Hand in Hand

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I went shopping today and as always it went hand in hand with planning our menu for the next week.  Doing this saves money and reduces waste.

First, the menu:

Sunday – Pizza
Monday – Tumeric chicken, brown rice with carrots and peas
Tuesday – Baked potatoes with refried beans and salad
Wednesday – Celery soup
Thursday – Hamburgers and salad
Friday – Spicy mexican quinoa
Saturday – Salmon with sweet potato chips and balsamic roasted tomatoes

The fruit bowls are empty.

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I emptied out the drawer of the crisper and cleaned it out.  This is what we have left from last week.

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The beetroot are from the garden and store well for an extended period of time in the crisper. I finished the last of the cucumber at lunchtime.

Today I bought bananas, apples, mushrooms, cucumbers and capsicum.  That is all I need for the rest of the week as we also have about half a lettuce in a container, millions of cherry tomatoes growing in the garden, potato and sweet potato in the cellar and frozen peas.  There are also packs of sliced and diced onion in the freezer.

I had a few things on my list to get at Aldi but that was in the opposite direction to which we were headed today so I have decided to leave that until the middle of the week.

I have spent less than $15 on fruit and vegetables for the week.

STREAMLINE – If One Comes In, One Goes Out

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This is a fairly simple strategy – for every item that you welcome into your home another one needs to leave.  Whilst this strategy will not turn you into a minimalist overnight, it will certainly maintain the status quo.

One of the most popular applications of the ‘one in, one out’ rule is clothes.  Buy a new shirt and then choose one that you can move on.  If you are having trouble letting one go, perhaps it is time to ask yourself why you bought the new shirt in the first place.  Did you really need it?  The last time I looked, we can only wear one shirt at a time so why do we need a wardrobe bulging with clothes?

Appliances are another area where we can tend to buy a new version yet retain the old one.  It is usually consigned to the back of the cupboard or the garage ‘just in case’.  Just in case the bright new shiny one breaks down?  Do we really buy things expecting them to fail?  If the previous one needed replacing it is time for it to go.

We recently purchased a new refrigerator.  After a considerable time spent looking and debating the various options available this is the one we bought.

RefrigeratorOf course, there was the question of what to do with the old one.  The Duke briefly canvassed the option of keeping it downstairs as a ‘beer fridge’ but we realised that it was completely unnecessary and would use up space and electricity.  I advertised it on Freecycle and am pleased to say that it has gone to a young couple who were trying to set up a home with very little in the way of resources.

Old refrigerator

Most of us live in relative affluence and virtually everything we buy is an upgrade/replacement/newer version of something we already own.  Therefore, there will be something to move out of your home.  If the previous item was broken it should be consigned to the rubbish/recycling.  If it is still functional someone else may benefit from having it.  No-one benefits from it being stashed away to deteriorate in your garage or basement.

As an aside, I find this principle of ‘one in, one out’ a fantastic disincentive to shop.  “Why spend my hard-earned cash on something when I have a perfectly good one at home?” is the question I often ask myself.

How effective are you at ‘one in, one out’?

STREAMLINE – Starting Over

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As promised, here is the first in my decluttering series based on “The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay.

Whether it is a whole room or a single drawer, the principle of this step is to start from scratch.  That is, you need to get the space back to how it was when you moved into the house.

If you leave things in place this activity becomes one of cleaning around items rather than seriously questioning the value of every single piece.  As Francine says, “Nothing gets a free ride”.

Are you about to give up before you even get started?  Does the prospect of removing everything fill you with terror?  Or are you thinking that you have nowhere to put the stuff until the next step of “Trash, treasure or transfer”?  You have made it this far so I expect that you have some very good reasons for wanting to declutter.

Perhaps you could start small and tackle one drawer.  Empty the entire contents onto the kitchen bench.  Don’t focus on what is on the bench.  Give the drawer your entire attention.  Clean it inside and out.  Replace it and feast your eyes on the space.  Space to hold the things you really need and love.  Now, close the drawer and turn your attention to the pile on the bench.  Would you simply toss all of this back in the clean drawer?  Now it is time for “T” – “Trash, treasure or transfer” but more of that tomorrow.

There is no specific order in which to tackle the decluttering.  You could try the most-used room, or the least.  Perhaps the worst area or one that causes you the most personal angst.  It could be you bedroom so that you have a calm and peaceful retreat from the chaos around you or the entry area so that you are thrilled to greet visitors.  Whatever you decide, it is your choice.

I have chosen a small space – the cupboard above the refrigerator.  This sees very little activity usually but it has been opened several times a day over the past week.  You see, we have a new refrigerator which fits easily in the available space, however, the doors on the overhead cupboard were custom-made to suit the old refrigerator so they need to be opened every time we go to the refrigerator at the moment.  The cabinetmaker is coming on Friday to remove and modify the doors.  Having this cupboard opened regularly has reminded me of what I have stashed in there and how infrequently it is used so I have decided it is time to take everything out and have a serious look at why it is there.

Overhead cupboard

What are you going to tackle first?  I am looking forward to hearing of your choices, successes and challenges.

Tomorrow,  we will get right into it.