Sunday, January 2, 2011

Home ec classes

Not long ago, with the blessing of my husband, I started attending a series of Home Ec classes for married women. I thought everyone there would be young brides or mothers of 1-2 children at most, like me, but there are also more experienced mothers, including a lady with 9 children, 3 of them married, and 6 grandchildren. I suppose that when it comes to homemaking, you just never stop learning!

I thought I’d share a few practical homemaking tips we talked about during our last meeting.

* Have nothing in your house you have no place or use for.

* A place for everything and everything in its place – saves a lot of disorder! I try to adhere to this principle as well as I can.

* Availability – place the item near to where you use it, and make access easy (for example – the kitchenware you use the most should be within easy reach).

* If you use don’t use something for a while (winter clothes, Pesach utensils, clothes the children have outgrown), put it away in a labeled box, and preferably keep a notebook where you write down the places of all items you have stored away.

* Food: use up the old before using new (the FIFO rule – First In, First Out)!

*  If you buy new clothes, bedding, towels, etc, and after a while realize you never use the old ones anymore, give them away or use them up in a creative project – save closet space.

* File all your paperwork in a logical and easy accessible way (for me, a few large ring binders do the trick).

* Abundance does not mean endless purchases you have nowhere to store.

* A simple life doesn’t mean a poor life, but simplifying your daily routines and tasks. In many cases this means less things, less gadgets, less fads (and I’d like to add: less activities you can’t spare the time for, less relationships which you feel are draining you at the expense of your family).

Hope to share more tips from class next time!         


Rose said...

What good solid tips Anna, thanks for sharing. You're right, no matter what our age we can all learn. said...

>> * Have nothing in your house you have no place or use for.

I am by no means a pack rat, but often I need something now that I know I got rid of months or years earlier, and I hate that I have to spend money re-purchasing it. Instead, I keep things I might need in a utility box, but limit it to just one box. Otherwise, if it's valuable but I don't need it or see a need for it, I sell it online! :-D


SubWife said...

I find that it's not knowing how to keep order in the house that's the problem. It's actually following what you know on a daily basis :)

Anonymous said...

As a take on the notebook idea, one of my friends (who is an engineer) uses a color-coded system of storage.

For example, red bins are for holiday decorations, white bins for boy clothes, green bins for girl clothes, etc. Each bin is numbered and then on her computer she has a spreadsheet of contents. So, if she's looking for 6 mo girl clothes she can go to her spreadsheet and find that it's in green bin #5. By putting it on her computer she always knows where her list is.

The other thing she did is create a database of recipes, a list of what is in each aisle of the grocery store and so when she menu plans she can create a grocery list that is in order of where it is in the store. With five kids it helps get her in and out of the store quickly AND she doesn't come home missing ingredients she needs for dinner.

Ann S M said...

great advice, I'd love to hear more tips, also love to find a class like that for myself (mother of 2, married 6 yrs).

Lady Anne said...

Following the death of my sister and the many, mant decisions about "do we keep it, or do we toss it" I've been going through my things, sorting and tossing. Good mental exercise. (Which is about the only sort I get!)

My biggest problem is clutter, which seems to be a family failing. Two rules I find helpful: "Don't put it down; put it away." and "Little, little - often, often."

Analytical Adam said...

Interesting. I do think regardless a person should not be too focused on oneself at the expense of others and I don't if that is really good for children. Since you mentioned that the number of children some had it is interesting that I was looking the children of the Van Trapp family of the sound of music who had 10 children and what became of those 10 children. Wikiepedia give you the info.

Of those 10 children begot 28 Grandchildren. However, very unevenly distributed 4 had either 6 or 7 children 1 had 2 children and the other 5 had 0 children which you end up overall average of 2.8 children per family member. I only mention this because it is amazing that even back the early 1900's this was half the family had 0 children and some focus on those that have many children and ignore the fact that too many are not having any children at all. Sadly today when you have some who only want 3 or 4 kids and you mix in zero's with that you end up with a negative overall birth rate. Although this distribution is not healthy at all. Yes, some will have more then others but it should look like a bell curve not most people with either many or none as the case with the Van Trapp children. The 2 oldest who had no children are still alive at 97 and 96.

Lori said...

Cool! Thanks for these! I'm looking forward to seeing what else you learn!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Its wonderful that you have the chance to take classes on homemaking. I grew up (I'm now 60 and wonder where the time went) learning homemaking skills from my Mom which I passed on to my daughters. But I know that many women, not only younger women, but those in my age group, never really learned the needed skills. And I find I am never too old to learn new skills that may my home run smoother. You final suggestion of not over loading on outside activity's is something I am guilty of and plan to cut back on in the coming months to give me more time to enjoy being home.

Kate said...

That's fantastic Anna!! (BTW... I just may of realized why I picked Anna for a future girls name... you are so sweet!)

I LOVE the first tip you gave, that's what I'm doing now that we have moved and I realized how much STUFF (USELESS STUFF!) we had! I am donating a lot.

Secondly... ohhh FIFO!! Love him! During my Dietetic internship I made signs for the kitchen staff with a dog named "Fifo" who stood as a friendly reminder! :)

Anonymous said...

Great tips! My husband and I are in the process of implementing a lot of these right now...cutting a lot of unnecessary things out of our lives to help us simplify and feel more peaceful and productive.

One other thing we've done that is very helpful is that we keep a paper bag in our office area, in which we keep things that we have found around the house that we don't really use or need. When we have filled 2-3 such bags, we take a trip to our local thrift store and drop them off. It helps us stay organized, and it helps others buy things that they MAY have a use for at a very inexpensive price.

Fiona said...

This is a fabulous list of tips. Thank you and I look forward to further gems in the future!

Jo said...

Mrs A, I wrote an article on my blog about the amount of housework a teenage girl does in Australia - according to recent research Australia teenage girls are becoming "domestically useless" which raises the question: what happens when these teenagers grow up, leave home and start their own families

Mrs. Clara C said...


Thank you for sharing these tips! I have already begun sorting through closets and drawers to cull seldom used items. :)

Kimberly said...

I love the first tip. Thanks!