Your home is a complex machine that requires regular oiling for optimum performance.
As a homemaker, I’ve squeaked along for over 40 years.
Like a Farmers Insurance agent, “I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.”
Allow me to share a bit of my knowledge.
This piece is practical, not fanciful or filled with sentiment. I will not advise you to hug your kids every day and tell your husband every morning you love him. I assume you do those things.
When you buy totes for storage, buy transparent ones. You can tell at a glance what is inside those totes.
Yes, you can label nontransparent totes and cardboard boxes. At this moment, millions of such mystery containers sit on closet shelves and garage floors with their labels turned stubbornly toward the wall.
Buy gasoline and toilet paper before you need them. You cannot go without these essentials.
Decide early in the day what your dinner plans are. Deciding early prevents last-minute panic and gives you time to go to the store or thaw frozen foods.
Don’t subject yourself and your family to uninterrupted nights of fast-food dinners or Stouffers’ frozen ziti.
When you and the family go out to eat, decide before you leave the house where you will go. Don’t drive three miles south and realize you crave cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, which requires driving north.
Don’t lie to yourself. If you have forever put off doing a task, admit you will not do it.
Then either resolve to live with the grimy windows and dusty bookshelves OR hire someone to do the job.
Choose the second option only if you can afford it. Don’t use the kids’ school lunch money to pay a gutter cleaner.
Clean up your own messes but do not presume to clean up messes left by other adults.
A few months ago, I tidied up Dan’s workspace around his computer. I threw away out-of-date tool catalogs, old maps from the late 1990s, and junk mail advertising special offers whose end dates had come and gone.
Dan had wanted to keep these things for reasons he stated but I can’t now remember.
One woman’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Always carry cash. Coins and bills are convenient when paying for small purchases such as a cup of frozen custard at Ritter’s or a 50-cent library fine.
Several years ago, my daughter (name withheld) paid for everything with her debit card. She then stuffed dozens of receipts into her wallet. Her wallet no longer zipped and became the size and shape of a boxing glove. Balancing her checkbook was a nightmare.
Carry twenty dollars, more or less.
Give yourself permission not to finish everything you start. If at one time you wanted to knit and now have a bathtub-size container filled with yarn, needles and patterns you will never use, get rid of them.
You’re too smart to hang on to useless things.
Open your mail while standing beside a trash can or recycling bin. That is where most of the pieces will go, so save yourself some steps.
This suggestion is based upon something my wise father-in-law said: Some decisions need to be made only once.
Here are four of my once-and-forever decisions:
- I will go to church every week.
- I and everyone else in my vehicle will wear a seatbelt.
- I will not dogear a page in a book.
- I will not give unsolicited advice.