It is so grey outside but I quite like it – it feels restful and quiet – just right for a period of reflection and I find January is a good month just to ‘be’ rather than do.
Transition is my focus word for the year – a period of adjustment – and I need to adjust some of my household routines to fit in better with my new circumstances. So, since the start of this year I have been steadily working on a list of household tasks I need to do everyday now I am not working in order to …well keep order… and prevent a build up of clutter and chaos that can arise from letting things pile up. You might have the same problem with little piles appearing in corners or on a table or worktop. They tend to quietly build up over time because finding time to deal with them is often in short supply.
My starting point has been to think about what worked for me and what didn’t last year, what will I continue to do and what needs improvement or ditching altogether. My word(s) last year were ‘The power of small’ and I did just that – some of the things were just little changes, some became major improvements and some…well I even surprised myself.
The small changes that worked for me are…
- Making soup – I never seemed to have the time to do this regularly when I was working – now it is almost routine – and what is better than a hot bowl of soup full of winter vegetables. We don’t have it for lunch everyday but I do freeze some and it is great to use at a moments notice for a picnic.
- Taking picnics and flasks on our trips out – it might be shopping, or a day out or travelling but wherever we go the first thing we do now is make the picnic and fill the flasks. DH is getting very good at this and not only is it a good money saver but we also prefer it to some of the cafe lunches we have had as the vegetarian choices can be limited. It will be a real treat now to have a bought lunch and we can limit this to visits our favourite places that we enjoy.
- Keeping up daily with the ironing and the finances – I make sure that I iron everything I washed the day before in the morning and this way the pile never builds up. I did lapse at Christmas when I was busy doing advent activities but I am back on course again now as I love seeing my empty ironing basket. I do the same entering my receipts and keeping a tally of my spending.
- I grew courgettes in a large pot again this year and this time from seed – it is so easy and the results are so satisfying and they taste wonderful. I am expanding this to grow some outdoor tomatoes this summer – I have earmarked a little space for them in the garden by the fence where they will have the most of the sunshine and shelter.
- My Year Book – I can’t tell you how much pleasure this has given me and I have just started a new one this year. I keep a list of my monthly intentions, notes of books I want to read, recipes I might find, decor and gardening ideas and bits and pieces of everything and anything and it is a great place to stick all my cuttings of things I might want to do.
…and the major improvements
- this has to be focusing on the outside of the house – we took one step at a time completing one job then moved onto the next and the rendering and repointing has made such a big difference to the look of the house and cleaning the brickwork brought it back to look like new. Once the weather is better we will continue with painting the front door, replacing the garage door and relaying the tarmac drive – but of course these are quite expensive projects so we need to make savings elsewhere.
- Somatic Exercises – the Feldenkrais method – if you have never tried these then I can only recommend that you have a go. Try the Posture Queen on you tube – it is the best way I know to help any posture problem like tense shoulders and general stiffness – it is so gentle it feels like you are not doing very much but the results can be felt after just one session. They do take quite a while as taking it slowly is key and scheduling time for this is still difficult for me so I am going to make a positive effort to do some each day because it works.
and then the unexpected –
- Our Italian holiday – I had forgotten how much I enjoyed travelling and seeing other countries and cultures. Since we bought our little cottage the renovations took up all our time and holidays but having the wedding to go to gave us the nudge we needed to have a break from this and plan a proper holiday.
- Leaving paid work – this was a ‘biggy’ – not exactly planned and not exactly ideal timing as I cannot draw my state pension yet but I am getting used to being at home, trying to get used to a drop in income and easily getting used to not rushing about all the time – though I can still feel guilty about that.
The little changes have almost become habit and I will add more changes to these as there are things that did not work for me last year and I will need to work on those.
Meanwhile a big welcome to my new followers and everyone that has left a comment recently – I love getting to know new readers and your ideas are always so helpful. I promise I will get round to posting the recipes soon – I am sorry Dar that you have waited so long for the Stroganoff!
15 Replies to “fEAsible ~ what works for me”
Just don’t make the silly mistake I did last week – I batched cooked some soup (to use up leftover carrots) then froze it in 2portion containers. But overfilled the last one and forgot the ‘headspace’. The soup froze, expanded, and cracked the screw top lid. The soup was fine – but I’ve had to put the container in the recycling bin.!
What a shame, but these things do happen from time to time – good job it didn’t explode though – carrot soup all round the kitchen would be a bit messy to clean up.
You are so right about the little piles that build up on tables and work surfaces! I am fundamentally a neat person however I have fought these piles for as long as I can remember. I’ve got slightly better of late in that I try to deal with any post straight away ie pay it, file it or chuck it but I think a lot of my piles consist of books and leaflets that I put aside to read later but never do. Winning the war against the clutter piles this year would be a real triumph!
I am the same with leaflets and bits and bobs that I put aside to read or attend to later. Often it is because they require a decision – so they end up on the pending pile because if I were to file it away it would just be forgotten about. At the moment all I have in my tray is a leaflet from M&S that came with a statement and it is telling me they will need a mobile number as they are starting a new secure system for online ordering where they will text a single use password – so now I will have to have my phone charged and nearby everytime I want to order something. Luckily I am not a frequent internet shopper.
Like you, I think January is a good month for reviewing what works and what doesn’t. The mail is a source of so much paper, even when one pays most bills online, so there are a few things I do as soon as the mail arrives. Since I don’t really need any new clothing or anything else for that matter, all catalogues go into the recycling bin without being perused (won’t miss what you don’t see). Recycling pile also gets all the other detritus sent through the mail that doesn’t have our names on it such as advertising, offer flyers, etc.. Items that do have our names, such as credit card offers, etc., I immediately shred. This leaves me with only items that actually need attention. I deal with them either then, if I have time, or the next day.
Sounds like you have got a good routine going – it has become a job in itself these days – I never remember my mum or dad having to deal with so much excess paperload coming via the mail.
I agree with the ‘what you don’t see you won’t miss’ – that is half the battle the temptation of all these catalogues – we often say I bought something I didn’t know I needed is very true as often we don’t need it we just want it!
Home made soup sounds yummy and what a good idea to take out for lunch on an outing
It is so easy to take in a flask and very warming at the moment – it also uses all those ends of vegetables that are left over at the end of the week.
Sounds like an excellent idea to review what’s worked in the last year and I like the idea of keeping a year book. I can deal with bits of paper but must admit that my ironing pile is rather mountainous, partly because it’s such a faff to get the ironing board set up. Maybe I should review my set up.
Even when I had my board out and ready it still didn’t get done at times when I was working and over the Advent period! I am hoping that making it a habbit (I think it is somewhere between 30 days and 90 – I will most likely need the 90!) I will have it cracked by Advent this year.
I have learnt to hang up washing carefully …. fold carefully … and do not iron anything.
Wow – I am one of those sad people who irons everything except tights as I find they melt!! I actually enjoy ironing it is my thinking time but it gets pushed to one side if I get busy and then annoys me when it piles up. But I can easily leave the dishes draining and I know some people find that hard to ignore.
I love homemade soup! I make it often to stash away in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner. My daughter also loves to take it to school for lunch. Happy January!
I have made so much soup recently but it is so satisfying in many ways – it is a great winter warmer and all those vegetables must make it a healthy food.
I love the idea of more soup. And taking a thermos when doing an outing. The Man and I take a thermos of tea when we go on road trips. The result is much nicer tea than can be bought and we usually get to drink it in a quiet place.
As I read on, I am sure I will discover why you retired earlier than expected. I hope it is for good reasons!!?? I have 10 years to go – if I last. I am looking forward to owning my time and going s-l-o-w. Little routines. A bit of gardening. A bit of reading. A bit of exercise. While I get frequent breaks, they are usually either spent travelling or recuperating from work. Never long enough to get routines in place.
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