Saturday, December 31, 2011
Or, if you're stubborn like me and you just keep driving and get home at 4:00 in the morning, you don't have to unpack the whole car - you can just bring your overnight bag into the house, and unpack the rest the next day. Or the next day after that. Or, well, eventually, anyhow.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
I use the same logic when I'm doing just one load of laundry, and not tackling the whole pile. I start by throwing in the things I need right away, and as I throw them in, I assess the time required to fold them. Then I throw in towels or shirts or socks to fill the washer the rest of the way, based on how much remaining folding energy I expect to have.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
When the kids are getting into something, and enjoying it, sometimes it's worth just letting them play and explore the world on their own messy terms. Here's how to know when to interfere and when to let it slide:
If F (how much fun the kids are having) times L (how long it will keep them entertained and out of your hair) times N (whether or not they know it's naughty, where N is a sliding scale from 1 to 0 with 1 being completely innocent play, and 0 being "Mom just told us not to do this three minutes ago, and we fully understood") is greater than C (amount of time and effort it will take to clean it up) times D (likelihood of irreparable damage or bodily harm), then just let them play, and deal with the mess later.
If FLN<CD then intervene
If FLN=CD then the only logical course of action is to join in. I bet smearing soap on the bathroom walls really is just as fun as they are making it look.
I'm sure my equation has mathematical errors. This is just a blog, not a web comic.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
(It has to be. Otherwise, it's depressing.)
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
I know, I know, this seems like a backwards tip. Shouldn't I be telling you to get a bigger trash can, so you can put off taking out the trash for a few more days? That was what I thought at first, too. But I have learned something about myself: I will put off taking out the trash until I can't balance another item on the mound. Once a piece of trash tumbles off the pile for the fourth or fifth time, I will cave and take out the trash. This presents three problems when you have a big trash can: 1. You can't get the bag shut, because there's too much stuff in it, 2. The bag is too heavy to carry, and/or 3. The trash has been sitting in the bottom of the bag for far too long, and the lowest level of trash has liquefied, making a leak that much more nasty (and, proportionately, that much more likely).
So, buy a trash can that is just a little bit too small. It will make you take the trash out more often, and save you a lot of headaches in the long run. (But keep buying the bigger trash bags, for those days when you really need the extra trash space, when you can just take the bag out of the can and fill it to your heart's content.)
Bonus tip: If you live in an apartment building with a garbage chute, buy a REALLY small trash can. There's nothing worse than getting to the chute and realizing your bag won't fit, so make sure a full trash can will always fit.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
(Submitted by Trish)
Friday, November 25, 2011
(Submitted by a whole bunch of people. I actually did this with my husband's socks - he has only two kinds of socks, now, ankle socks and long socks, all the same. I like variety in my sock drawer too much to do this for myself, but it's tempting!)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Aside: I was going to say, "Wash bibs with the pockets inside out," but doing it when you put them in the hamper lets you get out the nastiest goop right now, rather than letting it rot in the hamper. It also gives you a second chance to do it when you are transferring them to the washer, in case you forgot the first time.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Or, alternatively, you can always reframe your laziness as righteous indignation:
"But it's been overflowing for days! Taking the trash out is his job! I'll just pile a few more things on, and he's bound to notice!!"
(When in doubt, take a picture and blog about it.)
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
(Submitted by Scatterbrained Homemaker)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
So you bought a brand new glue stick, and after your first craft using it, a forgetful child leaves the cap off. When you finally get around to cleaning up the craft several days later, it is a shriveled peg of dried glue. Oh well, throw it out, right? Wrong! You can rehydrate dried-out glue sticks! Just fill with water, stick the cap on, and leave it overnight. Tomorrow morning, you will have a brand new glue stick again!
Monday, November 7, 2011
(Submitted by Julia)
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Home of dirty dishes, appliances, and tons of other random crap that just accumulates there no matter how hard you try to keep it away. And you know that the only way to clean them properly is to remove all that crap and scrub them, but there's just so. much. crap. And besides, where else is it all supposed to go? So, you shove stuff to the side, and wipe the bits you can see, and before you know it, the toaster oven is glued to the counter with some kind of mystery substance.
Circuit cleaning lets you deep clean without having to relocate all that stuff. You start by clearing out one manageable section of counter, cleaning it thoroughly, then putting everything back and moving on to the next section. (Note: this method also works on other cluttery areas, like mantels or bedrooms.) It's really pretty simple, and you're probably already doing it, but since I've been neglecting this blog (and my house) lately, I deep-cleaned my kitchen and made a photo tutorial. These pictures span one day, during which I was home alone with a one-year-old and a three-year-old, so it really only shows a few hours or less of actual work. The difference a few hours makes (to me at least) is pretty mind-blowing.
- Do enough dishes to thin the herd. You need to be able to see at least SOME countertop. (I apologize for not having a proper "before" picture. I decided to do the tutorial after I had already washed a bunch of dishes.)
- Pick a corner to clean first. Start far from the sink and work towards it. I usually choose to start in the corner that it the most entrenched in junk. For me, this is my cookbook/coffee corner.
- Clear away an approximately two-foot-wide section of counter. Put dirty dishes by the sink. It doesn't really matter where you put other things - I mostly just move them to another section of counter - but if you have something in your hand that can be put away, by all means, put it away.
- Ew. That counter is gross. Well, you know the Crappy Housewife motto, "Let it soak." Throw a wet cloth over those gross blobs. Now go wash a dish or two while you let the water do its magic.
- Wipe up the gross stuff under the cloth. Then clean the rest of the counter thoroughly with soapy water (or other cleaning product). Use your scraper of choice to loosen any tough globs. (The picture below shows my three favorite scrapers - a spatula, a pizza stone scraper and a big dough cutter thingy.) Personally, I like to scrape the big metal scraper across the whole countertop, just in case there are invisible globs that my cloth missed. Dry the counter well with a towel.
- Put everything back in the first section that belongs there. Honestly, even if nothing gets put away, just having it sit in nice rows on a clean counter makes your whole kitchen look better. Clear the next section of counter. (Which, in this case, included a very cluttered windowsill.)
- Clean surfaces, replace crap.
- Clear the next section of counter, up to the sink. When you get to the sink, stop. You'll come back later and do the sink last. I have a good reason for this.
- Clean section, replace crap. Left half of counter complete:
Right half of counter still nasty:
- Jump to the other corner, and repeat the process on that section of counter. Clear, clean, replace. Whenever you move an appliance, it's a nice idea to wipe it down before replacing it, including the little rubber feet that somehow always seem to be encased in something gooey.
- The next section of counter is actually the stove, which desperately needs cleaning. Remove all removable components from the stove and put them in the sink to soak (this is why we didn't clean the sink, yet).
Put wet cloths all over the surface of the stove to soak.
- Okay, this stove-soaking project is going to take a while. You can clear the next section of counter while you wait.
- Clean the surface of the stove, clean the next section of counter, then wash all the stove components you removed. Dry them and reassemble the stove.
- Now all that's left is the sink and the stuff behind it. I don't actually have another place to put most of this stuff, so these before and after photos will show you how much of a difference the remove/clean/replace system makes even when you keep the clutter.
- Step back and enjoy the view. (Just don't look at the floor, which suddenly looks so much worse in juxtaposition with the counters.)
BONUS TIP: Did you notice all the dirty dishes in that last picture? No? That's because my sister gave me the most awesome Crappy Housewife Tip, which I started using as soon as I made a trip to the store and bought the biggest dish tub they had in stock. Look back at the after picture of the whole kitchen. See the big black tub? It's full of dirty dishes. But because they are in a TUB, they have a place to be without cluttering up the counter or the sink. Brilliant. Thanks, sis!
Instead, get yourself some Handi Wipes (USA) or J Cloths (Canada). Imagine a halfway point between a paper towel and a washcloth, and there you have these (which don't seem to have an easy shorthand other than brand name, so I just call them "blue cloths"). Handi Wipes are $2 for a six-pack, which is about what you would pay for one or two washcloths.
But they're not just cheaper. Here are some of the many things I love about blue cloths:
-When you wring them out after using them, they get almost completely dry. You don't even need to hang them up; if you squeeze all the water out and leave them in a blob on the counter, when you come back a few hours later, the blob will be completely dry. And, if you recall your middle school science lessons, bacteria need moisture to thrive, so a dry cloth is a non-bacteria-y cloth. (Non-bacteria-y is totally the scientific term.)
-You can wash them in the washing machine. So, when they do get gross (usually because I let them sit inside a gross sink or something), you can just toss them in the wash. They only survive a handful of washings, because they are not designed to last forever, but they can go longer between washings because they dry out completely and don't get stinky. (I recommend air-drying them, though, the dryer makes them break down faster.)
-I don't feel bad throwing them out. So, if I have to clean up something really gross (I will spare you the examples), then I can just toss them, guilt-free. Their disposableness also makes them an awesome choice for outings and camping trips. In fact, they would also be an awesome thing to keep in the diaper bag. (Why didn't I think of that before? I'm going to go put one in there right now.)
-Because they come in multi-packs, I always have a bunch of them on hand. So when I am doing a big job, like cleaning all the kitchen counters, I can use several of them to soak more sections of counter at one time. I keep one on the high chair to use on faces, another by the sink to use on dishes, and another under the sink for cleaning.
Sorry, I didn't mean to make that sound so much like a commercial. I assure you that neither Handi Wipes nor J Cloths are paying me any money to say this stuff, I'm just a satisfied consumer/zealot. These things are awesome. Try them sometime.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Bonus tip: Check if your front door is magnetic. This was one of the most awesome discoveries in our apartment. It basically triples our "refrigerator door" space!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
(If I need to halt my kefir for more than a day, I put it in the fridge right after adding the grains to fresh milk. You can leave it for up to a week this way.)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Babyproofing is annoying and time-consuming. I recommend passive resignation as an alternative. Move deadly hazards, like chemicals, and fragile things, like glassware, to top shelves. Then, just let the baby play with whatever is in the cabinets she can reach. Potatoes and pots and pans are the best toys, anyhow.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Light fixtures with multiple bulbs just give you that many more opportunities to put off replacing burnt-out bulbs. Four bulbs is almost as bright as five, and three bulbs is almost as bright as four. And really, two bulbs uses so much less energy than five - I'm not being lazy, I'm saving the planet!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
While the kids are taking their bath, pre-treat today's stained clothes in the bathroom sink. You're just sitting there supervising, you might as well be productive.
*Note: I realize that this almost qualifies as a Good Housewife Tip. I almost didn't post it, but then I remembered that the children of Good Housewives don't get stained clothes in the first place.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Don't have four loaf pans? No problem! I never use loaf pans for meatloaf. I just shape my meat into approximately loaf-like shapes and line them up on my broiler pan. The fat drips through the cracks this way, leaving your meatloaf leaner, and there's more crispy outside bits (everyone's favorite part of the meatloaf, anyhow).
What's that? You like baked potatoes with your meatloaf, but now they won't cook in time, because your meatloaf will be done too quickly? Just microwave them for a few minutes (2-3 minutes per potato) before throwing them in the oven to give them a head start.
Look at that, three tips in one post! Guess what we're having for dinner tonight!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
1. On Friday, get a rotisserie chicken (or other cooked meat on the bone) for dinner from your favorite grocery store's deli department. This week, I sent Jeremy, and he came back with BBQ ribs and chicken.
2. After dinner, pick any leftover meat from the carcass and throw all the bones in a pot with just enough water to cover. (It's okay to use the bones that people ate right off of, because they will cook for long enough to kill any germs.)
Bonus Tip: If you used a pot to cook potatoes or vegetables for dinner, don't bother washing it. Just empty it and use it for your broth.
3. Look in the fridge for limp celery, dried out carrots, and any other "not rotten, but not pretty" vegetables you can find. Add them to the pot. You can add seasonings if you want, but I don't bother, since the meat I get from the grocery store is well-seasoned.
4. Bring the whole pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour and a half, or until you are heading to bed and suddenly remember that there is broth on your stove.
5. Strain off the bones and veggies, and return the broth to the pot. Let it cool a bit, then stick the whole pot in your fridge.
6. On Sunday, take the pot out of the fridge. Skim the congealed fat off the top of the broth, then put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
7. Rummage through your fridge and dig out soupifyable leftovers. This week, it was peas, beans, chicken (picked from the bones on Friday), and pasta with fresh tomatoes and corn. Be creative. You might be surprised how many things can go in the pot. Leftover casseroles make the soup into a cream-style soup, leftover soups make it extra-soupy. Cooked rice works well, too. If you don't have any leftover starches, add some dried noodles first, then when they are almost done, add all the already-cooked foods.
8. Simmer everything until heated through. If any of the leftovers were near their "Hmm, maybe we should toss that" date, cook them for a little longer before eating.
9. Eat and enjoy!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Added bonus: If you both have kids, they can entertain each other while you clean, rather than interrupting you every five minutes to play with them. So you'll actually get more done together than one of you could ever get done in twice the time.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Yeah, even I am ashamed of this one.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Designate one sippy cup for each child "for water use only". Then the next time you are scrambling to find a clean cup, but they all seem to be filled with either wine or cheese, you know there is at least one that is always relatively clean.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"The Crappy Housewife" is not a slam against housewives in general. I don't think that being a housewife is crappy, or that you are crappy because you are a housewife. But when I am faced with images in the media of what a "good" housewife is allegedly supposed to be, I have to laugh at myself. If a "good" housewife keeps an impeccable home and has dinner on the table at the same time every night and sews her own seasonally appropriate living room curtains, then I am definitely a "crappy" housewife. I don't enjoy housework. There are hundreds of things I would rather do than dust the furniture. So I have developed lots of little shortcuts, so that I can get over the housework and on with my life.
For a long time, I never shared my housekeeping tips because I figured that everybody else was either doing it the "right" way, or was already cutting the same corners as me. But every time I shared one of my tips on Facebook, I was surprised to discover that a lot of people actually liked hearing my tips. Apparently, being lousy at housekeeping and coming up with clever shortcuts don't always go hand in hand. It takes a special person to turn a hatred of housework into a challenge. And apparently, I'm special.
Are you special, too? Do you read this blog and find yourself nodding along and saying, "Hey, I already do that!" Congratulations, you might be a Crappy Housewife! It's not an insult, it's a badge of honor. You don't have to be married, or female, or a stay-at-home parent, in order to be a Crappy Housewife. You just have to be a creative problem solver who finds a way out of doing housework whenever possible. And if you are a Crappy Housewife, please feel free to share your tips with me! I'll post them as "submitted by" you, and include a link to your blog, if you want.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Even when you have your own washer and dryer, it's worth it to take your laundry to the laundromat once in a while when you're really behind on laundry. Go late at night and take over all the machines. You can do 12 loads of laundry at the laundromat in the time it takes to do one at home.
It helps to have all your clothes clean at one time, at least once per season, so that you can effectively gauge what new clothes you might need for the next season. Plus, you just might find that red shirt you thought you lost, hiding at the bottom of a laundry pile.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
(Alternatively, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t do this. Just think of all the extra exercise you’ll get running up and down the stairs!)
A few side notes:
-Make sure to leave enough room beside the pile so that you can walk right past the stuff and forget about it.
-If the bottom step is full, use the next step. If the second step is full, use the third step. If all the steps are full, then you're probably at my house.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Some examples: Pack bag lunches while you’re making breakfast, put dinner in the crockpot while you’re making lunch, make twice as much dinner as you need tonight so there will be leftovers for tomorrow's dinner.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Keep a basket/box/bin in the bathroom for mail that needs to be sorted. Every time you're in there, you can sort through a piece or two (or twenty), and you'll soon find that you almost never have to make time to sort mail anymore. You can even put the shredder in the bathroom, too, and dispose of junk mail as you go.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Picture a recipe that calls for 1 1/2 cups of flour. You probably instinctively reach for the 1 cup measurer and the 1/2 cup measurer, right? But that dirties two dishes! Why not just fill the 1/2 cup measurer three times? Or, better yet, the 3/4 cup measurer twice?
Math can also help you in a pinch when a recipe calls for a measurement that you can't find the measuring utensil for. Can't find the tablespoon? Use three teaspoons. Need two cups of flour and can't find the 1 cup measurer? Fill the 2/3 cup three times.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
(Submitted by Neha)
Friday, August 26, 2011
Here's a Crappy Housewife approved list of milk substitutes for morning coffee:
-single serving creamers stashed from the last time you got coffee out somewhere
-hot chocolate powder (the "add water" kind, not the "add milk" kind)
-breast milk or formula
Milk substitutes I think might work but I haven't tried yet:
Milk substitutes I'm pretty sure won't work (but have seriously considered):
Sunday, August 21, 2011
If company is coming, and you don't have time for a thorough bathroom cleaning, clean the bathroom mirror. It brightens up the whole room.
Then, when you've cleaned the mirror, rub a dry cloth or paper towel over the faucet to shine it up. When you sprayed the Windex on the mirror, some will have misted down onto the sink, so it's an easy, quick job to polish the faucet.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
There are hundreds of nutritional/medical/developmental/emotional reasons to breastfeed your kids, but it's also a total Crappy Housewife's dream. Here are a few of the many labor-saving advantages of breastfeeding:
1. The poop of an exclusively breastfed baby doesn't smell nearly as bad as formula poop. So, if it takes you a few days to empty the trash, it's not the end of the world.
2. Breastfed poops are easier to wash out of cloth diapers, clothing, sheets, etc. than formula poops. And breastfed-poop stains literally disappear after an hour in the sun.
3. Breast milk spit-up and spills don't stain like formula.
4. No bottles to wash.
5. Nothing to pack (or forget) on outings. If the baby gets hungry, you have her food source attached to your chest. And you don't need to figure out a way to warm it up, either, it comes pre-heated to an ideal 98.6 degrees.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Practice the art of creative substitution.
No clean bowls? Eat your cereal in a mug. No clean spoons? Use a measuring spoon.
No clean glasses? Try a Mason jar. No clean knives? Spread your butter with a spatula.
Once you start to think outside of the box, you'll be surprised how many of the items in your kitchen are interchangeable.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
1. Load the dishwasher up with the dishes that are the easiest to prep - non-crusty dishes, mixing bowls, etc. The key for round one is to get the dishwasher full and running as soon as possible. Don't worry too much about conservation of space in this round, you just want to get a bunch of stuff out of the way. Run the dishwasher. If you have the choice, make sure to use the hottest possible setting for the final rinse.
2. While the dishwasher is running, prep the dishes for round two. Depending on your dishwasher, this could mean anything from just scraping the big chunks off into the trash to soaking, scrubbing, and practically washing every dish (and wondering what the point of the dishwasher is, anyhow). Stack the prepped dishes in piles of similar items to make loading the dishwasher for round two easier.
3. When the dishwasher finishes, open the door immediately. Pull out the racks and shake them vigorously to get as much water as possible off of them. (Do the top rack first, otherwise you will just shake the water from the top rack back onto the bottom rack.) If you do this while the dishes are still hot from the rinse cycle, they will dry quickly (and almost completely spot-free).
*Edited to add: You don't need to pull the racks all the way out, just shake them back and forth on their tracks and leave them sticking out as much as possible. The more they stick out, the quicker they will dry.
4. Go do something else for a few minutes.
5. Put away the dishes. Most of them will be dry enough to put away after a few minutes of drying, assuming you followed step 3 correctly. Plastic things might still be wet because they don't hold the heat enough to dry themselves, so just move any wet items to the dish drainer to finish drying.
6. Load up the dishwasher for round two. With your pre-sorted stacks, this step shouldn't take too long. Use your Tetris skills this time, to fit as much as possible into the dishwasher. Your pre-sorted stacks will come in handy for spacial organization, too.
7. While the dishwasher is running round two, assess the remaining dish situation. If it's enough to warrant a third dishwasher round, return to step 2. If not, just wash the remaining few dishes by hand.
Friday, August 12, 2011
1. Take everything out of the sink. (I told you not to put them in there, but do you ever listen?)
2. Dump out the nasty stuff, and stack things into piles of similar and stackable items. This clears up enough counter space for step 3.
3. Fill all the cups and mugs with hot water, and set them aside to soak.
4. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water, and as many of the stacks as you can fit. Pile all the silverware on one side of the sink.
5. The sink is too hot. Leave and go do something else for a while.
6. Oops, you spent too long doing something else, and now the water is cold. Empty the sink.
7. Refill the sink with WARM water. Fill a dish tub with hot water for rinsing.
8. Wash and rinse dishes, then pile as many as you can in the dish drainer.
9. When the dish drainer is full, move it to a clear counter, or the floor, and let those dishes dry. Move your spare dish drainer beside the sink and continue washing dishes.
10. If you find a crusty dish, scrape the gunk off with a spatula, then move it to the bottom of the pile to soak some more.
11. When the second dish drainer is full, switch the dish drainers again. The dishes in the first drainer should be dry enough to put away by now.
12. Once all of the smaller, stackable items (plates, bowls) and silverware are clean, work on the bigger items, like pots and pans and mixing bowls. These bigger items will fit on top of the smaller stuff in the dish drainers, so you can put off emptying the dish drainers for longer.
13. Wash the cups last. By the time you get to the cups, you should have cleared enough counter space to spread out some tea towels to dry the cups on. (If you have baking racks, put them under the tea towels - the extra air space will help them dry faster.)
14. Try to put all the dishes away. Realize that, when all of your dishes are clean, there isn't actually room for them all in the cupboards. Put a bunch of dishes in the dish drainer as temporary storage until you dirty enough dishes to make space for them.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Hanging takes less effort than folding, so hang as many of your clothes as you have closet space for. Invest in a few garment racks if you're short on closet space. Hanging clothes also means less ironing later. (Honestly, I don't even know where my iron is anymore. I avoid ironing at all costs.)
Bonus tip: Buy plastic hangers, and hang wet clothes on hangers straight out of the washer. They can dry right on the hanger, and skip the dryer completely. (Hey look, one of my tips is actually good for the environment!)
Friday, August 5, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Really messy floors? So gross that you're worried you might have to get down on your hands and knees and actually scrub? Try the Crappy Housewife Patented Sloppy Mop Technique*.
First, mop your way across the room without wringing out the mop. Your floor will be sopping wet, so make sure you don't slip and fall. (Bonus Tip: Do this job in bare feet, and scuff the bottoms of your feet a few times across the mop to clean them so you don't leave dirty footprints.)
Once the floor is sopping wet, go back to the other side and work your way across with a really well wrung-out mop. Almost all of the dried-on gunk will come up easily on the second pass. Stick a spatula in your pocket as you go, and use it to scrape up any rogue crusty bits.
*not actually patented
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Pajamas are not to be worn outside of the tent. There's no reason to get them grungy, too.
One exception to this: You can wear your pajamas outside the tent if they double as your clothes for the day. For example, if you are a baby and your clever mom figures out that a footed sleeper, coupled with a brimmed hat, protects 95% of your body from bug bites and sunburns without chemicals.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
You know the clean clothes you put on today will be just as dirty as yesterday's clothes in five minutes, so here's a tip: just pretend you woke up five minutes earlier and put on yesterday's clothes!
Friday, July 29, 2011
We go camping with a big group, so if each of us prepares two or three meals ahead of time, we have hearty, home-cooked meals for most of the trip, without a lot of on-site prep. Soups and stews are especially good make-ahead camping meals, because if you freeze them early enough, they will be solid bricks of ice and keep your cooler cold until you use them. I didn't even buy ice until after I thawed my stew on day three.
There are certain meals we always make when we go camping, because they freeze well, or require little to no fresh ingredients. Freeze ahead meals usually include: beef stew, vegetable potage, pulled pork, and foil packet dinners. Non-perishable meals for later in the trip usually include: spaghetti and chili. Sometimes I'll pick up some ground beef to add to the chili, otherwise, it's an all-canned recipe.
Another food work-saver we do when we go camping: Breakfast and lunch aren't fancy. Cold cereal, instant oatmeal, pop tarts, fruit, coffee, sandwiches, yogurt, granola bars. If you really want a hot breakfast, make sure to do it on an easy lunch/dinner day, or better yet, do breakfast for dinner one day.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
All the kids' clothes are going to get stained anyhow, so don't bother packing anything nice. Anytime you can't get a stain out of something, just stick it in the "save for camping" box (which you may occasionally dig into on "don't feel like doing laundry" days). Now you can let your kids (or your husband, or yourself) crawl in the dirt without worrying about all the scrubbing and pre-treating you'll have to do when you get home. This is also a great opportunity to pack ugly clothes that you have received as gifts from relatives. This comes with an added bonus, because you will probably take lots of pictures on your camping trip, which you can then send to said relatives, who will be touched that you appreciate their gift so much. "Look, Aunt Ellen, we're wearing the matching puppy tank tops you crocheted for us!" We love them so much, we only wear them on special occasions when no one we know is around.
Where does a Crappy Housewife go on vacation, you might ask? The answer is, "Somewhere with an even lower threshold of clean than home!"
We camped for nine days with a bunch of friends, and we spent much of the time we saved by not having to clean things playing games. It was a blast! Click here to read Sara's account of the gaming side of the trip.
Stay tuned for Crappy Housewife Tips: The Camping Edition!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Doing it yourself to save money isn't always economical. Before you try to darn those socks, do a little math. Figure out how much money you will be saving, and how much time it will take you. Calculate an hourly rate, then ask yourself, "If this was my job, would I be willing to work for these wages?"
Some examples from my own life* (yours will be different, these are just examples):
Cloth diapering: Money saved: about $14 per week. Time spent: about 2 hours per week. Hourly rate: $7. Worth it? For me, yep.
Baking my own bread: Money saved: about $3 per loaf. Time spent: about 2 hours for 2 loaves. Hourly rate: $3. Worth it? For me, nope.
Making my own chicken broth: Money saved: about $2 per can. Time spent: about 10 minutes for the equivalent of 3 cans (using leftover bones that cost me nothing). Hourly rate: $36. Worth it? Heck yeah!
Share some of your own calculations in the comments, I'd love to hear them!
*Time estimates don't include waiting times, like waiting for bread to rise or soup to boil, because you can do something else during that time. Value estimates don't include non-monetary values, like how much better my broth is than the canned stuff or how much you enjoy kneading bread, but you can factor that in during the "Worth it?" stage.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Buy good dish soap and use it liberally. When you break down the price per day, it's really not very expensive, and it makes dish washing much quicker and easier.
Added bonus: The more bubbles there are on the surface of the water, the less you have to look at the mess that lies beneath.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Don't put your dirty dishes in the sink. Yes, you read that right, I said "don't". Unless you are one of those awesome people who does the dishes immediately after every meal, dirty dishes in the sink are just going to be in the way. When the sink is full of dishes, you can't wash just one cereal bowl so you can eat breakfast. You can't get to the garbage disposal, so apple peels just lay around getting moldy, stinking, and attracting flies. You can't get the Brita under the tap to refill it, so you leave it empty in the fridge. Dishes that were only slightly dirty end up getting gross and sludgey from sitting inside pots that were left to soak. Metal things end up leaving rust circles on the bottom of the sink.
So please, at least when you come to visit me, don't put your dirty dishes in the sink. Stack them on the counter beside the sink; I'll get to them eventually.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Keep a couple of those $1 TV dinners in the freezer. When you don't feel like cooking dinner, take one out, look at it, remember how much it sucks, and suddenly find that you have enough energy to make spaghetti after all. Or, you can make the TV dinners, if your taste buds need a reminder. Either way, your family gets something for dinner, and it's cheaper than ordering pizza.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Make friends with other crappy housewives. Their houses will make you feel better about your own, and you won't have to clean up first if they are coming over.
Also make friends with non-crappy housewives. Their houses will remind you that it is humanly possible to keep a clean house, and stop you from getting any more complacent than you already are. Besides, inviting them over once in a while will motivate you to tidy up a bit.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Everyone knows that you can save yourself a lot of scrubbing by soaking food-encrusted dishes in warm water. (If you didn't know that, congratulations, you get two tips today!) But what about food-encrusted surfaces that don't fit in your sink, like countertops, griddles, and kitchen floors? Are you doomed to scrub them? Never! Just soak a tea towel in warm water and drape it over the crusty surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe up the gunk. If there are any globs of gunk that don't wipe up easily, use a hard plastic spatula (the pancake flipping kind) to scrape them up.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
I don't mind vacuuming - compared to other household tasks, anyhow. What I hate is clearing all the clutter out of the way so that the vacuum cleaner can actually reach the carpet. That's why I keep a snow shovel handy year-round.
Use the shovel to shove everything into a big pile, right next to the toy box. (A broom works, too, if you have hardwood floors.) Then, sit down next to the pile with a laundry basket and trash bag, and sort the pile from there. 90% of the pile is either toys, trash, or laundry, and the rest of the pile is small enough to scoop up and put in one of your many "deal with it later" spots, like the bottom step or the kitchen table. Now you can vacuum, quick, before company gets there!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Don't have carpet? No problem! Just use a snow shovel and scrape all the gunk into a pile where you can easily sweep it into a dustpan (or under a chair).
And hang onto that snow shovel, you'll be needing it for tomorrow's tip!
Friday, July 1, 2011
(And no, I don't want to hear about your awesome, "Clean the pot after using it so it's ready to go next time," system. This is the Crappy Housewife Tip for a reason.)