Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Domesticity the freedom to create - Part One

If you are in the mood, today is the day that I will 'wax lyrical' (gosh, who says that? Really?) about the joys and wonders of achieving the freedom to create, through being a domestic goddess.

Ah-hem...... drum roll please.

Ok, here goes.

Now, anyone that knows me, is probably rolling their eyes and thinking, 'who does she think she is talking about being a domestic godess?'

You see, about half my life is lived in chaos, and the other half is organisational bliss.  (can anyone out there relate to that?  I think it might be epidemic in the crafting world....)

But, the thing is, you see, when I do get, I really, really get it.

And I think as I get older (and wiser ;) ) more time is spent without the chaos.  Quite simply, because I've now had enough experience to know that organised is better.

Infinitely better.

(caviat: if you are a super-organised person, and you really can't work out what on earth I am talking about, because, you're thinking, but doesn't this all just come naturally?
All three of you are free to ignore this post. 
You probably have by now anyway)

Now, for the rest of us.

Most of you, like me, have probably been on all the organisational internet sites, drooled over pictures of domestic havens, run by women with their lipstick and highheels on before 7.00am, joined up for the 'flylady' mailing lists (who can keep up with all the emails?), or you have a shelf full of self-help books and magazines .

Some of those things can work, but its often short-lived (I found the Barbara Felton "messies manual" books useful).  But I have now come to realise that there a few 'foundational' principles that help me have a modicum (sp?) of control in my life.

Here are some of them.

Let me get right to the hinge of organisational tools for the domestically-challenged - get this one sorted and, no kidding, half the job is done!!

 The Organisational Folder.

...and what goes right along with that?

Glad you asked - it's the Weekly Menu Planner.

....and not to forget the daily list.

So - thats
1. Organisational folder - the 'heavy lifter' of the crew
2. The Weekly Menu Planner - the 'life-saver' of the crew
3. The daily list - the 'short-term memory helper' of the crew

The Organisational folder.....

.... is where I keep my recipes, shopping lists, menu plans, lists, routines, etc.
Now, to start with, you might not have much in the way of routines in there, but the essential thing is, to work out WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FIRST.
In other words - the 'priority pyramid'

Now, as you can see from the 'expert's chart' above (teeheee), the you can move things around to suit your needs, but the bottom two are non-negotiable!

If you are living in utter chaos most of the time, if you only made sure there was dinner on the table at the appropriate time every night and you had clothes to wear - then I promise you, your life would improve a thousand percent.

You don't need to conquer the world in one day.
Just one corner of it.

So, it's based on survival principles.
What can you not survive without?
No, its not crochet.  It's food.  Well, maybe you can survive on crochet, BUT your family can't.

So, to start with, your daily routine might just be, for example:


1. Put on load of washing,
2. Put dinner in the crockpot, or prepare dinner and put in fridge till tea-time, for example
3. Hang out washing, or put in drier.
4. Put washing away when dry.
5.  Evening - take something out of freezer for tomorrow.


1. Put on load of washing,
2. Put dinner in the crockpot, or prepare dinner and put in fridge till tea-time, for example
3. Hang out washing, or put in drier.
4. Go food shopping
5. Clean bathroom
6. Put washing away when dry.
7. Evening - take something out of freezer for tomorrow.

The Weekly Menu Planner and shopping lists....

.....are just as important as the organisational folder.

The biggest hindrance for me to get meals ready, is not knowing what to cook, and even if I did, I might not have the ingredients.
With the meal planners, all the thinking is done already, and the shopping lists have been written out and in the folder for each menu plan.

I like to work on about 3 weekly menu plans. 
It might take you a couple of days of sitting down and working out, BUT IT WILL SAVE YOU OODLES OF TIME AND BRAIN STRAIN.

In the morning, you would write out your amended routine for the day (as in, everything you NEED to accomplish, and realistically can achieve, that day) on to a piece of paper (Your Daily List). 
 Include the steps for making the meal, like 'prepare vegetables', make pie, or whatever.
I then cross off each item as I do it.

This is very important. Don't skip this step.
It gives you a sense of achievement.  You can build on your success.

You might also have noticed that I have put the meal preparation, dinner cooking in the a.m.  That was deliberate.  I never feel like cooking dinner at dinner-time.  Ive used up most of my energy by then.  This is the most important job, so do it when your energy level is highest.  It is much better to have a reheated meal than no meal at all.....

So, have I bored you yet?  Are any of you still here?


This is a bit of a pictorial of yesterday's routine.

First of all, I made bread. Now, I know that making bread sounds like a lot of effort and maybe not essential if you can just buy it.  But for me, it is essential - for health reasons.  And the sort of bread I make is too expensive to buy on a regular basis for that good a quality.
So for me, it is a 'must do'.

As I live in a small village, I buy my wheat in bulk, it makes the cost of the bread sooooooo much cheaper, and I grind it in the electric grinder. 
All I do is chuck in the wheat, press the button, come back a few minutes later and its all done.  Brilliant.

This is my grinder.

Here is my dough being kneaded in the mixer.
I know it sounded like bread making was a lot of work, but not the way I do it. 
The machine grinds the wheat, I mix it with starter, salt and water, then the other machine kneads the dough.

And it gets cut in half and popped into tins.

Now, did I mention above that on the weekly menu planner I have written what needs to be done for each meal, like soaking things the day before.  I just need to glance at my folder and I know what I need to do, without working it all out.

Tomorrow I am having chicken curry.
That means today I put a whole chicken in the crockpot (I didn't have to remember that, it was on my list).  I'll use the meat of it for curry, and a chicken salad the next day.  I'll put the bones back in and make stock.
Again, brilliant!

I sometimes like to add in a bit of astragalus root to the stock - very good for the immune system.

.....some onion and garlic

..... some sea salt

..... some celery and some water.

The added bonus of having the crockpot on, is that I can put the bread tins next to it to rise.

Check that the bed is made.... check.

Take a quick photo of the chair cover on the way past.

Back to the kitchen to make tonights dinner - vegetarian shepherd's pie.

A sudden whim to photograph the cake stand my sister gave me for my birthday.....

Washing machine is on.

Time for my reward.
A cup of tea and some almond biscuits......

..... and some time for creative freedom.

A bit of 'hooky' time, working on the edging (yes the edging, so very nearly finished) of my stripey blanket.

Eventually, I will do a part two to this post, and tell you about the Barbara Felton concept (borrowed from George Washington) called 'Mt. Vernon-ising'. 



  1. I had to laugh, I had to smile, I had to wonder when when will get to the menu planning part. Sigh. Must try out the daily schedule thingy! Thanks :-)

  2. Lol, Stel!
    I know what you mean! I must admit it did take me quite a while to get the menu plans done, but eventually, they were done out of desperation for some order in the chaos.


  3. hi Fi, great post, must give the folder idea a go, definitely could use some organisation around here. I don't have such a problem with meals as i like to cook, but the rest of the house is generally very out of control! So housework reforms are in order i think! I love lists too, so a daily to do list might help me get my act together. Have a good week. Julie:)
    Ps your kitty cat is looking great! So glad to see someone has made one!!


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