Category Archives: learning

Zero Waste Idea

On my long-term goal list is the idea of buying shelf-stable foods in bulk. I want to do this for several reason: to reduce trips to the market, reduce the waste we create (and thereby trips to the dump) and stress reduction too. I think I have a great resource for figuring out what to use other than plastic or the consumer packaging to store things in my home: my old housekeeping books.

One of the best for this is a book published in 1921. She has what she calls “marketing charts” which are mostly useless as they tell you to do things like buy “washed raisins,” but there’s a column of how to store foods too. Here’s the information I pulled (my comments are in italic).

Buckets or Cans: Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour

Cool, Dry Place: Buckwheat, Canned Goods, Chocolate, Salts (table, cooking & ice cream)Tea, Vinegar

Cool, not Too Dry Place: Nuts

Dry Place: Bar Soaps, Sugar

Tight Container: Cooking Fats (in cool place), Cornstarch (in dry place), Macaroni (pasta)Olive Oil (in dark, cool place), Soap Powder, Spices, Syrup

Jar: Shelled Almonds, Dried Cereal, Cream of Tartar, Currants & Raisins

Glass Jar, Covered or Stoppered: Bay Leaves, Citron, Cocoa, Coconut, Molasses

Rack 2″ from Floor: Flour, white & pastry (One assumes in a barrel or at least a cloth bag? Certainly NOT the paper bags flour comes in today!)

Tight Container: Dried Beans, Crackers, Extracts (in dark place)

Tin*: Baking Powder, Coffee, Cornmeal (covered), Matches

*Any foods stored in a tin I’ll put inside a food safe plastic bag or container which I will reuse.

 

barrel

Image from fixturescloseup.com via google images.

My other observation is that this isn’t likely to be very useful unless I start buying  shelf-stable foods in bulk. Many ideas here are reflected in supermarket packaging: extracts in brown glass and olive oil in green glass bottles, for example. But if you buy them in bulk? Extracts come in white plastic bottles (or at least the commercial packages I’ve seen) but you can purchase olive oil in any bottle you wish.

Now that I’ve created this list, I’m not sure how much I’ll use it? But the idea of it made me stop and think about what I’d need to store household consumables, purchased in bulk. I consider that valuable, even if I don’t actually use the chart!

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Destroy!

Well we demolished the bathroom closet. It was a floor to ceiling closet, but located in such a way that its door and the bathroom door could bang into each other in the doorway. There is also a cabinet door and a drawer which open into or block the door way.

We bought a fawncy bath vanity at the Habitat Re-Store. But, it won’t work as a replacement for our current vanity. However, it has more storage than the vanity we’ve got. So? We demo’ed the closet to put the new vanity (without a sink) into the closet space as useful storage. Removed the closet door. Vanity is in the closet “niche” which was primed and painted, first. Feb. 10

We have talked about for years putting in a pedestal sink or wall-mounted sink because of the space crunch in the room. That’s likely what we’ll do, because the vanity as built-in storage solves the biggest problem with that idea: loss of storage.

We haven’t decided what sink we’ll get or what we’re going to do with the floor (which will have to be redone), and so:

the new vanity cabinet will get a temporary plywood top [We bought a fancy piece of limestone for the top.]

while we figure out the rest of the closet configuration [We know what we want, the vanity’s top is higher than we expected, so it may change?]

…and then the sink, mirror and then the floor. I’d love to nuke the bath/shower too, but that’s another whole order of magnitude money wise. What we’ve bit off we can do in chunks. A tub/shower tear out and replacement isn’t a small chunk….

That’s what’s going on here!

New Monday List!

Okay, this is a restart of my 6-5 list idea. This is the six things on Mon and 5 each Tues – Fri, and catch up on the weekends notion.

Also I will redo the larger, long-term “to do” list sometime this week.

This will make THREE chore lists! The backlogged 6-5 lists, the current 6-5 lists, and the long-term list. Either I’ll just get overwhelmed and quit, again, or I’ll get it done.

What’s really likely is that I’ll get some of it done, for a while, then get overwhelmed and quit. That’s my pattern problem. Somehow, being organized about getting things done eventually leans on the PTSD and I panic and stop. Since many folk seem to get overwhelmed  I guess I don’t feel so bad about not being able to stick to it.

This blog has been a many-year long set of experiments to get me to be able to set a goal then get to it, ‘eh? A tidy house doesn’t seem to make most people panic like it does me, it makes them feel good. It makes me feel good too, but if I do it too consistently? I panic.

The problem has always been the panic. It took me until I was in my mid-50s to be well enough otherwise (not hurting/running scared) to be able to see that what happens to me in a tidy house is panic, and that because of that, it is instantly overwhelming. Telling me “ignore it,” [I can’t tell you how many people have said that to me!] is really useless. Telling myself that is equally useless.

The only real answer has been to find ways to turn tidying into habit, so that I don’t think about it, I just do it. Fine. Except that the process of doing that causes me to panic too — and the rat wheel goes around — again.

So. Here I am, again. With another shot at it, again.

Monday’s 6:

  1. File something. 5:11 p.m.
  2. Clean the front of the kitchen cabinet that hasn’t been cleaned the longest (I put stickies in the drawers/cabinets that tell me when I cleaned them last.) 6:30 p.m.
  3. Clean the cat food bin. 10:28 p.m.
  4. Straighten an underwear drawer. 10:20 p.m.
  5. (fill in). Bathroom floor & counter clean up. 1:40 p.m.
  6. Get the planner started.

Friday’s 5 & Tuesday’s too!

Okay, okay. Catch up. Today is hyper busy! The tile HAS to go into the basement today,  it’s supposed to snow tonight.  Also various other yard clean up things have reached criticality because of that. Not negotiable.

Organizing my day accordingly. I’m fighting off a cold, and will be so dirty after going in/out of the basement, hauling things to the sheds, etc. I will *have* to bathe. But I can’t go in/out of the house or up/down into unheated basement with wet hair.Guaranteed to make me sick. So the plan already started is:

Prep veggies for lunch/dinner soup. Get them started. (Done!)

Eat breakfast (Done.)

Move tile into basement. Do other yard clean up until 10. Work on pantry. Bathe, Make/eat lunch, then see what needs to happen the most!

Last Friday, I used the day to eliminate a chunk of the backlog. That won’t happen today! Although I will use the list, if it fits, to include the chores I’ve just talked about.

Today’s Five:

  1. Get the sand set up. Fri. 9 a.m.
  2. Get the onions stored properly. Fri., don’t know the time.
  3. Deal with the excess yams. Fri., don’t now the time.
  4. Get the trellises upright, again. (They fell down in the storm we had a few weeks ago.) Weds. 11/15
  5. (fill in) Clean the entry. Fri. 2:20 p.m.

Tuesday’s Five:

  1. Add labels to the pantry crates. Thurs. eve.
  2. Clean part of a bookcase, any bookcase. Fri. 2:35 p.m.
  3. Deal with the farm food. Fri. don’t know the time.
  4. Grab last-minute food from the garden. Missed this, we had a hard freeze.
  5. Make sure there’s enough storage containers for the last glut.

Backlog:

  • Dust the cuprack.
  • Get some of the cleaned laundry hung up which isn’t.
  • Do a short inventory of the meat in the big freezer. (Probably something like 1 chicken, 3 lbs ground round, and 1 other package of mixed chicken parts. . . but I don’t know exactly!)
  • Get the rice in one place, instead of 2-3, as it is now.
  • Clean, wax, organize the snow scoop, shovels, etc.
  • Use the commercial napkins for their intended craft, or get rid of them!
  • Dust the stair fan. Sat. morning, don’t know the time.
  • Get the odd pieces of insulation into the basement.
  • Check the water heater’s filter, does it need to be cleaned?
  • Sand some of the marks from the floor, at the edges.
  • Deal with the squashes from the farm.
  • Make room with the cold cereal for the hot cereal to go too.
  • Get the island/kitchen side cleared.
  • Update linked in.
  • (fill in) Send checks to publisher and BIL. Tues.
  • Work on the house binder.
  • Clean out the small ice box.
  • Get through the last of the tomatillos.
  • (fill in) Get things put away in attic which need to go there and pull something out which needs to go elsewhere. Sat. 11-3 pulled something out.
  • (fill in)Put laundry away.
  • Clean the oven, so it’s clean before Thanksgiving!
  • Dust the electronics in the office.
  • Eat the last watermelon.
  • Cull or add to the candle collection, as needed.
  • Get the mittens, etc. (winter gear) out of the attic and swap in the summer bill caps, etc. Fri. got winter gear from attic. 9 a.m.
  • Get the salt & sand next to the front door.
  • Clean the couch.
  • Get the coffee ad framed.
  • Clean part of the upstairs that hasn’t been touched in some time.
  • Double check the emergency supplies. (fill in)
  • Put away the canning supplies if not in use.
  • Put up the 3 missing hurricane clips
  • Put the grill away.
  • Put the tile in the basement. (I recently acquired a LOT of mosaic tiles.)
  • Get the ladders put away for the season.
  • Get the supplies for the knitted pillow all in one place so you can finish it!
  • Clean the office chairs.
  • Find a place to put away the dehydrator racks and do so when appropriate.
  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc. 
  • Find a new home for the cat towel basket. (Old towels used for car washing, spill clean up, whatever!)

    Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason

Pick up the yard, put more items away for winter. 11/3 Chairs put away, hoses, hose table. (All need to be covered.) Also not-so-great paint in the shed. Raked around the house, or most of it. (Need to pick up leaf piles.)

Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish. Deferred because I have THREE containers of general metal polish. I want to use up at least one of those before I make up more. I sure don’t need 4!!!

Go thru the record collection, cull. First part done. Moving to in-process 10/27, 2nd piece done 11/2

Wash the net curtains. First pair pulled from over the dry stores 4:30. Washed Tues. 10/24 a.m. One pair to go. Two pairs to go.

Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do! Finished Fri. 11/10 

Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

Clean off DH’s desk. This is going to be delayed until he and I catch up. I pulled everything from the top drawer on his side of the dresser, we’re still going through all of that.

 

Finish the freezer/fridge cleaning. More done, but not complete. 7:00 p.m. Move to on-going.

 

5/35 or 14.3% 6/35 or 17.1%

 

Becoming OCD: Symptoms

I have many indicators that I am slipping to the other side:

  1. I’m scraping off the “dirty” part of the soap bar and using that when I wash my hands.
  2. I’m thinking that scissors and other tools with dark handles save cleaning fingerprints from them.
  3. When I toss something, almost anything, I think, “One less piece of clutter . . . “
  4. I started wrapping the cord to the upright vac with crossed loops. Fewer loops, much neater!
  5. Our TP holder has room for a 2nd roll behind. I stopped putting the 2nd roll hole forward and instead put it the same way as the roll we’re using… less visual clutter.
  6. I’ve been cataloging, pricing, and tagging items before I leave home. No more wondering if I’d paid $2 for something or $4? I know the mark-up is adequate, and since I know my pricing schema, I know enough when I start mark downs what I likely paid for the item.  $3 is my bottom price, if I can’t sell something for $3 in a week, it’s not worth bothering with. That is the hard-won knowledge of years of retailing and my old inclination to keep things. I’m getting ruthless!
  7. Becoming OCD is catching, did you know? DH is reorganizing his workshop. He’s using a Space Budget (although he doesn’t call it that).
  8. I’ve decided that I love contractions, abbreviations, ampersands & question marks: shorter and tidier writing. (I really am OCD! Tidy writing??? )

Any minute now, I will become that monster: the woman who won’t go outside because her hair gets messed, who wipes the table whenever anyone lifts a cup from it!

If you know me IRL, please TELL me if when I go too far. Please! How do you avoid falling off a cliff?

Monday’s 6, backlog, cutting down, and . . .

 

Here’s today’s 6:

  1. Deal with the squashes from the farm.
  2. Make room with the cold cereal for the hot cereal to go too.
  3. Sew the area rugs in the pantry together.Tues. 11/7 2:15 p.m.
  4. Get the island/kitchen side cleared.
  5. Update linked in.
  6. (fill in) Send checks to publisher and BIL.

Backlog:

  • Clean the upstairs doors.10:00 a.m.
  • (fill in) Finish the freezer/fridge cleaning. More done, but not complete. 7:00 p.m.
  • Work on the house binder.
  • Clean out the small ice box.
  • Get through the last of the tomatillos.
  • (fill in) Get things put away in attic which need to go there and pull something out which needs to go elsewhere. Sat. pulled something out.
  • (fill in)Put laundry away.
  • Clean the oven, so it’s clean before Thanksgiving!
  • Dust the electronics in the office.
  • Clear the “hair trap,” i.e., the tub drain. Weds. 8 pm.
  • Eat the last watermelon.
  • Cull or add to the candle collection, as needed.
  • Get the mittens, etc. (winter gear) out of the attic and swap in the summer bill caps, etc.
  • Get the salt & sand next to the front door.
  • Clean the couch.
  • Get the coffee ad framed.
  • Clean part of the upstairs that hasn’t been touched in some time.
  • Double check the emergency supplies. (fill in)
  • Put away the canning supplies if not in use.
  • Put up the 3 missing hurricane clips
  • Put the grill away.
  • Put the tile in the basement. (I recently acquired a LOT of mosaic tiles.)
  • Get the ladders put away for the season.
  • Get the supplies for the knitted pillow all in one place so you can finish it!
  • Get the rest of the better paint into the attic. Done Mon. 11/6, forgot to mark it!
  • Clean the office chairs.
  • Find a place to put away the dehydrator racks and do so when appropriate.
  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc. 

  1. Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason:

    Pick up the yard, put more items away for winter. 11/3 Chairs put away, hoses, hose table. (All need to be covered.) Also not-so-great paint in the shed. Raked around the house, or most of it. (Need to pick up the piles.)

    Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish. Deferred because I have THREE containers of general metal polish. I want to use up at least one of those before I make up more. I sure don’t need 4!!!

    Go thru the record collection, cull. First part done. Moving to in-process 10/27, 2nd piece done 11/2

    Wash the net curtains. First pair pulled from over the dry stores 4:30. Washed Tues. 10/24 a.m. One pair to go. Two pairs to go.

    Use up the eggplant from last week. Used the first one for Sunday’s dinner. 2nd one used Fri. lunch. (2 to go!) done, 11/2

    Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do!

    Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

    Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

    Clean off DH’s desk. This is going to be delayed until he and I catch up. I pulled everything from the top drawer on his side of the dresser, we’re still going through all of that.

    Find a new home for the basket which holds the “cat towels.” (Old towels used for whatever is needed: car washing, spill clean up, whatever!)

    Still 4/35 or 11.4%. 5/35 or 14.3%

Cutting Down? I went through some websites/blogs I’d found about decluttering, going minimalist and other such. Found that as usual, the get rid of these things lists didn’t work for me. Either I already do it, or I am not interested (like get rid of every book you haven’t read/used in a year — seriously?). I also went through the how to declutter, etc. posts I found and deleted a few of those too. Not that they had no real purpose, but “get rid of kitchen items which are broken” (Done already, do it the day it breaks doh!) etc. not my problem.

Then I found one about declutting for your elderly parents or before real estate sales or such, and it’s a system with free printables.

Here:sageorganizing

I printed a copy of their “downsizing your home: room-by-room checklist” which is the first really helpful thing I’ve found which isn’t mine, in a long, long time. It won’t help with my style dilemma, but it might help peel another layer or 4 of stuff outta here. I’ve purged the obvious (the broken, duplicates, etc.) the stuff we didn’t know why we had, and now have gotten to the hard stuff, as I’ve said before (glass door knobs).

This may actually be helpful. Hurrah!

Out of curiousity, I tallied the items I’ve done since I started the week day lists. Total chores done? 144. Not too bad from mid Sept. to the beginning of Nov!

Today’s 5 is going to be the Weekend’s 5 because. . .

I have the last tag sale tomorrow. I spent this morning doing two things: I made a large batch of lemon-rosemary chicken for lunch, so that tonight’s dinner was taken care of and tomorrow’s too.

I washed clothes for the weekend.

I wrote the other blog and cleaned as I mentioned.

Finally, I went to the antique store, the storage, the consignment shop, the bank and the supermarket. I have paid the storage rent, deposited checks and gotten start cash from the bank, talked to my landlord about what time the tag sale starts (it’s at the antique shop), etc.

I may not have done my Friday 5, but I have been BUSY!

Here’s the 5:

  1. Wipe down the PB & J shelf in the pantry and its contents. Sun. 10/22 10:50 a.m.
  2. Donate unsold yard sale merchandise. Sat. 10/21 3:45 p.m.
  3. Sanitize the water pic.
  4. Use up the eggplant from last week. Used the first one for Sunday’s dinner. (Move to in process.)
  5. Find a place to put away the dehydrator racks and do so when appropriate.

Here’s the remaining backlog:

  • Use up the ice cream base in the freezer.
  • Wash the net curtains.
  • Wipe down the sweeteners and their shelf in the pantry. Sun. 10/22 10:50 a.m.
  • Go thru the record collection, cull.
  • Put garden hoses away for winter.
  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Make pepper jelly (or use up the peppers somehow). Mon. 10/23 9:30 a.m.
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Make cookies with the frozen oatmeal. Recipe found. Oatmeal removed from freezer, put in fridge Tuesday. Tossed Monday, sigh. 10/23
  • Empty my desk, again. Mon 10/23 9:00 a.m.
  • Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish.
  • Move the longer lumber from the shed so it can be put away in the loft. Done Sunday. 10/22
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc.
  • Do the last gather of tag sale materials, last sale is Saturday 10/21 Friday 10/21 all day.
  • Put ice scrapers in the cars, examine and see if they need replacement?

 

This is all too much! It requires an invocation of my patron saint & his mantra:

eveready bunny, keep going


Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason:

Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do!

Cut more sage and other such from the garden. Kale Fri. 10/13, most of the rest of it 10/15. Need to pull some tarragon and that’s it.

Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

Clean off DH’s desk. This is going to be delayed until he and I catch up. I pulled everything from the top drawer on his side of the dresser, we’re still going through all of that.