Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

Prepare as much as food as possible at home before you go. I know, I know, forethought and preparedness are not the Crappy Housewife way, but this is one instance where it's totally worth it. This year, I made our foil packet dinners ahead of time at home and froze them. My foil packet dinners involve raw chicken, which is a huge pain to clean up when you are camping and have to drive two miles to fetch water and heat it over the fire. I set up a little assembly line at home and assembled the packets in about half the time it would have taken on the camping trip, and the clean-up took about a quarter as long, what with the hot running water and all.

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

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

Bugs are attracted to the smell of clean bodies, soap, and shampoo. So not showering isn't the lazy option, it's the smart option!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

If you can squeeze it in, pack the dish drainer. I know it seems ridiculous, but it could save you 30 minutes per day in drying and putting away dishes. When you're done washing dishes, just put them in the drainer, throw a towel over them to keep the trail spice off, and just grab them right back out of the drainer for the next meal. You can put them away overnight if you feel so inclined, but as long as they are clean, they should be of no interest to nocturnal creatures (unless you are camping somewhere with very civilized bears who prefer to use cutlery).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crappy Housewife Camping Tip of the Day

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.

Back from vacation!

A huge thank you to my faithful web-gnome Erin for posting my tips for me while I was away on vacation, far from the internet.

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

It can be a great laundry-saving trick to engage in some activities clothing-free (such as eating messy food and cleaning grimy tubs), however, there are some activities it is best to always approach clothed. Ironing and frying bacon are on that list. Trust me. You don't want to learn this the hard way, too.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Thinking of making eggs as a quick and easy dinner, but not sure how much energy you have for the clean up? Before you ask anybody, "How do you like your eggs?" first consult this handy reference guide:

Types of eggs, ranked by ease of clean up:
6. scrambled
5. omelet
4. over-easy
3. sunny side up
2. poached
1. soft-boiled/hard-boiled
0. raw

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

So, you're doing the dishes, and your sink is full of hot, soapy water. You reach for a mug, only to discover that it's full of stinky,moldy, old coffee (or some other liquid nastiness). You don't want to dump it in the sink, with all the other dishes, and pouring it in the trash is just asking for leaks. What should you do? Dump it in the toilet!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Don't use matching cups. If all the cups are the same, then when you set your cup down, you will forget which one is yours, and have to get a new one. If everyone has a different cup, then the next time you go to get a drink you'll be able to use the same cup, thus saving dishes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Invest in some paper plates. Yeah, I know they're not good for the environment, but they can really help curb the growth of Dish Mountain if you use them anytime you're not having a sit-down meal. Sometimes you need to invest in your sanity.

(Besides, I have a hard time believing that a thin paper plate will have much of an environmental impact, especially when everyone likes to tell me that washing my cloth diapers is just as bad for the environment as using disposables. If that's true, then washing a plate is WORSE for the environment than using a paper plate. At least paper plates decompose.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Make friends with the adult children of former crappy housewives. They don't judge you for your house and picking up after a crappy housewife is second nature to them. You might find that your house is a little cleaner every time they leave. (The latter does not apply to children who have gone on to become crappy housewives themselves, but they still won't judge your house.)

(Submitted by the web-gnome.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If a dish only had water in it, it's not dirty. Just stick it back in the cupboard (or in the dish drainer to dry). Some examples of not-dirty dishes: measuring cups/spoons that were used to measure water, glasses that were used to fill the Brita that you couldn't fit under the tap because the sink was too full of dishes, pitchers that were used to water plants.

Addendum: Drinking glasses that somebody drank water out of are dirty, please don't put them straight back in the cupboard.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Keep leftovers in empty yogurt tubs, take-out containers, spaghetti sauce jars, and other containers that would have otherwise just gone in the trash or recycle bin. That way, if something dies in them, you won't feel bad just throwing out the container as well.

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Keep leftovers in glass/ceramic containers. Mold can't penetrate glass, so you can still get them clean even after you find them at the back of the fridge growing an impressive colony of blue fuzz!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Put leftovers in the fridge in see-through containers. You're more likely to eat things you can see. And you can tell sooner when things have gone bad.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When food goes bad in your fridge and it looks/smells so bad you want to throw out the dish instead of washing it, try this instead: freeze it. When it's frozen, there's no awful odors, and you can pop the whole frozen mess out of the dish easily and throw it away! Then quickly rinse the dish before washing. Easy moldy-food cleanup!

(Submitted by Amy) 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Don't clean out your fridge until garbage day. Once the rotten food is out of the cold-induced hibernation of the fridge, it will start to smell really bad, so you want to get that stink out of your house and to the curb as quickly as possible. By leaving this task until garbage day, you make sure that moldy leftovers remain in stink-stasis until the last possible minute.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

 Are you sure it's laundry day? Are you sure it's not "buy more
underwear" day?

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Clean your bathtub naked. That way, when you're done, you can just take a shower (which does the double duty of getting you clean and rinsing the tub), and you don't have to do any extra grimy laundry.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Let your kids eat spaghetti naked. It's easier to get sauce out of skin than clothes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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.

Words to Live By

Less work now often means more work later, but it also means less work now. It's not later yet, why should later get a vote?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Messy kids? Rice for dinner? Sticky, gunky messes are no problem when you use the amazing, "Wait until morning then vacuum it all up," technique!

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

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

So, you want to make pasta, and the pot is dirty? Boil water in the kettle while you wash the pot so it's already hot and ready to go when the pot is clean!

(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.)