. Ball gown (HHGs arrive 5 days after ball)
4. Stetson/spurs (See note in parentheses on #3.)
5. Foam mattress topper thing to make our mattress “sleepable.” Wasn’t really sure this was the kind of thing one should borrow from someone.
6. Plunger… again… not something one would like to borrow. I got a $3 one from Target and it’ll belong in the boys’ bathroom.
7. Tracfone. In order to feel comfortable leaving the boys at home while I went to the gym to run, I wanted a phone in the house. For a mere $20 plus a $15 card with minutes, we now have a “home phone” for emergency purposes only.

*Note on the hangers: Had I known Matt needed hangers I would have asked around for some to borrow. He bought those one day on his own and I blame him fully for not allowing me to ask around for loaners. So, without that purchase, we would have made only six purchases during the time we were in temporary apartment. (Yes, Matt, I just threw you under the bus, but I LOVE you!)

This experiment was great for several reasons. First off, the obvious… it saved me from spending money to buy things I already own. Secondly, it kept me from adding to the already-overwhelming amount of stuff I own… (see More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger). Finally, the social part was more fulfilling than I expected! I loved meeting new people and getting to know them. I did not anticipate how neat it would be to be forced to rely on complete strangers for the things I needed. I loved that people would hand me their things, not knowing exactly how long it’d be before they saw them again. One family even let me watch their baby while they took my bigs (and their bigs, as well) to a movie. What a fun and very social outcome to this experiment.

And I sit here now, listening to the sound of rain pouring down, on a bed with no linens, letting my family get a few last minutes of sleep knowing that as soon as they wake up, “it’s ON.”  We’ll start delivering the items back to their owners and Parker has a doctor’s appointment, and then… well, then we clean this apartment and officially move into our new house!

Thank you to everyone who loaned us items and to those who were going to when they stopped by Killeen.  What a fun experiment this was, and it was all because of you!


These items are cleaned, sorted, and ready to be returned to their owners.



About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in Discussing debt, family, friends, military, nifty tricks, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Hamrick Family Social Experiment: Conclusion

  1. Monica says:

    You are one smart cookie :-). Best wishes for you in your new home!!!

  2. This is so awesome! Jeff Shinabarger shared it with me, and I’m so inspired! These things are not easy to follow through on. Great job! Your story is inspiring!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you! We were so blessed by the generosity of strangers.

      We have purged about 3,000 pounds from our HHGs and I can’t wait to write about it. We are limiting the “things” in our house to the things we really need, love, or want. Those things are fewer than we expected. Saying goodbye to my stuff has been easier than I thought. Only one thing broke my heart to let go but I’ll have to write a post about that.

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  3. Pingback: Giving it away… | thehamricks

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