A new year to me is symbolic of a new start. I’ve never set New Year’s resolutions, and I’m not going to start now. For one thing, I know I’m not going to keep to it anyway. But a new start at the beginning of a new year is what it is for me.
I’m a really bad housekeeper. I’m not just saying so, I really am! My house is always a mess.
Mainly because I don’t see why I have to work myself into an early grave. I work full day, cook meals, do the laundry, look after my kids and my husband – and yes, I do think that’s enough. My house really is always a mess. I’m not a neat person. I try to be, but I’m not. I rarely put things away after I’ve used them, because I forget; it flies right out of my head the moment I’m finished. I forget to fill the sugar bowl when I’ve emptied it (much to my husband’s chagrin).
One thing I have discovered to make my life a little bit easier is meal planning. Now, to some of you this might be old news. For South African women this is a new concept. Really. I haven’t found one single friend, acquaintance or colleague who knows about meal planning, how to do it and what a life saver it can be. Also it saves me money.
I would be driving home, thinking of what to cook for supper: “Mmm…I think some bolognaise and pasta. But do I have minced meat in the fridge? I can’t remember. I’ll just stop at the corner shop and get a packet” The corner shop is of course more expensive than the supermarket. And when I get home I will find two or three packets of mince already in the freezer.
But when I plan my meals, I buy only what I need. I know whatever I had planned for the day is already in the freezer/fridge and I only have to stop at the corner shop every third day or so for fresh milk, bread, salad greens and tomatoes (I’m big on tomatoes).
I do my meal planning on a monthly basis, but you can do it weekly, bi-weekly, whatever suits you best. I start with a list of favourite dishes (meals) like:
Fish and chips
Then I take the calendar and write down when we will be eating what, leaving room for a take-away meal once a month as a special treat, and also leaving space for a “New Dish” once a month – so that we can expand our list. My calendar has space for supper on weekdays and lunch over the weekend and also some room for extra notes like whose birthday it is and what else I need to do on that day:
This also ensures that my family doesn’t get pasta every night, because I can see the spacing of the meals. Then I mark off on my list how many times the dish appears on my calendar and what items I need to put on my grocery list and how many of each. This is also much less stressful if you have had a hectic day and the last thing you feel like doing is deciding on what to cook. It’s already been done.
Also I like a “Master grocery list”. It’s a full list of everything I buy and I add to it as and when necessary. That means that I can print out the list every month and check the cupboards for what is there and mark it off, which means that I won’t forget anything – which I used to do quite often in the past.
Well, that’s me on housewifely things. Yes, I am a bad housewife.
Oh and PS? Those last two are just tables. You can have it. Or not. :-)