Friday, 8 March 2013
So, the plan is .........
Somewhere or other I likened trying to get - and keep - my life more organised, as like someone sitting atop a coach, driving a team of six independently-minded horses! As soon as I get one under control, one or more of the others breaks out and chaos reigns. (No pun on reins intended!)
Consequently stuff mounts up. Clutter proliferates (they don't call this Haemorrhoid House for nothing, there are so many piles about!) Food is wasted and gets thrown - despite freezing and planning ahead when THAT particular horse is in the lead. Sewing projects languish. Ironing mounts a protest from the TWO baskets in the utility room. Meals are scrappy and not very healthy when THAT particular horse isn't in the lead. The freezer is disorganised, which leads to disorganised shopping which in turn leads to unplanned meals and hence wasted food..... and so it continues. Meanwhile I am fed up with myself, wishing I could get stuck into some stitching but feeling I haven't got the time (or the inclination.)
Some of you are tutting to yourselves, never allowing this state of affairs to develop. Others will be nodding and saying"oh yes", knowing only too well how easy it is to let things slip. I'm not apologising for it. I'm just fed up with it and determined to get things straight...and CONTINUE to keep on top of things.That is the salient point.
So, where have I gone with this so far? Well, lots of reading up and cherry-picking the bits that I felt applied to me and would be useful. Some of the more helpful blogs I will introduce to you as time goes on.
I cracked and bought a little book (not as pretty as Penelope's, admittedly)to make my lists, menu planning, and so on.
I've also made use of my MacBook's "Notes" facility to store my menu plans and ingredients lists.
Sorry, poor photo, forgot to take flash off. You can see how it works, the ingredients/shopping list continues as I scroll down. When I write a fresh note, the older one shoots to the left side until I need it again. It may be a 'belt and braces' kind of thing as I have my new note book and pens, those I can take anywhere,and will contain ideas and other spur of the moment thoughts.
I have also ordered 3 A4 wipe off boards and pens to hang on each freezer. Years ago, when we bought our first freezer (the 70's!) I was very organised, and colour coded everything, wrote everything down and crossed off things used.Sadly, that sensible behaviour fell by the wayside and eventually resulted in the disorganised mess that I lived with until this week. As things are put into the freezer they will be listed on the board, and wiped off when used up. Simple, isn't it? And it takes no time at all.
Another aid to organised living is "30 Minutes". I am going to apply this to those jobs which either I hate doing, or which have grown to such proportions that I feel too overwhelmed to deal with them. 30 minutes is not too long to set aside to clear a cupboard, whereas you may baulk at sorting out the entire kitchen/bedroom/bathroom etc cupboards in one go. Sorting one freezer took me about this long. Culling several bookshelves would take another 30 minute block. My sewing room, were I to attempt to clear it in one go, would take a couple of days, probably, and never likely to happen at that rate, but if I tell myself I will clear for just 30 minutes, I am more likely to start. I picked up this idea from Tawny over at The Frugal Hill Way - Simply Living a Richer Life. As a start I cleaned out my cooking oils tray, giving away a bottle I didn't need, washing greasy containers, organising the various oils into a sensible- use method. Not an essential piece of work, but useful, and my tray looks much nicer now!
Some of the blogs I've been checking out are about frugal cooking. Now I am in the fortunate position of not having to worry where the next meal is coming from, and able to decide where, if anywhere, I wish to economise. However, I do think it is thrifty to shop carefully, cook properly, and use up - one way or another - everything you bought. Because of my disorganised freezers, my food shopping was haphazard, we swung between well-planned, and hastily cobbled together meals, and I was throwing away too much spoiled/unused food.
So the menu planning will certainly help with that, as will the freezer routines. I've been making "freezer hash", that is chopping herbs, soup bases, grated cheese, bread crumbs etc and freezing in small pots, for some time now, since I read about it on Sue's wonderful blog"The Quince Tree". I shall be regularly, not just sporadically, batch baking, or cooking double meals, one to eat one to freeze. You know, I've been doing this for years, just not consistently. Here's what went in the freezer this week.
Two medium and one huge lamb pasties, with left over roast lamb and freshly sautéed carrot onion and swede.
Three portions for two of trout and spinach fish pie mix. We had the fourth portion yesterday.
Not into the freezer, but a good example of frugality, I thought, the remains of (sad to say) one shop-bought lemon drizzle and one chocolate brownie cake, bought for a visit from my brother-in-law and niece. I whipped up two 'use urgently' eggs, and milk, poured it over the broken up cake pieces, and cooked gently for an hour while I had the oven on for something else. It did us for pudding for 3 days!
And yes, I did get into my sewing room and get on with a few stitchy things. A few rows of quilting on the cuddle quilt:
And a wool cushion for someone-but-it's-a-secret!
The stitched wording is just for guidelines, this isn't how it ail look when finished. I may need to snip a bit at the front legs as it is meant to be a hare, and it looks suspiciously bunny-like! That is the moon below, BTW, not an exercise ball!
Phew, this is quite a long post, isn't it, again. Well, I wanted to get my plans for home organisation organised! There is still so much I wanted to say, but will leave it for another post. I'd like to thank those of you who write these helpful blogs; I may not be quite the person you write them for, I'm not in debt, trapped in a house full of rotting newspapers and mouldy food, or struggling to pay off a huge mortgage. But the very steps which help people who ARE in these situations can help all of us who just need a hand getting their houses in order, so to speak. I started by regularly reading DataCreator's posts on her blog Frugal in Norfolk. I also enjoy reading about Rhonda, in Down to Earth, she has LOADS of useful information. From their blogs you can find other bloggers in their side-bars.
Now I hope I haven't bored you silly, and that you will come back and read the next post. Catch you then!