DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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1 October 2012

House work routines

I'm trying to re-establish my routines - the main one that got me through every day before I modified much of it to write my book, but also other smaller planning exercises that remind me to plant tomatoes in a pot so we'd have home grown tomatoes at Christmas, and make soap and cleaning products so we don't run out.


I keep forgetting the bread. I changed to an overnight dough and often forgot to mixed it before going to bed. Now I've decided to change back because we were wasting bread. Unless you eat that bread straight away, just baked, or toasted, it doesn't taste so good. So were going back to the normal sandwich loaf and I hope that will bring structure to my day. It had always been part of my daily routine. I would make bed, wash up, make bread dough, then clean up the kitchen and that would set me up for the day. Once I got the dough underway, the rest fell into place. I have to get back to making the bed after breakfast, then going to the kitchen to wash up, clean up and make the bread. When I do that, when I get the morning organised and underway, the rest of the day seems so clear to me. One thing just follows the other when I start out right. Daily rhythm.



But there are many other things to plan along the way, especially if you wish to make your own cleaning products or produce vegetables in the backyard.  We'll be scaling back on our garden fairly soon. We've just planted lettuces, pakchoy and calendulas that will keep us going another month and I have one cherry tomato to transplant and another to plant in pots. These pots can be moved around and while we'd have little hope here of having any of the larger heirloom tomatoes on the table for Christmas, we have a good success rate with the cherry tomatoes. We have one three-quarters grown and in flower cherry tomato in a pot now, so if I plant the other two, we'll have cherry tomatoes right through until January. But if I don't do something about that now, like everyone else, we'll be buying overpriced tomatoes for our Christmas salads. The planning is essential.


And speaking of Christmas, that's another planning exercise because we tend to make what we give and those things need to be planned now. I know I'll give a few soap and face cloth sets so I might have to make another batch of soap soon so it's dry and cured before I wrap it. Face cloth yarn will be added to my knitting basket so it reminds me there is work to be done.


Daily house work and all sorts of daily, weekly and seasonal tasks have to be done in a life such as ours. The work is there if we're full-time homemakers or if we have two jobs - working outside the home and when we come back again. If we want homemade jams, sauces and soaps we have to make them. If we want fresh vegetables, we have to plant them. If we decide that our gifts will be mainly hand-made, we must schedule times to make those items into our daily activities. 

Creating efficient routines is one of the most important organisational skills we develop in this way of life - there are so many small things to do, so many things to remember. Having a routine the allows you to work to the rhythm of your own home, with one thing flowing from the other, will help you get through your work. I have always relied on memory before but it's not as reliaable as it once was. I think I'll make up a daily calendar on my computer and slot in reminders for bread every morning, soap and laundry liquid every three months, gift making sessions before birthdays and Christmas, planting sessions during our growing season - March to November, and reminders to preserve summer and winter jams, relish and sauces. 

How do you organise yourself for daily, monthly and seasonal chores?

30 comments:

  1. This is what I have been thinking the past few weeks as the weather is cooler..my routine got turned around and is not working like previous..somethings are not getting done..and it's frustrating..time to return to the routine that worked..like you stated using a online calender for daily reminders for those things that need started but may not be a daily or weekly .....~~"peace" of mind~~

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  2. Hi Rhonda,
    I agree that organisation is the key. I too need to make some better planning lists. I also work outside the home so need to be extra organized to utilize the precious time I have at home efficiently.
    It has been school holidays for the past week, and whilst I have still worked most days, the kids schedules are completely different to during school time and this has got me out of sync with home routines. Like bread keeps your day to a rhythm I think the school week is what organizes me.
    I have a weekly rythym for baking all our needs and doing regular housework, but it's the less frequent things I need to be better organized for. I seem to run out of all large batch things at the same time (like right now). I am down to my last liter of first batch washing liquid, also need to make jam, pasta sauces, tortillas & more. Maybe I need a monthly or quarterly roster to make the large batch things to a rythym - one per week.
    My mission to hand make all cards and gifts this year is proving a challenge too considering the kids get invited to do many friends birthday parties regurally. It's hard just keeping up with that!
    Sorry for the long post - oops!
    One more question. I made my first batch of your basic white loaf from the book yesterday prepared in bread maker and baked in oven. It turned out ok. I got it out bread maker when bake cycle was about to start. Then put in tin in the hot oven. At what stage of cycle do you take it out of bread maker? Do you let it rise more in tin before baking?
    Thanks.
    Sarah from Jimboomba

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  3. Great post again Rhonda! As someone commented the other day, you're posts are getting better and better.

    My planning is still in the...planning stage, I'm afraid. I've recently stopped part time work to care for my two very small children. Yesterday I completed a daily, weekly and monthly planner which I hope will make a difference as to how I organise my time. And as I gain confidence being in the home I add in a bit more. Yesterday I butterflied a leg of lamb (less than half the price of buying it already done and so easy) and made my very first loaf of bread.

    To be honest, until both of my children are in pre-school, I won't worry too much about planning outside of a very basic routine. I just want to play with my kids while I can!

    Thanks again for a great post,

    Sara

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  4. I agree ,Rhonda. We need our routines. It really is a case of discovering what works well for you and then it all seems to fall into place. For us it is the goats....I find they make me get out of bed because they must be milked by a set time, then it follows that my morning farm jobs follow after that. Then as the day heats up, it is time for inside jobs. I find when we are on holidays, I really miss my little schedule that makes the day flow.

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  5. We used to have a little desktop reminder that reminded us of what we had to do each day/week/month and you could schedule it to pop up when you started up your computer with your "today list". As most of what we do these days revolves around being bums up out in the wilderness that we call home, renovating our garden, its kind of a moot point! Cheers for pointing out the forum. I just joined. Its hard to be two people on their own learning from their mistakes but if there is a community (Aussie) that we can ask it makes it a whole lot easier and we are less likely to make stupid mistakes that will cost us dearly. As proud penniless student hippies we are learning to live simply through necessity. We too have a short growing season here and are just about to launch into building a series of polytunnels to give us maximum production from a small season. I love this blog! I only found it recently and am right there with you on the forgetful stakes :).

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    1. Welcome to the forum, narf7, I'm sure you will find lots of encouragement and perhaps some new ideas to consider
      xx
      coffeee

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    I've been enjoying a week of holidays with no routine at all. That said,there is now a frightening pile of washing mounting in the laundry!
    I have a daily routine which revolves around school and my work. Saturdays are full-on cleaning and washing days.Sundays I often bake, I also do it early on a school morning.
    On school holidays I aim to freeze sauces,muffins etc..for hectic times during the term.
    Seasonally I clean out wardrobes and pass things on,and also clean out the pantry. I've made a list of other seasonal jobs for the fridge so I'm aware of what I'd like to get done.
    I don't follow all of this to the letter,as life just happens sometimes. But at least with a plan there's a chance much of it will get done and the days will go fairly smoothly.
    I have to admit I struggle with the fact that I can't always get things done to the standard I'd like. But as you've so graciously pointed out in the past,life looks different for each of us. So as someone parenting on their own and working, I cannot expect to achieve all that you and Hanno do.
    Madeleine.X

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  7. Routine is such an important part in all our lives. We have created routines and family traditions throughout our lives for both ourselves and our children when they were growing up. Everything has a better chance of running much smoother. I've just organised my Christmas gift making list and planned how and when to make the things I will need come December 25th. I blogged about it last week as it was 100 days until Christmas (Yep that's right!) Must put a cherry tomato in a pot, thanks for the tip Rhonda.

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  8. Routines are a must in this house. I've let things slip over the past couple of months. Slowly, slowly I'm starting to get back into the swing of things.

    I was making bread every other day but recently got my power bill. Even with solar power, that's very expensive bread. I need to find a cheaper way. With summer approaching, I'm not a fan of having the oven on at night.

    Our mulberry tree has been producing lots and lots of fruit. I've been hassling the kids to help me pick it for jamming (and eating straight off the tree). I made one batch of jam which got rave reviews but the kids were reluctant to help out. So we had a little talk about the long term/short term rewards. As much as we are tired from the day, if our only source of jam was from that tree and we'd have to wait until it fruited again before we could make more, would you still want to relax now knowing that it could be another 6-12 months before you have more jam. The kids grumbled but did the job and they did it well. I made the second batch of jam this morning. The birds have found the tree so it looks like we're done for the year. Any stray mulberries will be frozen for the next crop.

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    Replies
    1. I've found that if you pick first thing in the morning you still get some and the birds can have some through the day too!

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  9. It must be the year for being unorganised!! You are so right in saying 'routine' is essential. And what a mess your life gets into when you break that routine. And catching up on jobs that have gone by the wayside is another job in itself!! I have learnt not to let it get to me and to make sure I have some me time in amongst everything else.
    And yes our tomatoes are in and going well at this stage!!

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  10. How do I organize myself?
    Not very well.

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  11. IN my own little way I try. Our life is so topsy turvy. To make things peaceful we work very hard at keeping dad in a routine as it is easier to deal with dementia that way. I work around school start times, respite times and my son's awful roster which sees me collecting around midnight most work nights. Hopefully the young man will get his license soon.

    But it is difficult to stay afloat it really is. For instance we qualify for an assistance program but they will only give me 90 minutes housework a week and the government rules state the rest of the time should be spent with dad. Now dad is not happy when others shower him etc. But if I could have more help with basics I would happy. Because of my work as an RN I can do dad's care easily with no upset or embarrassment. End of whine.

    So anyone who has done this and has suggestions I would welcome them.

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  12. Hi Rhonda,
    Quick question....what is the recipe/routine for your night time bread? I'm thinking that might suit me better than morning bread. Any advice?
    Kelly :)

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    1. Kelly, here is the link: http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/five-minute-bread.html Let me know how you go with it.

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    2. I tried this just after you posted it and my family love it. We don't eat bread for breakfast so after supper I work out if we need bread for tomorrow lunch then get it fermenting overnight and baked after breakfast. Last winter (northern hemisphere) I tried the original NYTimes recipe but I prefer your one - after a few days I didn't need to look at the recipe any more. I have a bread machine for the really hot summer days. Thank you so much for all your good advice.

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  13. and talking of Christmas, please could you list a few gift ideas, sewing projects to make etc... and anything that could be given as a birthday gift too? thanks.

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  14. My routines have revolved around the simple weekly chime of 'Wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday...' that I heard as a child. My mother and grandmother seemed to follow this for the most part also. I have found that using a comforter and no top sheet makes bed-making a breeze. Washing up as I cook and eat and putting away the day's air-dried dishes before going to bed leaves the kitchen ready for the morning. I take the laundry out of the washer and stack it by type of clothing so hanging it is easy: socks, underwear, shirts, pants. I take them off the line and fold them as I go. They are ready to be put away right away (which I do). When I shop, I put away all the food immediately such as emptying the rice into its pantry jar, rotating any cans so the older ones are in front of the new ones. My routines are underscored by a system that makes the chore efficient so it gets totally finished and I don't have to come back to it later. I find it saves me so much time to have habits that allow me to finish the chore I've started so I don't have to live in a half-accomplished house. It is the same now with just hubby and me as it was when my children were growing up. My mother and grandmothers were homemakers and I think I just learned it from them. I seem to have a lot of time on my hands and I believe it's because I keep my home simple with very few belongings so taking care of it is quick and not a drain.

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  15. For me routine is the key to accomplishing all that needs to be done. If I stick with it then it seems the extra's that need to be done such as holiday gifts, canning, planting etc. get worked in, in the afternoon after lunch. I might set out a book, pattern, fabric, knitting needles etc. to remind me when I finish lunch to work on the extras. If I didn't follow my routines then I would be so overwhelmed just trying to catch up I wouldn't have time or the sense of accomplishment that we have when we finish up for the day and know that my time allotment for working on extra things had arrived. That time of the day where I sigh and say to myself ok my daily chores are done what can I do? You have had quite a bit going on with your book travels and poor Hanno's injury. You will get back to your original "normal" soon and it will all fall into place and feel so wonderful. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to blog and encourage and inspire! I appreciate you so very much. Hugs :)

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  16. Rhonda I have always kept lists. Shopping Lists, To-Do Lists and Reminder Lists. My Reminders are on my computer and a written backup on my Planner/Diary.

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  17. Rhona what a lovely post first time i made the time to read your lovely blog and with me packing up to move to a new home i will certainly make more time to help me make a new home nice and i am at home all the time with not many friends so if i learn a good routine as i am trying to grow our own veg and fruit learning the jam making but never tried soap making and not that good with the sewing machine but im sure that will come

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  18. I have made both types of bread, but add a handful of each pepitas, sunflower seeds, linseed flax seed, & some poppy seeds too, both loaves turn out well, & we never waste any -- the 5 min loaf toasts up very well Rhonda, & has many an envious eye @ work. How's Hanno's hand going? Deb m

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  19. Oh, routines are so important! Without one it's too easy to drift from one job to another and overlook something really important during the day. I find most of all, if I don't try to write it down somewhere, it doesn't get done. Same thing for shopping lists! Totally out of routine here with school holidays at the moment, but it's such a joy not to have to rush rush rush for a few days :)

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  20. Oh my gosh! You would ask that question. I need to get into some routine where I can blog and still keep up with the housework and everything else that life throws my way.

    You make soap?? I need to start thinking of doing that. I am trying to be as organic as possible without looking like the odd ball around here.

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  21. Sticking to routines can have very healthy outcomes, as shown by my parents who still live on their own; Dad is 90 and Mom is 89. Their lives are very routine-driven and it keeps them focused and able to continue being independent (with only a weekly visit from me). My mind is always more settled when I am within my schedules. Order is very soothing.

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  22. Hi,i blog in English,but I'm Swedish,so don't be scared to read my blog :)
    We laundry 1/week,we waccumcleam every three day. today I'm. Doing 3 dinners, :)

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  23. I certainly do need a routine with 3 young kids and one of them having Autism, but I struggle to keep it going. Need to sort something out in time.

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  24. Matt recently changed schedules so that now we are both home in the evening (previously I had 4pm-9pm to myself). I am really having a hard time adjusting to the change. While I adore having more time with him (both because he is such good company and because we can work on garden/house projects together which is so nice) it is throwing my routine all out of whack. I am sure I will get it back again, but I miss the steady, reliable flow of my days. Some may think it dull, but I thrive in a routine.

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  25. I love routine, and you're right, once something works for you, just go with it! I have an erase board in the kitchen which is so handy. I divide it into columns; one is a shopping list. Another my menu plan. Another ongoing project, and yet another long-term projects, blog posts, book ideas, etc. It's a simple little system and I love it!

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  26. Is it bad that it takes me months to make a routine? I`m in a new city, new job, new house, new boyfriend but half a year? I feel dull.

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