Category Archives: Planning

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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Monday 1/29/18

My jobs today are pretty much determined by the closet rehab. I have wallboard to clean and trim. I need to dig the knot sealer/primer out of the attic so it can be used up as appropriate and the paint we decided to use for the bathroom as well. (A slightly glossier version of the paint used in the living room.) The paint samples for the baseboard paint (living room and elsewhere) are here (We ordered them last week.).

DH decided he wanted to use a dark blue paint, I’d pretty much decided I wanted black. The compromise is two blues, both really dark. We’re planning to paint one of the baseboard scraps from the closet with both so we can decide.

I’m not sure what ELSE will be on my list today, but of the 6 things I should get done, as many of the above chores will be counted!

  1. Arrange some of the “out books” in the new 12 x 12 x 12 boxes. Either they’re getting shipped, donated, taken to the booth for possible sale, or put aside for later shelving. Space needs to be made in the attic for that last category!
  2. Find the holes to caulk in the bath closet and do so. Also  — there are two holes from the old monitor mount, over your desk in the office, which need to be filled. DH caulked the bathroom holes a day or so ago. Thurs. a.m.
  3. Keep culling the bathroom supplies. Despite what you thought, there are a lot of out of date products in there! Not only finish the cull of the items removed from the closet, but go through again the items under the sink.7:30 p.m.
  4. Paint retrieval from the attic for the bathroom closet project! Weds.3:30 p.m.
  5. Undo/remove extra insulating foam as it’s set now. I was all prepared to do this, every time I mentioned it, DH had a reason to wait. He did it. Weds. a.m.
  6. (fill in) Clean the bathroom closet’s walls. 3:30

DH took a pic or two of the closet nuked, I think. I’ll enjoy putting up an image when it’s done, although I’m not so sure about sharing images of it between nuked and finished? We’ll see!

 

Monday 1/15/18

Here’s the six list for Monday 1/15

  1. Go through the dry stores, check if there’s anything you need? (And clean a shelf or two while you’re at it, ‘eh?) Finished Fri. 4:00 p.m.
  2. Finish the first pass of the tax accounting. (Thru Aug Nov is done, Finish it!!!) Fri.3:30 p.m.
  3. Go through the string bin: clean & cull. Weds. 8:15 a.m.
  4. (fill in) Clean part of the fridge. Been doing this all week, a shelf or bin at a time, and where they’re stored. So far, I’ve cleaned the egg bin, the milk bin, and 2 shelves. . . . Decided I should give myself credit for the work!
  5. Make appt for the septic clean out in the spring. Fri. 9:30 a.m.
  6. Vacuum under the bed. Fri.4:15 Actually did the hall and around the bed. Vac. under the bed is an hour-long job requiring moving the bottom mattress, which I am not able to do now with my elbow issue!

 

Redesigning the Living Room, etc.

Larger table from hall has become a couch table, behind the couch and under the window. This plus end tables I think eliminates the need for a coffee table!

The coffee table, accordingly, is going back to the attic.

The smaller hall table has replaced the two bookcases in the entry, with the shoe rack beneath, but in a more appropriate location.

One bookcase from the entry has gone into the hall. The other needs to go to the attic or my office.

The basket end tables have been moved to the couch sides.

_______

Everything above has been done. What hasn’t been done is below.

The club chairs in the hearth area will be turned 90 degrees to the woodstove, we’ll see how that works, or if it doesn’t. The small library catalog will become a table between the two chairs. I need to get a piece of glass cut for its top, but that’s it.

Long term: I will paint most if not all of the bookcase boxes which are staying in the room and the baseboards.  The cases not being painted will be moved into my office. From my office, the counter will be moved into the kitchen where the marble table currently sits, after that’s taken to the antique store to sell.

We’re still moving the clear spot around, like one of those puzzles, but the clear spot is significantly larger than it used to be!

 

Put Off

The lists are not going to be updated tomorrow. Not because it hasn’t been 2 weeks since I’ve done it or anything like that.

I fell yesterday on a hill covered with snow on top of ice. Fell hard. I am bruised and swollen. I am going to the doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, I didn’t do anything like crack my elbow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had. I fractured it, sigh. Has made everything go more slowly than it would have otherwise! Certainly it put paid to my ideas about getting the downstairs cleaned up, making Christmas bread, and clearing out the storage unit… I’m not supposed to lift > 2 lbs. Ack!

So, until further notice, I’m not writing blogs or updating “to do” lists!

Have a great holiday season, of whatever stripe you follow!

J

Rug Ruminations

I have the same slubby fabric I talked about (here). I decided this is just enough to do the stairs and maybe, just maybe something else, but I better do the stairs first. I know who to take the fabric to, to get it prepped. I will ask for and take the woman’s advice. I know where to get a rug pad for the stairs, when I get that far. The stairs need to be painted first anyway.

I found the price tag on the bolt, I spent $32 for it. The stair runners I’ve found which I like are all around $200, so I have a way to go before I’ve spent that much.

With the stairs taken care of, that leaves the 5 x 8 foot or 6 x 8 foot rug for the hearth.

I like this, a LOT. My only problem is that it’s printed, not woven. So in 5 years or so I’ll have to buy another, sigh. I try to not buy printed fabrics for the house, I like woven patterns, as they wear 2x as long. My opinion, but it’s my house & money.

print rug

My second choice is another one at Birch Lane. (I can’t get an image to save so I can load it here.) (birch lane rug link)

My problem with it is two-fold three-fold. 1) It looks thick and comfy to walk on, and messy. 2)It’s jute & cotton (so is the first one) and because it’s so thick, I’m afraid it will stink, like the other mats did. [I’m less afraid of this with the printed rug, ironically, because I think they’d have to clean the fibers well to get the printing to work.] And 3) DH doesn’t like it.

Thought I had a solution. I found a rug at Ikea which would work.  But they aren’t in stock: in MA, in CT, in IL. . . . trying to find the same piece another way, found 0. Sh*t!

All of which leads me back to trying to make my own. I do not want to make a 5 x 8 foot rug. The last 2 door mats I did, I crocheted out of jute string, took about 2 balls of string and 8 hours to do, not to mention “airing” the string and having to stop because the fumes were getting to me.

I bought the last door mat at Home Depot for $8 on sale. Being sick for a day to make a door mat is one thing. Being sick for a week or two, month? to make a 5 x 8 foot rug? Not going to happen. And that’s not counting however long it would also make me sick living with it.

Since the last time I wrestled with this, I (finally) found a place which sells natural fiber rug warp and yarns. I can buy a cone of rug warp and use some fabrics I have prepped here and/or buy some and see what I think. I could crochet one, it would take a long time, but I could do it. Or, if I could find someone to teach me how to warp my loom, I could just weave one!

Also I will buy a small amount of the warp and other materials and see if I can come up with a way to make a rug with materials which don’t make me sick. If the printed rug at the store stinks? Then the warp, etc. is what I’ll do.

However, for the moment, I think I need to go to the store which has the printed rug and see if it stinks? If not, I may buy it, for $199. (That’s on sale, sigh.)

I will take the bolt end to the woman who can prep it and see what she thinks. She no longer has a store front but works out of her home. 11/15

Thirty years ago I would have gone to Pier One and bought a sisal mat. Actually, 30 years ago I bought a blue, flat woven, cotton rug from Conran’s. It’s in the attic. The color was uneven, so I stopped putting it out. In Tampa, I had wall to wall  med. gray carpeting in the living room, bedrooms, dining room, etc. The blue rug was used in my library, a large open area. The faults were obvious and I put it in the attic here. But the hearth area isn’t an open area, it’s fairly crowded.Our huge living room is divided into three functional areas. Hm. If I can get the rug out of the attic, I could maybe put a rug in the hearth area for $0.

I’m off to go look at the attic!

 

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!