Job Sampling & Home Decorating

The weekend before last we did something a little different – we worked with a team of folks from Georgia and Alabama to pack up a Staples store that was going out of business in Hermitage, TN. We found out about the project through one of my side hustles and it seemed like a great way to earn a good bit of vacation money pretty quickly and easily. Admittedly, I thought about backing out when we first arrived on site but after a few hours, we fell into a groove and actually had a lot of fun.

Besides the cash (almost $500 to be exact), they were also giving away a lot of items from the store. People left with desks, filing cabinets, plastic storage drawers, and more. We declined the big stuff but did take home a 2017 Rand McNally Road Atlas to replace our 2015 version. On Sunday, while watching football, I re-purposed the old atlas and some postcards into wall art for our new bedroom. I haven’t hung them yet but I think they turned out pretty good.


Our decorating style is probably eclectic with a focus on minimalism. The theme of our our home, if homes were to have themes, would be travel. The few items we have on display were mostly acquired during our travels. Last year, we invested in a few pieces of quality furniture (the couch, loveseat, ottoman, and dinette set) but for the most part, our home is a mix of odds and ends picked up in thrift stores, closeout stores, Goodwill, and yes, even the dumpster.

Though it is the smallest floor plan offered here, our new apartment is still 1 1/2 times the size of our previous one. The amount of wall space is insane! We could almost open an art gallery in here. It’s been a real challenge to make the new place feel cozy but here’s a look at what we came up with.

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The thought crossed our minds to buy a few new things to “fill the wall space” but that idea was vetoed in favor of using our “mad money” to do something special on our trip to New York & DC next month.

Speaking of mad money…

The Staples project gave us the opportunity to sample a different kind of job and Angie was really intrigued by the travel aspect. Besides us, everyone on the team was from at least 4 hours away. They were working 5 days (not just the weekend, like we were) and staying in a nice mid-range hotel. Each received mileage reimbursement and a $25 per diem for meals. Since the job ended promptly at 5 PM every day, they still had time to explore Nashville (which the vast majority said that they did). I’m not sure I’d want to do it all the time but we calculated that one 5-day work/travel trip would cover all of our expenses for an entire month so I’m definitely putting it on our list of potential semi-retirement jobs.

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