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Homemaking Articles - Imperfect Homemaker

Category Archives for Homemaking

How to Declutter your Home in 7 Easy Steps

Does your home always look messy, even though you feel like you're always cleaning?  Perhaps you should consider whether you have too much clutter in your home.  By saying that, I'm not suggesting that you're some kind of hoarder or slob.  But sometimes, the size of a person's house is just too small for the amount of things that are in there, and it creates a look of constant disorder.  You may need to scale back to the absolute minimum of what you need to live in order to keep things looking neat in your house.

Learn how to declutter your home in 7 easy steps.

How To Declutter - great step-by-step instructions!

1. Start with the worst offenders.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house, and consequently are usually the rooms that collect clutter the fastest.  It's easy to dump stuff on a kitchen counter or toss it on the couch or coffee table when you walk in the door.  Remove anything that does not belong in these rooms, and train yourself to put things completely away when you come in the door.  If you're having a hard time breaking the habit of dropping stuff as you come in the door, purchase some stylish baskets to keep near the door of those rooms.  Make it your goal to keep the baskets empty by putting things where they belong.  If you forget, at least the clutter will be contained and won't be such an eyesore.

2. Go through every room in the house (one at a time) and remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.

3. Divide every item into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags or boxes for this part.  Everything that you find should go into a category: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Do not start a new room until you have completely finished the previous room.  Once you have decided what will stay in that room, place items in the drawer or cabinet where you want them.  Throw away the trash, put the donate box in the car so it can be taken care of right away, and place the relocate box in the next room in which you will be working.

5.  Do not completely fill your spaces.  Get rid of enough stuff to leave extra room in your drawers and cabinets.  If every space is filled to maximum capacity, you will constantly be knocking things over as you get things in and out of the drawer or cabinet.  (Tupperware avalanche, anyone?)  Leave plenty of room to get things in and out while keeping them neat.

6. Keep as much as possible out of sight.  Even with only the essentials remaining in a room, things can still look cluttered when you have random items sitting out in full view.  Use attractive containers or baskets whenever possible to keep everything contained and out of sight.

7. Once you have successfully removed clutter from every room in the house, implement the “One in, one out” rule.  (Every time something new comes into the house, something else has to go.)  This will keep your house from becoming full of too many things and creating the need to declutter all over again.

What did I miss?  What are your best tips for decluttering and keeping your house organized?

For the Homemaker Who Never Has Enough Time

For the Homemaker Who Never Has Enough Time

I always seem to have waaaay more stuff I want to accomplish in a day than I actually ever accomplish.

The solution is actually quite simple if I would just do it:

  1.  Determine what actually needs to be accomplished.
  2. Make a plan for how it's going to happen.

God doesn't give us more to do than He's given us time to do.  The question we must ask ourselves is this: “Is what I'm doing right now what God wants me to do right now?”

 

Each of us faces life circumstances – some with young children who seem to create endless housework, some with outside jobs taking up their time, some with chronic illnesses feeling like they've tackled the world when they fold a load of laundry.  The situation is different for all of us.

 

But one fact is the same for everyone:  trying to fit things into our lives that God didn't intend to be there only creates disorganization, frustration, and a lack of time to do the other things we really need to be doing.

 

Many things we homemakers would like to do are good and noble things, but if there's not room for them, it's not going to make us happier to try to cram them into our lives.

 

Tell Your Time, a book I've mentioned here before, is an extremely useful tool for determining what your priorities really are.

As homemakers, the things for which we have to make a place in our schedules aren't really all that glamorous.  A good deal of our time is spent in the kitchen preparing meals or in the kitchen cleaning it up.  With the remainder of our day's 24 hours, we have to have time to sleep, clean the house, and spend quality time with our family.

Hobbies?  It doesn't really seem like there will be much time left over for anything fun.

What we need to realize is that, as homemakers, that is what we do.  We make a home.

And a peaceful home where all the members are blessed requires a lot of maintenance.  Just because it doesn't seem glamorous doesn't mean it's not necessary and incredibly important.

When you mark hours of meal preparation and cleaning into your schedule each week, you are being an incredible blessing to your family.  Don't think you're not doing anything important!

If you plan your time efficiently, you will find time to do some of the things you want to do as well.  You won't have time for all of them, and that's okay.  You”ll find that it's much more enjoyable to do a few things and be able to savor the moment without feeling like you have to rush on to the next thing.

I've used Tell Your Time to create a daily schedule several times in the past, and it's been the best thing I've ever done.

As life circumstances change, that schedule has to be tweaked, and instead of doing that, I decided I could just wing it.

It just doesn't work.

There has to be structure and a plan in order to manage time efficiently.

So once again, I've re-worked my schedule and I am again happy and peaceful instead of feeling like there's just too much to do and not enough time to do it.

I was able to re-evaluate what actually needs to be done and figure out the best times for it all to happen.

(And I found a few hours in between for some extras too!)

Ladies, if you're finding yourself frustrated with your time management, I highly encourage you to purchase Tell Your Time.  (I make a small commission if you purchase it, but that is completely not why I'm suggesting it.  I just find it that helpful.  And it's only $2.99.  It's one of the few eBooks I've ever actually paid for, and it was worth every penny and more.)

Stop ending every day wishing that you could have gotten more done.  Start planning for successful time management, and your home will be more peaceful.  You'll be happier, and so will your family!

 

This post hasn't been edited to make sure I'm using just the right words.  I've just shared what's in my heart in hopes that it will be a help to you.  If it has, would you leave me a comment and let me know?

 

Organize Your Fridge and Reduce Food Waste

Did you know that it's possible to organize your fridge and keep it that way?

For the longest time, I tried to organize my fridge and keep it cleaned, but it seemed like things were always getting shoved to the back and would end up rotten by the time I found them.

I finally had one of those “duh” moments when I realized that organizing my fridge and minimizing food waste didn't have to be difficult at all.

All it took was a few labels.

Sure, I could have just designated certain shelves for certain foods, but whenever I tried that, I would always forget (or my family didn't know what went where) and things would end up in disarray again.

In less than 15 minutes time, I came up with the world's easiest system for organizing my fridge.  Yours will probably end up looking different than mine due to the different setup of different refrigerators, but you'll get the idea of how you can create an easy-to-use system for keeping your refrigerator organized.

Organize Your Fridge (and keep it that way)

 

First, I took everything out and washed the shelves thoroughly.  I also threw away anything that had gone bad or that I knew I wasn't going to use. Then I set it up like this:

Top Shelf:

Beverages.  That's it.  Since I often buy 8 gallons of raw milk at one time, I need that shelf completely dedicated to beverages.

Drawer:

Cheese and lunch meat.  (Side note: lunch meat is not something I recommend consuming regularly.  We have it when we're really feeling the need for something quick and easy, but we make sure to buy a kind that is nitrate/nitrite free.)

Middle Shelf:

On the left side I put ingredients such as cooked meat, broth, chopped onions, or anything else that is pre-prepared that will be a component of a meal.  I labeled that side simply “Ingredients”.  The right side is labeled “Leftovers”, so I'm sure you can figure out what goes there.  I try to make sure to put the most recent leftovers in the back and move the older ones to the front.  It's a lot easier to make sure we eat the older stuff before it goes bad when it's looking me right in the face when I open the fridge.

Bottom Shelf:

The left side is labeled “Snacks” and holds things like granola bars, applesauce, and anything else that is meant to be grab-n-go.  Since snacks are such a frequented category of food in our household, having them all in one designated spot keeps people from digging through the fridge in search of something to eat, and eliminates the disorganization that follows. Since there will inevitably be something that doesn't fall into any category, the bottom right shelf is labeled “Miscellaneous”.  That way I have a place to put everything even if I'm not sure where it should go.

Produce Drawers:

I have labeled the produce drawers with “Week 1” and “Week 2”.  If not everything gets used up on the first week, it gets moved over to the “Week 2” drawer before I bring put any new groceries away.  When I'm deciding what vegetables to have with dinner, I always check the “Week 2” drawer and use up whatever's in there first.

In the door I keep condiments, supplements that require refrigeration, butter, and anything else small.  I try to group like items together and eliminate as many unnecessary items as possible.  For example, instead of having 10 different kinds of salad dressing in there cluttering things up, I make our salad dressing from scratch.  I usually only make enough for one meal so that I can make whichever kind we prefer and not end up with a bunch of things in there that end up going bad.

 

I've never considered myself an organized person, but ever since I labeled the shelves and started putting things in specific places, our food waste has been drastically reduced.  It's also easier to decide what to have for dinner because I can easily see what needs to be cooked up first.

And the best part is that it only took a few minutes to organize, and it has stayed that way for a long time!

I hope my system will give you an idea of how to organize your own fridge and reduce food waste!

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Being Your Spouse’s Prayer Warrior (and a free printable prayer calendar)

The Importance of Being a Prayer Warrior for Your Spouse, plus a free prinable prayer calendar.  from @mbream

 

It was just over one year ago that the Lord began working in my heart about praying earnestly for my husband.  Our life had begun to seemingly crumble around us as we learned of a major unexpected ministry change that would be taking place. Hard times were ahead- we could just feel it. As my husband came home each day and shared his burdens with me, the Lord seemed to impress on my heart that I could do more to support my husband. I could do the one thing that mattered the most- one that would have a lasting impact. I could pray.

You may be thinking, “Didn't you pray for your husband before last year?!”  Yes, I did. But not earnestly. And not specifically. And not consistently.

I needed to make a big change.

One day I came across a prayer calendar online. I don't even remember what site I found it on, but I knew immediately that I was looking at the perfect prompting to my prayers for my husband.  The calendar was not month-specific, so I could use it over each month. Every day's box had a different topic of prayer and a few verse references to go along with each topic. I printed it off onto red paper and presented it to my husband as a gift. He was very appreciative and I could tell that it meant a lot to him that I was taking this step and then making it known to him. After he looked it over, I carried it to the kitchen and taped it above my sink.

It's one of the best things I've ever done.

Every day for the past year (plus) I have prayed for my husband as I washed the dishes. (Yes, I've missed a few when we were traveling, but my point is that it became a habit.)  I even started knowing what the prayer prompt topic was before I got to the sink!

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I began to reap the rewards of my prayer time.

My husband would come home and recount the events of the day, telling me his joys and struggles, and of his own answers to prayer.

I was often amazed to find that the very things He encountered that day were specific to the topic I had prayed about! I shared those things with him, many times saying “I prayed about that for you today!”  These instances strengthened our faith together, and motivated me to pray even more consistently and more often as the Lord brought things to mind. Furthermore, as time went by, I found that God was changing me through my prayers for my husband. As I prayed about areas of character and Godliness for him, I realized that my own life needed God's stirring in some of the same areas.  Only God can give double blessings like that through prayer!

This year, I have designed my own prayer calendar. I've changed up the topics from last year and have added new Scripture references. It's time to begin a new cycle of prayer, and I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to use it in my husband's life to encourage him.

Free Prayer Calendar

I'd like to make this calendar available to you and encourage you to pray earnestly and specifically for your spouse this year! Give the  gift of the blessings of prayer. My calendar is available as a free printable on my website. At the moment, it is an excel document that I hope will open for you! Click here to download your daily prayer calendar.

Expect God to do great things as you intercede for your beloved!

How to Grind Venison in the Food Processor

My husband got two deer this year, his first since we've been married.  That means I got my first experience at helping butcher.  Not exactly what I would call fun, but I'm thankful for the meat.  There are, of course, certain portions of the meat which are only suitable for grinding.  When I was growing up, my dad always had a big meat grinder that he would use.  Since I did not have one, I thought I would just try it in the food processor.  It works!  Quite well, I might add.

After a little trial and error, here is how it worked best:

  • Use the S-shaped steel blade.
  • Only grind a small amount at a time.  Turn the food processor on the highest setting, but be ready to turn it off quickly if the meat is too tough.  If it seems like the machine is struggling, turn it off right away, otherwise you will burn up your motor.  If you are having trouble getting your machine to cut through the meat, you will have to work at cutting away some of the sinew.  See all the white streaks in that piece of meat?  That's what you have to get rid of.  I found that it was actually easier to grind the meat first, and then pick out the white strands, but every once in a while there is some that is too tough and it has to be cut off before you can grind it.
  • It took about 10 seconds to fully grind each small piece.  Bigger pieces took more like 30 seconds.

This is a piece that has already been ground.  Now you need to pick out as much of those white streaks as you reasonably can without spending forever or wasting too much meat.  I wore disposable gloves for this part.

It will look like it has been crushed to smitherines, but once you cook it, it is the perfect consistency.  See?

Now you can use it for spaghetti, chili, or anything else for which you would use regular burger!

I apologize if that was a little gross for you, but I hope it will help someone like me who had no earthly idea how to go about grinding venison.