Do you spend a part of your morning picking up washing from different parts of the house? How close to the laundry basket does the dirty washing get?
Last year I introduced small washing baskets into each bedroom, as well as the ones already in the bathrooms and for the most part the dirty clothes make it in. I must admit the favourite spot for most of the dirty clothes is next to the washing basket.
The other small change I implemented is different colour baskets to help me sort all the washing at once. I bought these mesh baskets; they are easily folded away and stored in a cupboard between use. They were cheap and I bought 2 a month until I had the colours I wanted.
I then created a schedule. I only have one child in uniform, so as you can imagine we have a lot of laundry each day. If you have nursery school children or younger, you will also have a fortune of washing to do.
I created a schedule for the washing to be done, this mostly ensures that the most important clothing items are washed first. This helps especially when it rains for days.
I have 4 children plus my husband and myself, with a smallish washing machine. Unfortunately my beautiful large Speed Queen died after 25 years of dedicated service and because of its age there are no longer spare parts. I have a really good machine now but it is small and we do around 3 loads of washing per day.
Here is my schedule:
Monday – whites/lights, blacks and hand washing
Tuesday – blue/ greens, brown and reds/orange
Wednesday- Linen ( there are 5 beds, this takes the whole day)
Thursday – Towels and table cloths.
For the most part this schedule works well. Obviously there are colours and patterned clothing that you have to decide where they fit in,
I have an ironing lady who comes 1 full day and 1 ½ day each week, I do my first load of laundry at around 6 am, all three loads are then done by 8 when I need to leave for work.
Put it away
I have spoken to a few ladies who do not have help and one of their main issues is not getting the clean laundry to where it belongs. This is another system that you need to then put into place. How to get the clean clothes back where they belong? Depending on the age of your children you can possibly get them to put their own stuff into their cupboards.
This would only work well with some of my family members, my husband, my eldest daughter, who is an organiser by nature, and my youngest and my son, who would get it to the cupboard but not sort it. My middle child has server ADHD and depending on what happens between where she collects the washing and her bedroom will dictate where the washing ends up. If it makes it to her bedroom she will also get it into the cupboard but not sorted.
Getting it fixed
Another aspect of laundry is repair. Lost buttons, torn pockets and seams. Create a small repair kit to help with mending or a space to put the clothes into so that they can be taken to be repaired.
Another handy tip I learned is to have a singles basket. This is for the socks that have lost their partners, every few months go through the basket and see if you can find matches.
Your laundry room
Where do you do your laundry? Do you have a laundry room or do you have laundry equipment in the kitchen? Wherever it is, it needs to be organised.
How often does your washing machine get cleaned? Are your washing detergents organised?
Do you have old expired bleach? Believe it or not, bleach expires and quite quickly too.
The laundry areas can get untidy very quickly, as your washing machine and tumble dryer, if you have one are flat surfaces, and flat surfaces attract clutter.
What do you do with stray socks? How about the small change in people’s pockets?
Look at the area around your machines, is everything there specific to washing clothes and linen or do you have a collection of odds and ends.
An idea for those of us who have very little or no designated laundry space, are baskets where you can put similar items into. A basket to hold all your softeners and bleaches and another for a small sewing kit for repairs.
How can you have clean clothes and linen if the area is in chaos?
Does it belong?
The first aspect to laundry is getting the area sorted. Get rid of anything that isn’t to do with laundry. Clean out the space, whether it is a cupboard or a room. Empty old and expired laundry supplies and throw the containers away or recycle them, find new ways to neatly store everything.
Once your clothing is washed, it often needs ironing. Make sure your iron and ironing board are both in good condition.
Are you able to dry laundry on a rainy day without your tumble dryer? If you have the space, maybe consider putting up a retractable washing line on the wall. This may be especially important if you have small babies or you live in an apartment building where the washing lines are often on the roof.
It is also a good idea to have a small basket to collect your stray socks. That way you may periodically be able to find the matching sock.
Collecting the lost and found
I read an article a while ago where a lady had a small jar in her laundry room and any money found in pockets went into the jar. I also think another idea would be a catch all basket, anything found in pockets would go into this, e.g. pens, ticket stubs or parking stubs etc.
Do you have any idea on how to remove stains? What to use for what type of stain. A good idea might be to create a stain removal kit to keep with your laundry detergents.
Do you have a laundry room? How old was your oldest item in the laundry room?
Your fridge and freezer are one of the most used items in your kitchen, except for the sink, stove and ovens. We do not deep clean these often enough.
In a program I once watched, a cleaning team went into a home that had a vegetarian and two meat eaters sharing the space. They dyed a piece of meat with ultraviolet dye and then asked everyone to prepare their meals. The contamination of all the food was quite surprising, even with washing utensils after each use. Is your kitchen actually clean?
How often do you clean the back of the fridge/freezer door handles? Cleaning the inside of the fridge should be a regular task in your households cleaning routine.
If you have a self-defrosting freezer you need to schedule a good clean out of that as well. For those of us who have to periodically defrost the freezer, it is the perfect time to deep clean the shelves.
Month end shopping
I planned this task to coincide with when most people will be doing a big shop. Pay day has just been and we are all about to replenish the food in our kitchens. If you are putting this task onto a regular cleaning schedule, the best time to do this is right before the grocery run. You will then have a nice clean fridge and freezer in which to put all your new shopping.
How cluttered is the outside of your fridge? It is time to make room for the new paintings and drawings the children bring home from school. When the children were younger, any birthday invitations we received went onto the fridge door, sometimes sitting there for weeks after the event.
To get a good deep clean and to get rid of any odours that may linger after the food is gone, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, make this into a paste and spread it with a cloth onto the surfaces and use a toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge/freezer.
Leave it for about 5 minutes and then using warm water wash it off.
For stubborn marks and odours, spray vinegar and then wash with the warm soapy water. Pay special attention to meat spills.
Repacking your fridge
When repacking your fridge, it is important that certain items be placed on specific shelves. Items that need defrosting should be placed on the bottom shelf in a bowl, or on a tray, to prevent the inevitable spillage from cross contaminating the rest of your food.
A rule of thumb is, cooked and ready to eat items top and middle shelves, food needing to be cooked, middle and bottom shelves.
Your fridge door is best used for items with a longer shelf life.
Don’t over fill your fridge as this can cause items to freeze and uses more electricity. Don’t overload the fridge door with heavy items as this can cause breakage.
How to pack your fridge
For more information check out the list I saved on Pinterest for how to pack your fridge https://za.pinterest.com/pin/6051780730348903/ or go to http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/refrigerator-storage-chart.html.
Packing your freezer is just as important as packing your fridge properly. You actually want to have this packed full, as the freezer works better with more food inside.
Pack like items together and also size and shape to make stacking easier. Label and date all frozen food.
Happy cleaning! Let us see those before and after photo’s please.
Some women have a weakness for shoes. I have a weakness for cookery books, so in answer to the question, most definitely YES they are taking over.
In all honesty, I maybe use half of them over and over, when I use a recipe that is. Even when I look up the recipe in the book, I have to substitute and change things for various reasons.
I still love the inspiration found in my books and I can see how my cooking has evolved over the years.
2016 Clear out
Last year, I cleared out over 20 books, this year I will have to clear out more. Just because I have a lot of cookery books hasn’t stopped me getting more.
Some books I have been given and are over 50 years old, it is interesting to also see how the trends in cooking have changed.
Then there are the recipes that I have taken off the internet and more recently my new favourite cook book, Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course which I was given as gift.
Sorting it all out
Last year I tried sorting out the recipes that I had taken from various magazines and the newspaper but I really am not that good at keeping it up, I think it lasted a whole month. A new solution to this may be a concertina file, where I can just slide the recipe in under its correct category.
My mother has a book in which she has written her favourite recipes to pass down, this way family traditions will also not be lost.
This week we are looking at sorting out the cook book and recipe situation in our homes.
What has been a solution in terms of space in my kitchen, is that the books I use more frequently are kept in the kitchen, the rest have been moved to the bookshelf in the lounge. I can still get to them, they are just no longer taking up valuable kitchen space.
Do you need them or do you want them?
Look at your collection and have heart to heart with yourself, be honest, how many do you really use?
Do we have coupons?
Couponing is big business in the USA, reality shows abound on this topic. Here in South Africa though, we don’t really have coupons.
Years ago we got coupons in our subscription magazines and the weekly local papers. Those days are gone.
Except for PnP VIP vouchers for senior citizens (only available for use in Hypermarkets) most South African coupons are in the form of an app or a loyalty card and they can save you a lot of money when used correctly.
Do you know what is out there? Are you using it effectively?
The first one under the spot light is:
PnP Smart Shopper card.
If you don’t have one, I suggest getting it. Whether or not you like PicknPay the card is worth it. You earn points which can be converted to cash, there are discounts and often in their brand match campaign, when you swipe your card, at the end of the till slip either has the message ‘you saved …. on this purchase or ‘get R… off of your next shopping”. I got a slip once that said I had R84.50 off of my next shop.
Often they will have items for sale where you earn extra points when you swipe your card.
You get vouchers when you swipe your card at different times if the year, these are specific to your spending habits. You get extra points to use during your birthday month.
Earn points and to use for shopping or even travel. I like to accumulate my points for a year and then use them for my grocery shop, I often land up only having to pay half my bill and sometimes even less. The points expire after a year.
A big plus for me is the Fresh living magazine which you get free with your first purchase of the month, if you have a smart shopper card. I have found and made some amazing recipes in the magazine.
The Woolworths store card which you can only use at a Woolworths store also gives great discounts, however, it works like a credit card and you are charged interest on your balance.
In the instance of the Woolworths credit card these each have different quarterly discounts depending on the colour of your card, you also get a % back for using the card at other stores. You also get a voucher for a free “Taste” magazine (on the black card). These are credit cards and can be used anywhere.
Spar has two options, a loyalty card, which can only be used at the Spar that issued the card and the Spar rewards program, which you need to sign up for on your pc and gives you rewards just for signing up, plus vouchers that you can use at participating stores, you also link your loyalty card to the rewards program and earn more points. Then download the app to your smartphone. You will receive your vouchers on your smartphone; you type the voucher number into the keypad at the till to redeem your rewards.
The Checkers Eezee coupons app for your smart phone allows you to ‘book’ your specials and when you get to the till you type in the voucher number that the app generates and it will give you your discounts. I have once been able to buy a product with the app and combined it with another coupon app and landed up pay R5 instead of R65 for my item.
Clicks Club Card and Dischem
While neither of these are grocery stores, a lot of us do our shopping for toiletries at these stores. Their loyalty cards do offer great savings and bonuses.
When using banks cards together with loyalty cards you once again increase your savings.
The Unilever deals site is accessed from your computer. They have very good discount “coupons”, either two for one or often between 25%-50% off. I once spent R5 on Omo washing powder as it was on special at the store, plus I had the Unilever code.
An app that allows you to ‘book’ specials on your phone. Once you are done shopping, you upload a picture if your full till slip, then gives you money back in their virtual wallet that you can use at one of many partner stores.
I am sure there are some that I have missed.
How are you using apps and loyalty cards to save you money? Did you even know we had so many?
Last year I took my first foray into recycling. I wasn’t able to find out much, but what I did find was useful. Recycle or trash?
Recycling in Johannesburg
Since then I have found out a lot more. Johannesburg streets often ring with the sound of wheels rattling past our houses in the early hours of the morning.
The sound is the trolleys used by the plastic collectors that are rummaging through our bins for plastic that they can take to the recycling plant to earn a little cash. I recently learnt that if they take any plastic that cannot be recycled; they have to pay the recycling people to have it removed. This may be why you often find a mess around your garbage bin as they separate what they can earn from and leave the rest behind.
None of these people recycle glass or tin cans.
Paper is also collected by Ronnie Recycling, so that is not a problem in most areas.
You never have to go to the dump again
The trouble with most other recycling is that you have to take it to the dump, or PnP, Woolworths, which have small collection boxes for items like globes and batteries.
Then I found Whole Earth Recycling. They supply you will blue recycling bags in which you can place recyclable products. They collect weekly or bi-monthly in most areas. The fees for my area are extremely reasonable and work on a sliding scale.
As we begin to work through our weekly sorting goals, this service will come in handy. They collect broken appliances big,and small, including computers, cables and old telephones.
Do you know what to recycle?
There is a full list on their website of what you can and can’t recycle.
I have about 30 glass bottles collecting dust as I did not want to put them in my refuse. If they break they can injure the garbage collectors. I have been too lazy to take them to the dump and now I don’t have to.
Please remember when you recycle tin cans, bottles or plastic that contained food, they must be rinsed thoroughly, before you place them in a blue bag.
Let’s get our country clean and help reduce pollution. Join me in my recycling effort either by signing up with a recycling company or taking your recyclable waste to the nearest municipal dump. I have really only researched Johannesburg, if you are in another area, province or country lets us know what you are doing for your recycling.
As I said, I am using Whole Earth Recycling for my collection. Prices work on a sliding scale but the fee is very reasonable. Go to www.wholeearth.co.za to find out what it will cost you.
Whole Earth Recycling
Here is a little about Whole Earth.
Whole Earth Recycling was founded in March 2007 at Cluny Farm. Sorting was done by 4 sorters until 2008. Whole Earth Recycling then moved to Décor Park in 2009 and finally to Strijdom Park where they started their community based project in 2011.
Carmen Rayner purchased Whole Earth Recycling at the end of 2014 and the company hopes to grow from strength to strength. Whole Earth Recycling provides a simple, reliable and hassle-free way to recycle and by supporting Whole Earth Recycling you are supporting a wonderful community based project; a group of sorters calling themselves Hawk Flight.
How did it all begin?
The recyclable material that Whole Earth Recycling collects is sorted by the Hawk Flight team, currently a group of 24 sorters, and they generate an income for themselves by sorting and selling the material to a local buy-back centre. This is their only source of income and without it they would be rummaging through Municipal refuse bins (in most cases mixed with expired food etc.) in order to gather recyclables to sell. By recycling you are contributing towards job creation (a total of around 40 people), directly through the Whole Earth Recycling admin team, the drivers, and the truck assistants (loaders) and indirectly through the community based project, while reducing the impact that we are having on our environment. Every little bit helps.
Their collection service in its basic outline is:
- They provide you with 10 blue recycling refuse bags every month;
- All of your recycling (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, cans, cartons such as Tetra Pak and electronic waste- anything with a plug) can be placed into the same blue bag- Hawk Flight take care of the sorting;
- Place your recycling outside on your kerb every week (different days, for different areas) for collection and they will collect it.
The service costs for a household are as follows:
- Registration fee (once off) R 114.00 AND
- Collection fee of R 85.00 (depending on how many households use the service) per month to be paid in advance as follows:
The cost is around R 85.00 (worked out on a sliding scale) for Feb 2017. Please note that there will be a small price increase of R 10.00 per month (R 2.50 per week) in March 2017 due to the increase in transport costs, blue recycling refuse bags etc. and please note that they haven’t increased their prices in two years.
The bags are included in the collection fee (a limit of 10 blue bags per month are provided. However, you are welcome to purchase extra blue bags from them at R 10.00 per roll of 10 bags or from your local supermarket).
If you would like to make use of a blue 240L blue wheelie bin we can order one for you at R 855.00 each including VAT, delivery and a Whole Earth wheelie bin sticker. Alternatively, if you have a spare wheelie bin you could place a Whole Earth wheelie bin sticker on your existing wheelie bin. The stickers are R 39.90 each including VAT. Please note that they require the contents of the bin to be in bags for collection purposes. It is not necessary to purchase a wheelie bin; our team is quite happy to collect the loose blue bags.
If you would like to make use of their collection services please contact them on (011)791-4537.
Organised Chaos Calendars
Creating a calendar for the family, helps avoid the clashing of schedules. I know in our house we often seem to go for ages with nothing and then 5 events on one day.
How many do you have?
If your school has 20 children in a class and you have 3 children that could potentially be 60 birthday parties! There are only 52 weeks in a year. This is bound to result in clashes. We haven’t even started with the adults yet.
Let’s cut down to a family with only two children, plus two parents who each have one sibling and two parents. The parents’ siblings also have two children this now takes family birthdays to 16 birthdays for family alone. Granted not everyone is going to have a party, but you still need to keep track of milestones. Things like anniversaries and major birthdays.
Now add in extra murals, and possibly concerts or competitions that go with the extra murals. School sports days and exhibitions that need to be attended, work functions or training that you need to be at and you can begin to see the importance of a family calendar.
Remember you need to add in dentist, doctor and other appointments to the calendar as well and suddenly your calendar is full.
My family calendar not only has birthdays and anniversaries on it, it also includes Jewish holidays and the getting sorted plan, plus my meal planning blog ideas. School holidays add vacations need to be written on so that you don’t double bookings.
To keep track I use different colours for different events. As all my children are teenagers, we have fewer parties but more social events. I use a write and wipe wall calendar and use a permanent marker for events that are not going to change. Birthdays, anniversaries, Jewish Holidays and school terms are all in permanent marker. I use a second colour for meal planning (blog ideas and clients planning), and for Getting Sorted, and another for parties and special events.
One of the most important aspects of this calendar is to update it regularly. Put it in a place where everyone in the household can see it.
I also have emergency and important phone numbers in permanent marker on my calendar.
Are you on the Facebook group, why not join us if you haven’t yet? https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/
Do you have a family calendar? I would love for you to share your ideas with us.
How often can you answer the question “what’s for dinner?” when you haven’t even started? If you are a meal planner, this should not be a problem at all.
Meal planning is not going to stop the question, it is just going to give you the ability to answer.
Planning for dinner
I have been meal planning for a while now and I even write the weekly plan on the board in the kitchen and, yet, invariably I still get asked ‘what’s for dinner?’ by at least on family member on an almost daily basis.
Meal planning boards
My family know that I update the board every Sunday and that it not only has what’s for dinner but also, what the school lunches are for the week and what the lunch when they get home is going to be and yet they still ask.
In the past the answer was usually, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it yet’ or ‘it depends on what we have in the cupboard/fridge/freezer’. Life is so much easier on all of us now that we know what will be served.
It is not always so easy though as with a family of 6 there are times where at least one or more is not happy with the option of what’s for dinner.
It’s a family decision
Since I included my family in the meal planning decision when I first started and got them to tell me what they would really like to eat, I often try new recipes which the family then votes to decide if we have this again or not. This way everyone gets to eat at least on meal a week that they really like.
I do have some standard meals that I have every week and month, such as spaghetti bolognaise, spaghetti and meatballs, tuna/vegetable lasagne, cottage pie, tacos, sloppy Joe’s, chicken stir fry and every now and then I cave in and add probably the easiest recipe ever – spaghetti, tomato sauce, cheese and tuna. This is one of my children’s favourite meals.
I also us a template to help with the meal planning. this tells me what types of meals I am making on a particular day i.e. fish, meat, chicken, mince, vegan/vegetarian.
Do you know what’s for dinner in your home this week?
Meal Plan – The Recipe Bank.
You’ve mastered your Meal Plan. You’ve found food that everyone will eat. Now you want and need to remember all these recipes so that you can use them again and never have to worry about who will eat what.
The recipe bank
This is why you need to create a recipe bank that will allow you to easily access those successful meals.
Using this new method to meal plan is making my life a lot easier. Planning now takes even less time.
The lost recipe solution
For me the problem often comes when I make up a recipe. There is no recipe to find when I want to make it again. I am slowly learning to write my creations into a book. I now write down where I find good recipes and in which cookbook they were.
Over the years I have made some very successful meals that everyone enjoyed. and then promptly forgot which recipe book it was from. I have hundreds of recipe books!
I recently I bought a notebook with coloured tabs. The first page of each tab is the recipe index for my own recipes and page number where they can be found. This does require you to number each page by hand.
I now write my new recipes into this book and when I find a recipe in a cookbook I write down the name of the recipe, the book and page number, onto the 2nd page of each section.
The red tab is the chicken recipes I have created.
Cashew nut Chicken pg 1
Soy Slow cooker chicken pg 2
On the reverse page I write down recipes from either cookbooks or the internet.
Chicken Paprikash – One Dish – pg 53
Breaded Chicken breasts – marthastewart.com
The catch to this is that you have to remember to write your recipes down!
How do you keep track of recipes which your family have enjoyed eating?
This week we look at sorting out the craft room, or area.
I have a huge confession to make! My bead area is going to take a lot more than 15 minutes a day to sort, it may just take a nuclear explosion!
I make beaded jewellery as well as teach a class, so over the last 6 years I have accumulated a ton of beads and accessories for making the jewellery. Not all of it has been sorted out and put away!
Let’s start with the sorting part. This task is to sort through any craft items you have and to get rid of the old and broken items. If you are a scrap booker, work in mosaic, or even just have the everyday things your kids use to make art projects, you will have lots of things to throw out.
Do you have items for a whole lot of different crafts all stuck into whatever space is available?
Everything in it’s place
Use your 15 minutes to separate the different craft items into different piles, boxes, or areas.
Items like dried glue, empty paint bottles and bits that you know, if you are truly honest, you will never use. It is also time to take any of the items that have nothing to do with crafts, back to where they belong.
Save the environment, recycle
I use food containers to separate my items and to store them. Wash out old salad tubs and label them. I prefer to use the clear plastic ones so that I can see what is in them. The ones I’ve sorted I mean.
I also use the little sorting boxes sold at hardware stores for keeping nails and screws.
With whatever you have left over, draw up a crafts calendar to make use of what you have on hand, before going to buy new stuff! I am working on a list of projects for the jewellery class right now.
It’s a weakness, I know
Besides jewellery, my Achilles’ heel is stationary, pretty sticky notes, notebooks and cool pens! What is your craft weakness?