Moving the kitchen

18 November 2007
This is what came from kitchen cupboards, there is more on the floor.

The day has arrived. Today we'll finish clearing out the kitchen in preparation for the renovation tomorrow and Tuesday. We worked on it steadily yesterday, packing things in boxes, putting aside unwanted items, throwing out unrecognisable pieces of plastic and cleaning out cupboards. This is the ultimate deep clean. The dishwasher is on the back verandah, today we'll move the fridge into the lounge room, table and chairs will go to the bedroom, the dresser has to be unpacked and moved and the stove and oven cleaned. Both the stove and oven will be replaced along with a new cupboard under the sink, benchtop and sink. We're having a new floor installed too, just in the kitchen/dining area, but to put the new floor down, the kitchen cupboards need to come out. I am so pleased I'll be out of the house at work both days the workmen will be here. Hanno will be here to supervise and will happily work alongside the men doing whatever he can and, no doubt, making cups of coffee. That reminds me. I'll have to make a comfortable area for the workers to have their lunch, and I'll see if I can find an ash tray.

I finished the hand stitching on my new curtains yesterday and hope to make them up today on the sewing machine. They'll be simple little curtains, hemmed top and bottom and attached using silver clips from Ikea. It shouldn't take me long to hem them and they'll be ready to hang when the kitchen is finished.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to post over the coming days. The workmen will arrive at 7am so before then I'll need to have had my shower, breakfast and be dressed ready for work. I'll just say I'll post when I can. I have access to the internet at work but I'm usually so busy when I'm there, I might just have the time to check comments.

In the meantime, I'd like to ask you all to do something for me. If this works, it will also provide some very interesting reading for everyone and it will give me some feedback. I often read that blog readers have been inspired by something I've done, or said, and by my life in general. I also get quite a few emails every week telling me this. I wonder if that inspiration has enabled you to change things in your own life, and if so, what changes have you made. Please make a comment and tell us of your changes, no matter how small they may seem to you, or how large. I am often inspired towards change by things I read and I would love to know who has been inspired enough to change, and by what. Thank you. : )


  1. "we should avoid thinking that time spent on our homes is wasted time, or that our goal should always be to reduce the time and effort we spend on them."

    This quote from your 22nd July post 'Home Comforts' really hit home. I have never enjoyed housework (in fact if you read my profile you'll see what I mean LOL!) but it started me thinking about the simple pleasures of looking after my home and creating a homely environment for my family.

    I still don't think 'Great I've got a pile of ironing to do' but I approach it with a completely different attitude now :)

    Hope your kitchen is finished soon.

  2. Hope the renovations goes well for you. The changes I've made: I'm well on the way to making and using a workable budget. Any my whole attitude to doing housework has changed, thanks to you. I have big plans but this is still very new to me so getting the financial side and getting the house clean and organised are my top priorities. Thanks Rhonda.

  3. Rhonda Jean,

    In a recent post you made the comment that housework never ends. How true! I have three children and two dogs:) I am always trying to "get everything done" and of course falling short. Thinking of housework as a work in progress puts it in a new light. Thank you. Also, I found myself putting a plate on top of the salad bowl as a lid before I put it away as I was out of clean containers. One small thing that I learned from you. Thanks! Margaret

  4. I am inspired by our similarities! I guess it gives me permission to keep on doing as I am. If you are doing it, and you do seem a sensible sort, then I can't be so crazy, doing the things I do (or don't do)!

    But also I think you are inspiring to upgrade my life. It's time to up the comfort level a little!

  5. RJ..where to begin. I've really taken on the garden this year for growing as much food as possible. I've begun actively making simple Christmas presents. I've begun a grocery stockpile, a grocery price book, a budget & am being more mindful of all household expenses. I am menu planning each week which helps the shopping, the budget and avoids food wastage. I am making my own cleaning products & washing powder. I am making about half of our weekly bread loaves, and many of the treats we used to buy like cordial and biscuits. I am sewing again, using fabrics I already have, or found at thrift stores. I am using a home organisation folder. I am cleaning our home mindfully...not resentfully. I am enjoying my chosen life so much more because of all of these things. You illustrate through this diary that living simply doesn't mean living without comforts. In fact, quite the opposite...just not the paid comforts we become used to in our empty modern lives. Lisa J

  6. As far as changes in our home...when I used to shop for groceries I would always use the debit card. Now I use cash, each time I spend my money having to count it out makes me mindful of the amount I am spending and that I no longer have it.

    I used to go to the store thinking that if the budget was $125 for the week, then I better make sure I spend it all. My thinking was that my husband would reduce the amount he gave me if I didn't spend it all, smart man, just took me a bit longer to figure out that I could save the money instead. So now I like the challenge of grocery shopping on strict cash budget.

    We have started a change jar with left over grocery money. It is growing quickly. We keep it shut away in a cupboard.

    I stopped using paper towels and have started knitting dishcloths. I just couldn't stand the idea of wasting $6.00 a week on something I was going to through away. For $6.00 I could buy plenty of cotton and knit towels that will be reused for months instead of once.

    Thanks for the wisdom you share.

    Hope the kitchen work goes smoothly this week.

  7. from when I first joined ALS earlier this year, yours was the first blog I ever read and is still the first blg I read each morning :)

    The first thing to inspire me was the price book post earlier on in your blog and that also prompted me to begin stockpiling again (I used to years ago)

  8. Dear Rhond J:

    I wake up with a different attitude towards my life that I never had before. Simplicity was a word I never understood as well until I began to make changes. I look at my life and see how wonderful it is. In fact, before I began to read your blog, I was a bit discouraged because I was making all these changes, and I had found no-one that understood or shared my same interests. It was a bit of a downfall - but then I came across your blog, and I felt such a connection to your words. I find such pleasure in my house! You wrote awhile back, how you love your home, taking care of it, making it comfortable for your husband and for everyone that came to visit. This is exactly how I feel - my home is my sanctuary. It is where my family feels safe and comfortable. Thank you for encouraging so many of us to go back to homemaking with a joyful outlook!

    ps: I can't wait to see your new kitchen :)

    Blessings dear Rhonda!

    Maria S.

  9. Rhonda, your blog is normally the first thing I read each day when I turn on my computer. You have inspired me to try new things (Like making cordial) as well as reinforcing and putting a name to the sort of lifestyle I want to lead. Making the small steps each day/week and changing things slowly so one day i will truly be living a simple life. You remind me of a lot of my aunties who are no longer around, but I can remember them doing a lot of the things you do. Thank you for being such a gentle and encouraging teacher.
    Good luck with your new kitchen, can't wait to see it!

  10. Your post on "learning to say no" is one that really hit me deeply and was a lesson I needed to learn, oh so bad. I realised I just couldn't say no without being overwhelmed with guilt. When I was able to say no, only just recently, I was over-whelmed with a sense of liberation. In general though, like Wildside's comments, your diary has validated my own desire to live deliberately and most of all, "to do it my way". Bella

  11. Inspired by you and others who joined your dishcloth swap, I picked up a pair of knitting needles and attempted to knit a dishcloth. I think I have now knitted 5 or more and can't believe how soothing it is. I'm also now in the process of knitting a barbie doll evening gown for my DD for Christmas!!!! That I thought I'd NEVER do. :) I am a bit disappointed now that I didn't have the courage to enter into the swap you had and still haven't had the courage with the other swaps you've done - but one day....

    I also have my vegie garden going. At first all I successfully grew was lettuce but I kept reading what you were doing and seeing your photo's and really wanted to be succesful at this. So I've kept trying. I know you don't have time to regularly visit everyone's blog who reads yours but this is where you can see the latest pictures of my garden

    I feel like a little kid that wants to show her mum what she did at school today. LOL. So, if you have time for a quick look it would mean a lot to me. :)

    Probably one of the most significant things for me though is just coming here and drawing on the feeling of serenity I get just from being here. You've chosen very wisely the colours for your blog. And just seeing photo's of your home and hearing what your day is like, it just spurs me on to keep taking those baby steps toward the lifestyle I'd like to have. I will admit though - I do LOVE your new photo in the red but it is a little less soothing than the one you had in the purply colours. :)

    Oh, and I liked your suggestions about making some kind of journal that describes what I'd like my simple life to look like. I haven't gotten very far but I did start writing a list. I'm finding that idea is helping me to be patient. It's not easy to accomplish a simple life with 3 young children and a DH who is a farmer (so works ridiculous hours). But we are working towards a simpler farming lifestyle (in similar ways - by reducing debt etc so he doesn't need to work as many acres) as well as a simpler home lifestyle. I just need to get a handle on NOT BUYING more STUFF. :)

    Thank you and bless you.

  12. I believe small changes can turn into a lifetime of habits that can impact others far, I've begun to recycle my plastics, newspaper, & other recycleables, collecting them in a box next to my trash can. I've already emptied it at the recycle center twice!
    Also, I make my bed everyday after I get up so I'm not tempted to crawl back in after fixing my husband breakfast every 5am!!! *smile* This habit has gotten my day started earlier and consequently I utilize my energy to get more done AND get to bed earlier too. Did you know the more sleep you get before midnight allows you to sleep less hours!
    Cheers! ~Christie

  13. Your words of wisdom are a huge inspiration to me. One thing that has been sticking in my head lately is from your 50 Simple Things ~ #1 Stop spending on wants. Now when I shop, that question is nagging in the back of my mind~'do I really NEED this, or do I WANT this?' ...and that helps me stick to my budget.

    Hope the kitchen renovation goes smoothly for you. Thanks for stopping by Rhonda :)
    Take care,


  14. I am selling my home and moving to an area where I can have a simpler lifestyle. We are reducing our home's square footage by about 1000 square feet, thus will have less utilities to pay. How's that one for change! LOL!

    I'm hanging "out" clothes to dry (inside, because it is not allowed in our neighborhood).

    I'm not using nearly as many paper products.

    I've been running a list of leftovers on the door of my refrigerator so we will waste less.

    I'm stockpiling seeds for our new garden.

    I am asking myself "Do I really need this? Will I really use this?" before I buy ~ and remember you almost every time.

    I have started needlework as gifts this Christmas versus some $pendy, last minute, meaningless gifts.

    I wish I could have been part of the apron swap. Husband was out of town for most of the month, so time was not available! Maybe next time.

    We thank you for your inspiration. Our lives are so much better for finding your blog and listening to your wisdom :o) Thank you, thank you!

  15. I now look at every purchase I make and try to see if I can do without or do with usedor op shop. I look at my food purchases and try to keep it simple and fresh. I thought I was the only one who didn't want to keep up with the Joneses, but after I found your blog I happily discovered I was not alone and that there are many of us out there! Your blog has encouraged me to look for the simple pleasures in life and to enjoy every day without rushing around. Thank-you so much for your blog-I learn so much every day!! Sharon

  16. I have always lived a simple life and practiced many of the things you do. We have lived in the same house for 16 years in which we raised our children in. A couple of years ago my Son passed away in a accident. I became very depressed and lost all interest in life. While my son was alive we had bought 3 acres out in the country and my son had visited it with us and he new of my goal to move out to the country and become even more self sufficient. A year ago we started developing the property to move onto. I was looking for Homesteading sites for inspiration and wisdom and found your site. I found you to be like an old friend who lived and raised her children as I did and your daily blogs gave me comfort, inspiration, wisdom and the purpose driven life I once had back. I even started looking at fabric again for sewing. Thank you for being all that you have been. I know my Mike is watching and thankful his Mom is back to living again. Bless you,

  17. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I read your blog daily and enjoy all your insights. We have always tried to be simple in our lifestyle more from necessity than choice...raising 6 kids with limited money. Our choice was to be with them as much as possible making money making a second priority. Now we are at retirement age and I am ready to give up my part time job, mostly for health reasons. Your blog has given me ideas I can run with. Thanks.

  18. Oh Rhonda, the comments are so wonderful and inspiring! I feel much like Wildside does, I am inspired by our similarities. I glean so much from the posts which address our hearts and attitudes towards why we do what we do.

    And if I could just say to Barbara, whose comments made tears well up, Good for YOU!!!

    Blessings to you all

  19. Rhonda Jean, you have inspired me to start knitting again! I hadn't done it for many years (the first baby sweater and booties, a sweater and hat for my husband). This time, I began with washcloths (in a pretty, lacey pattern), just to see if I remembered how! You have helped me to re-discover the special joy that comes with making, with my own hands, something useful and pretty. Thanks for the writings, the lovely photos, and the ideas you share! Desert Lady

  20. Hoping that all goes according to schedule and with as few disruptions as possible...
    Have a wonderful and blessed week

  21. I think the thing that has had the most impact on me was changing the way I spend money.
    I budget carefully and I only go to the bank once a month and take out the cash I need for the month. If the cash runs out before the month does then I have to get creative. But I have found the opposite and always have some money left over each month. Doing this has saved me at least $400 per month, if not more.
    The other thing that has helped alot is writing down a list of what I want to get done each day. I really struggle with having routines because I work weird and crazy shifts, and they are different each week! So now when I get my roster I write down when I am working and when I will need to sleep and plan a schedule that fits in around that. I am amazed at how much more I manage to get done and have stopped feeling guilty about sometimes having to sleep most of the day away.
    Your blog is a constant inspiration, even though I still feel I have such a long way to go I am no longer overwhelmed by the journey.

  22. Good luck with the kitchen reno's Rhonda, hope it all goes smoothly and to plan.

    As for what you have taught me, hmmm that is hard there are so many things that I've learned and changed about my life because of you. Probably the biggest for me is the way that I think about what I do at home each day. How I now see it as a blessing for my family rather than a chore (well most things, there are still some that are a chore). Also that you've reinforced in me that it's ok to be a stay at home mum and I don't have to be perfect nor do I have to get it all done today.

    cheers Lenny

  23. Like the others your blog is the first one that I read of a morning. I love your words of wisdom and very slowly I am starting to make changes. The biggest one so far is being mindful when spending, I ask the questions do I really need this and will it make our lives better. The other thing I have tried to do is make a menu each week, sometimes I am good and manage it. I love it when I do as life becomes so much easier. I have started gardening again but not food as yet.
    So thank you, I feel each morning as I read your blog that you are a friend, an inspiring friend.
    Love Sandra

  24. Hi Rhonda, Since discovering your blog a while ago I have told lots of friends and family about it. I am using your washing powder recipe and so are others that I have told. I don't use my dishwasher(over the last week I confess to using it a couple of nights but we did have 15 or so people staying) hand washing is actually quite theraputic. I feel more peaceful in myself after reading your daily blog. We have always grown some vegies and of course we have lots of fruit trees. Rainwater tanks are full at the moment so vegies are being watered from that. We collect water from the shower in a bucket. Our garden is organic,we use green bags for shopping and recycle as much as possible. We have changed over to the newer type globes. So all in all we are improving our lives and not worrying about having the latest electrical gadget. Plus we hardly ever used the dryer so that was put in the shed and we purchased a drying rack to hang clothes on next winter. Thanks for an inspirational blog. Cheers have a good day. from Bev C

  25. "Stop multi-tasking, stop living on auto-pilot. When you decide to spend your time doing something - be mindful of what you are doing. Concentrate on your tasks, think about them, make sure they matter and do them well."
    "Be mindful of what you're doing, do one thing at a time and listen to the sounds of your home."

    Dear Rhonda
    I try to remember these quotes of yours whenever I start a task.For years I've rushed through one chore so I could quickly get the next one done and think about the one after that..etc.. etc, I'm now learning to slow down & focus on one thing at a time and enjoy it, and not feel I have to finish everything in one day.

  26. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    Here is a list of things that I've changed in my life since first reading your blog.

    - I've started to stockpile.
    - I keep recycled jars, bottles etc and reuse them.
    - I make all of our cleaners and laundry soap homemade
    - I no longer use any chemicals in the house.
    - I have made homemade fabric softener sheets with environmentally friendly fabric softener soaked on a cloth and then dried.
    - I no longer shop every evening on my way home for dinner
    - I have a meal plan
    - I am growing some vegetables inside this winter
    - I am thinking before buying (whether I really need something or is it just a want)
    - I am making most of my Christmas Gifts (I've sewn 17 pillows for my nieces, embroidered a couple of pillows and embroidering days of the week tea towels).
    - I wear still clean outer clothes more than once before laundering.
    - I am making our bread homemade - from your recipe which DH loves.
    - I have crocheted dishclothes
    - I have crocheted bags for groceries.
    - I have got netting to make produce bags, I have got cotton to make tea towels.

    And the list is still growing of what I have learned from you. Thank you for your posts and inspiration.


  27. Rhonda, I wish you much success with the renovations!!

  28. What has influenced me most is your indelible kindness. Secondly, it's comforting that someone half way around the world has made so many of the same life choices. Thirdly, your "how to" posts: while I haven't yet made my own soap or apron or quilt, your posts about how to make them are definitely getting under my skin and burrowing deeper into my thoughts!

    There are so many things to do in order to simplify (somewhat of an oxymoron, isn't it), and I'm taking one step at a time. It's nice to take a peek into someone's life who is further along that path.

  29. HI Rhonda Jean!
    Hmmmm...I hope I can think of all the things you've helped me think differently about and start changing them..
    I have been adding to my stockpile cupboard more.
    I've knitted quite a few dishcloths and started using fewer paper towels. Oh, and I made quite a few cloth napkins too! (I hope to get my family to use them more!)
    I now have enough cloth grocery bags to do our once-a-month-shopping trip. (family of 8) Made of course, from fabric and items I already had here at home.
    I have been cleaning out shelves and cupboards, and gotten rid of so much "mind" clutter at the same time.
    I cook from scratch much more.
    We have a change jar we add to daily and weekly, and it's adding up!
    I also now see the need for an apron! I plan on making some as soon as I find the time!
    We are also doing more recycling!
    Thanks so much for your wisdom, and good luck on your kitchen!

  30. I have started on my Christmas gifts and am trying to have them all homemade by myself or others (eg from markets to support local industry) I have also started trying to budget and record what I am spending money, but am not so good at remembering to write it all down.

  31. I started living simply, I think, out of necessity when my kids were little; back in the days when the Tightwad Gazette was still around and I watched as Amy Dacyczyn, once she had achieved all she set out to do, went from merely saving money to writing about being a "tightwad" to save precious resources. I was always labeled an "odd bird" by everyone around me.
    Now I think there is a definite movement toward sustainability and simple living and, Rhonda, intelligent, informative sites such as yours really lend that same credibility toward a lifestyle and mindset that run contrary to the mainstream. I've always felt on a personal level that we should be more connected with the practice of day-to-day living and survival and that the more disconnected you are, the more likely your are to lose yourself psychically. But you've really stressed the environmental aspect of simple living and made me think and rethink more ways to do things.

  32. I am so proud of all of you - every single one of you. These echos to my writing are what make me continue with it. It makes me grateful and glad that we are all banding together, all over the world, and making our own changes. Every day. what we all do does make a difference.

    I send special hugs out to Barbara. I'm sure Mike is watching you. You know, Hanno had two children in his first marriage who died of unrelated causes, so although I have never felt the deep and profound pain of losing a child, I live with it every day through Hanno. With are both thinking of you, Barbara. Please keep in touch and let me know how the work on your three acres goes.

  33. Congratulations on your new kitchen. How exciting. Thank you for the apron exchange I received mine today what a joy!

    The thing that we have done recently is to put a high priority on the rest of our children and ourselves. We are doing our best to reduce the usage of lights in the home 2 hours before bedtime we dim the house to set the bodies clock to rest and ready ourselves for sleep. The children learn better and we all function so much better. We listened to a pod cast on a recent study of the importance of sleep and realize that it is our responsibility to care for our bodies and see the life benefits it has provided all of us.


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