Sunday, June 19, 2011
Homemaking 101: Home Economy
V visited with me this past weekend (we nearly talked ourselves out finally, lol) and my mind was upon the many questions she asked as I worked around my home this morning. I chuckled as I thought of all the little home economies that go on in each room of the house. So let's just walk through my home room by room and look at the economy in each area.
Most people enter my home via the back door. It is the door nearest the driveway and clearly visible. First off you'll find a pot of herbs and a rosemary bush. I bought the rosemary a few years ago at the grocery and planted it in the yard. Basil, sage, dill, thyme are in the herb pot on the porch. Frugal? Yes, because for about the cost of one little plastic packet of fresh herbs at the grocery I have a never ending supply of each. Mama told me the other day that I can plant my sage in the yard instead of in a pot and it will come back again next year.
You'll also see the pot of petunias, which came up from seeds that dropped last year. Not to mention the creeping phlox from an old home site and iris from Granny and Grandmama's yards. And the glider I just painted, which has been sitting under the tree for years. Now moving to the deck as extra seating. Oh yes, and the charcoal grill which was given to us when our son moved because he couldn't have the grill on his wooden deck at the new apartment building.
Just inside the back entry, to the right, you'll find my laundry closet. When we moved in we didn't have doors on that laundry area. Drafts were terrible coming in around the dryer vent so we chose to hang curtains at the opening which cut down dramatically on drafts and gave us the option of hiding our dirty laundry, which I'm never really comfortable showing off anyway, lol. So a pair of twin sized sheets covered the opening nicely.
You'll also find a lamp sitting on the dryer. We'd asked for a light fixture in that closet and were told that due to safety regulations we couldn't put a light in the ceiling. We obviously had to have light, hence the lamp.
On the wall above the washer and dryer, I hung a simple wooden fruit crate. This cleared the dryer of all those little things that were just in the way: dryer sheets, litter bin, bleach, detergent, stain treatment.
Notice the box of fabric softener sheets. That's only the second I've bought since we moved in. I cut them in fourths and use them twice.
There's a tension rod in the doorway frame behind the curtain. We hang a lot of our laundry to dry, using hangers.
On the wire shelf above the wooden crate I keep our dry goods stock: paper products and extra bottles of cleaners. I buy them when on sale and with a coupon if at all possible. I haven't bought window cleaner in two years. I have enough laundry detergent to last us a year.
To the left is the breakfast area. We bought a remnant section of carpet that was bound for $24. The curtains cost $16. I bought tiers that were $2 a pair. I removed the border trim from one tier, added to the bottom of the other, then combined the two tiers into one long drape. Because tiers are a little narrower than a drape, I needed two sets per window and I have 4 windows. The black curtain rods were just el cheapo white ones that I painted black. My table was given to me and the glass top $10. The two chairs are bistro chairs I bought at Target. I paid $35 each for them, but saw similar ones today at the grocery for just $25.
The armoire here is for extra storage for china and linens. And there beside it is my little 5 cu ft freezer. I stock reduced price meats and a few frozen vegetables and fruits in that freezer, as well as the extra baked goods I make. The old milk crate contains my storage containers, most culled from 'trash'. Plastic cottage cheese and sour cream bowls, plastic soda bottles that we refill with well water for trips, glass pickle and salsa jars and such. I tend to lean towards clear containers for storage because if I can't see it, I can't remember it.
Now we enter the kitchen which I think is most definitely the area of biggest savings for a home...and can be the most expensive area as well in initial set-up. Good equipment, even if in limited quantities is a must. I have been blessed with better than average equipment courtesy my family who seem to thrive upon my cooking. At first glance it's hard to tell this is the room where some of the greatest savings in our household begins, but it's perfectly true. Even if you choose not to make bread and yogurt and baked goods from scratch, just cooking meals at home will save money.
I won't go into the hundreds of ways I can save money here, but suffice to say it's one are where I try to be especially mindful.
You'll notice as we go through the house that the majority of our furnishings have a comfortable homey sort of look. The few we bought new were on deep sales. A lot of furniture we acquired used, some gently used and some not. The entertainment center that holds our flat screen tv is a re-worked piece.
The dining room chairs a friend found at a yard sale for $2 each. And then the owner 'discounted' the price when my friend took all four, so they cost just $7. One of our living room chairs was $5.
Note the little propane heater on the wall in this big room. It's a ventless heater and we use it to save electricity in the winter months when the weather is bitter cold.
In the guest bath, the shower curtain came from the thrift store for just $2.
The music room is next door and here you'll find that Chance has adhered to the frugal rule even with music and recording equipment. Some were bought used from eBay, some from the pawn shop, and some on good sales from companies that aren't mainstream but are reputable. The dresser Chance uses as storage in this room and the desk where he has his recording unit set up were pieces from our own childhood rooms.
The craft/guest room is largely made up at present of castoffs from Kay, thrift store pieces, even a borrowed piece or two.
In the closet of that room, I have an auxiliary pantry where I store bulk purchased staples.
On the other side of the living room, is our bedroom and bath. Again you'll find used pieces of furniture but these are actually old pieces, antiques, really. While not top quality they have beauty, value and appeal. Most all of my clothing are clearance priced items.
In our bathroom we have a trash picked bench that I recovered, some kitchen rugs that I liked the looks of as bath mats.
Almost all the drapes in our home are sheets that have been made into curtains.
These are the surface things we have in our home, the things I look at and see the economy, but I daresay the average person walking into our home won't see our belongings and know they were thrifty choices but simply see the pleasant rooms. They won't see the behind the scenes savings we make, but I know they are there.
My home is truly home economics at it's best.
Posted by Terri Cheney at 4:42 PM