Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January Week 4: Paper Supplies

How is your week-by-week food storage going so far? Again, don't get discouraged if you fall behind a week or two... just pick up with whatever calendar week we're currently on. You can always pick up the missed weeks later on, or next year, when they come back up in the schedule. Its just good to keep on working on whatever you can!

This week we're on January Week 4.  The items to collect and store this week are as follows:

January Week 4: Paper supplies: paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, plastic utensils, 
napkins, Kleenex, toilet paper

Store the items you will need on hand for the upcoming year. Weigh each item as to what your family would use, but keep in mind that long-term emergencies may require some different items than what you would normally use. If you don't really use paper towels, you probably won't need many rolls, but you may want to consider storing some (because they may come in handy for some emergency use). Same with paper plates, cups and utensils. 

If storing a whole year's supply of toilet paper seems overwhelming, just buy a few large packages and start with that. You can add to your stockpile later on, but get at least a few of everything in storage!

Once you're decided on amounts of each item that you'll need for the week, add them to your shopping list, and get to the store in the next day or two. Get the items home, and on the shelves and update your inventory list.

One thing that is nice, is that once you've collected these items, you don't necessarily have to rotate through them, which means next year, you wouldn't need to buy anything additional this particular week. Sometimes I will run out of something and run down to get a box of Kleenex or some napkins, or something. If I don't get around to replacing it, I know that next year, when I go through the inventory, it will show that I'm one package down from what I should have, and I'll know I need to restock on one or two of the items.

So, now we are done with January! To go back and review what January's items are, go to the "Week-by-Week Food Storage Plan" tab.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January Week 3: Medications

This week's food storage item is below, highlighted in pink. We are in the third week of January. To find the original plan and the prior weeks, click the tab above that is marked "Week By Week Food Storage Plan"

January Week 3: Medicines: Excedrin, aspirin, Advil, Pepto Bismol, cough drops, Tums... whatever YOUR family will need as far as medications in the coming year.

January: Week 3

As with other weeks, you can assess what you want to store, and go as basic or complete as you desire. For my family, I have a bottle or package of each of the medications. I keep them in a container up on a shelf in our food storage room and I rotate them into regular use. Today, when I did my inventory of those supplies, I took the medications that were going to expire this year out of the container, and put them on my regular medicine shelf in my kitchen so that we'll use them. I also wrote those same medications on my shopping list for this week, and I'll get them back up on the food storage shelf and "inventoried" as soon as I have a chance to pick them up from the store.

Keep in mind that some weeks there won't be anything to "re-buy" since not everything expires every year, AND since there are many items on the list that never expire. 

If you get busy and find yourself behind on the lists, just pick up wherever you are and start again. The point is to just keep on working on having things in supply, and ANYTHING is better than NOTHING.

Once you have this system in place, it shouldn't take more than ten minutes a week to maintain it.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Painting Project: Prepping and My Favorite Painting Supplies

I think one of the reasons people dread painting so much, is that there is a lot of prep work. It's not my favorite part, but I just figure that into my work day, and it doesn't bother me too much. Especially because I know that if I take my time and prep well, the painting will look much better and go much smoother.

Before prepping, I set up a good work station. Now, unfortunately, I have set this up on my kitchen table, which means that we can't really use it until I'm done, but since I don't really have time to cook while painting, it all seems to work out in the end.

I start with a good thick towel or covering.

I've used a lot of different products to patch, but this is by far my favorite. It goes on easily, dried fast, and it has a primer built in to it, so it covers really well with even just the first coat of paint. Love it!  I don't have a picture of the spreader that I use along with it, but I use a metal one that is about 1-1/2" wide. Just remember to wash it after each use, before the spackling dries on it.

Sanding sponges are a must. They help smooth out the spackling, as well as any other imperfections along the way.

Blue tape with edge-lock. I go through a lot of this, but it's worth it. One thing about my main floor, is that we have stained wood trim. So, although that makes it so that I don't have to repaint my trim (yay!), I do have to tape it off really well. Blue tape works really well.

Good paintbrushes are a must! I love a 2" angled brush for cutting in around trim, and in the corners.

As far as roller pads go, invest in the good ones. If you go for the cheapies, they can leave fuzz on your walls. I've had that experience, and there isn't much you can do once the fuzz is on the walls. Ugh. These pro doo-z don't leave any thing at all, and after painting for a couple of weeks, I'm still using my first roller pad. When I'm done for the day, I wrap it all up in a plastic grocery bag, so that no air can get to it. The next time I paint, I pull the bag off, and the pad is wet and ready to go. I don't ever wash my roller pads. Too much of a pain, and it seems you never really get all the paint out. I buy a good supply, and change them out whenever I feel the need.

This Wooster Pelican is a something I just found this time around of painting. It has disposable liners, if you want to go that route, but the thing I like about it, is it's easy to carry around when I'm using the paintbrush. And when I'm done with the brush, it has a magnet on the side that keeps the brush up and out of the paint, but still able to drip into the container. Brilliant!

Of course there are other supplies you'll need: a roller pan with liners (I hate washing out roller pans), plenty of rags, baby wipes (another genius method of cleaning up spills as you go), screwdrivers (for removing electrical outlet covers, etc), paint stirrers, and anything else you think is necessary.

After you have all your supplies gathered, spend a day prepping. Tape everything carefully and thoroughly. It takes time, but once it's done, it's done. You'll notice the tape around the doorways, and the cabinets, as well as the rocks below...

More tape...

When you come to outlet and switch covers, REMOVE THEM! It is so easy to remove them, and it makes it so much easier to paint. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people paint right over, or try to paint around. And once they're removed, it is nice to throw a piece of tape over the switches or outlets so that paint doesn't get on them. So easy!  I have a small container where I keep all the covers and screws so that as soon as the fresh paint is dry, I can easily take that container around with me and replace all the covers.

Once the taping is done, get painting! Make sure you have plenty of dropcloths. My favorite is the plastic lined canvas cloths. If you have a spill, the paint doesn't go through the plastic. 

Painting update: I've finished the family room, kitchen and family room upper stairway. Today I'll tape off the hall way, and hopefully get a coat of paint on it. Moving along...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January Week 2: Cleansers

This week's food storage items are:

January Week 2: Detergents, bleach, cleansers, laundry detergent, dish detergent, bathroom and window cleaners

Some detergents and cleansers have expiration dates on them and some don't. Either way, I would rotate through them just to keep them fresh.

First, you will need to determine which cleansers you want to keep on your shelves. You can't believe how handy it is to have a good supply to fall back on. Decide what you use, and what you will need in the coming year. You can just keep some of the very basics, like bleach, Comet, and Lysol, or you can really take stock and get a year's supply of all of the cleansers you use in a year. I started by just storing two or three different items, but now I get most of what I'll use in a year. It's nice to pick it up in bulk at Costco, or get the items at a case lot sale (which, by the way, they have going on right now at Harmon's).

After you've determined how much you want in your storage, make a shopping list and in the next day or two, go out and pick up the items. Bring them home, get them on your shelves, and update your inventory sheets. Done. It's as easy as that. It literally only takes minutes to do this every week, and in a year's time, you will have a great stock of items that your family actually uses. This is what I love about this system. It's a rotating one, so you have very little (or no) waste along the way.

As a guideline, I've included a list below from Real Simple that includes some expiration dates for regular household items, including cleansers. I think some of the dates are on the conservative side, as I've used some of the items well after the time shown below, and they've still been fine.

Air freshener, aerosol
2 years

Antifreeze, premixed
1 to 5 years

Antifreeze, concentrate

Batteries, alkaline
7 years

Batteries, lithium
10 years

3 to 6 months

Dish detergent, liquid or powdered
1 year

Fire extinguisher, rechargeable
Service or replace every 6 years

Fire extinguisher, nonrechargeable
12 years

Laundry detergent, liquid or powdered
Unopened: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months

Metal polish (silver, copper, brass)
At least 3 years

Miracle Gro, liquid
Opened: 3 to 8 years

Miracle Gro, liquid, water-soluble

Motor oil
Unopened: 2 to 5 years
Opened: 3 months

Mr. Clean
2 years

Unopened: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years

Spray paint
2 to 3 years

2 years

Wood polish (Pledge)
2 years

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Big Project -- Painting the Main Floor, Part 1

I have been wanting to repaint most of our main floor for several months now, so I made a promise to myself that I'd start as soon as I could after the new year. It's a pretty big project, since there are several rooms that flow into each other. Which means that every one of those rooms needs to be painted if you paint any one of them. I started on one end (the family room), and will move to the kitchen, the stairway, the hallway, the living room, the dining room, and the entry. In that order, hopefully. 

We've had a straw yellow paint color for 17 years now, so I felt it was time for a fresh coat and a fresh look. I chose a light, warm gray. I actually painted my bedroom in that color a few years ago, and I have loved it, so I knew I would love it in these areas too. 

This is the family room after I've taped it off and prepped it for painting. Yellow walls that need freshening!

The first day of painting, I had so many things crammed into the day, that this is all I got done in the two hours that I was able to paint...

The next day (yesterday), I got to it and got a first coat on the whole room before my husband came home from work. We ran out to Taco Bell (this is how we eat when we're doing projects), came back and he helped me run a second coat over everything. Can I just tell you how much faster it is when one person is rolling and the other is cutting in? It goes lickety split.

So... we've got one room down. I haven't put anything back on the shelves yet, but you get the idea. I love this look. I really, really love the gray with the stone and the warm stained wood tones. It still looks yellowish in some places, because of the lighting, but it's a beautiful gray. 

I can't wait to get started in the kitchen. I'll be taping and prepping today. And maybe starting to paint, even. Yay!

When I get a minute, I'll share some of the tools and tricks I've learned along the way. There are some great products out there that help to make things go really smoothly.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January Week 1: Discounted Christmas Wrap, Cards, Paper, etc.

Since its January, its time to start the food storage rotation all over again. I'll keep posting each Tuesday of the week all throughout the year. Many of you follow the blog and count on the reminder, so I feel like we should keep up those Tuesday posts. If you're new to this plan, read on to find out more about the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan. I've used this plan for several years now, and through that process, I'm pretty sure I have most of the kinks worked out. The thing I really like about this particular plan is that it breaks it all down to into weekly, bite-sized pieces. I also like that you can jump in wherever you are in the year, and just start from that particular week. Its a good, "non-overwhelming" way to get started (and continue!) on your food storage!

For those who are looking at this plan for the first time, I'll give a quick over-view...

This is the sheet that I use that shows each month with four weeks listed and the items to work on each of those weeks:

The first year I implemented it, I just stocked our shelves with whatever was on the list for the week. The next year, at the beginning of each week, I checked my inventory of each item for the week, rotated if needed, tossed out expired things, and then made sure that my stock was up-to-date and consisted of the correct amounts for what our family needed.

To go along with the above week-by-week sheet, I have a corresponding inventory sheet (notice how the colors match up with the colors on the weekly schedule). It has all of the items in my food/emergency storage. This is one page of seven in my inventory sheet set:

Every year I tweak it a bit according to our needs. Our family has changed through the years from a family of four children, to teens, to now all married, and expecting our 6th and 7th grandchild. So, we've adapted through the years according to our needs. This system is easily adaptable, so that isn't a problem. I also look at other lists that come across my desk and add things that aren't yet in our emergency storage. So, the list is ever-changing, which is good. I also hate to throw food out, so I don't want to store more than I need to be storing. I try to store what we will use in the coming year (along with some long-term food storage).

I'm going to post the food storage "items for the week" on this blog so that it will remind me and maybe spark something in somebody out there in blog-land to make sure you and I both, are ready for any upcoming emergency. One thing you need to know is that items for the week are guidelines. You can decide what in that particular category you would really want to have in your food storage. For instance, in the 2nd week of January, the items are cleansers. This could be just the basics that you might want to have set aside in case of an emergency, or the full-blown array of cleansers you might use in a year's time. I decided I wanted to do a true "year's supply" for my family, so I try to keep the basic items that I will use within the year. I may or may not include stain remover, or floor cleaner. It all depends on what you want to have in your supply. You also may want to start out with the very basics and then add to the list as the years go on. (A bit easier on the pocketbook!)

The first week in January, the items are easy...

January Week 1: Watch for and buy 50% off on Christmas items, cards, paper, ribbons, etc.

Notice I've highlighted these in pink. They will correspond with the items on my inventory sheet set (7 pages) so that I can find them right away on the list, know how many I should have in storage, and then know how many I need to put on my shopping list for that week. On my inventory sheet set, I record the quantity I have, the size of the package, the expiration date, and the amount I should have in storage. There is also a place to mark off if I have enough of the item and the date that item was checked off.

Does that all make sense? Clear as mud, right? It makes perfect sense to me, but I KNOW I don't think the same way as everyone else, so it might just be a bunch of jibberish to all of you. If any of it is helpful, then its all good.

Now, for this week's items, you may or may not have an interest in stock-piling these. There are a couple of reasons I've included Christmas Items on the list. One, they are all on sale right now, and it's an excellent time to stock up for next year. Two, if you're like me, you already stock-pile them, but you have no idea how much you really have. So, next year, when you're at the store and see wrapping paper, you think to yourself, "Well, I better buy a few rolls, since I'm not really sure what I've got left from last year". This way you will KNOW that you have way too many rolls for any one household to have. In the past, In the past, I didn't include this week's items on my inventory sheet, but after actually seeing what I have stacked up in the corner of my storage closet, I decided I better put it on the inventory sheet so that I'll know what I have, and I will remember that I don't need to shop for Christmas wrapping and bags until somewhere around 2028.

If you don't want to shop for or keep track of Christmas Supplies, then you get this week off. Work on preparing a good space for your food storage items -- getting some shelves and space ready for the week to come!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

'Hope this year is full to the brim of happiness, good health, growth, service and love -- all the while surrounded by those we love the most!