Creating a Plan for your Household and Kitchen

If you are are in NY State like I am, you might be dealing with some of the following:

  • Suddenly, everyone is home all the time.
  • Your household size has increased suddenly as people return from trips or less secure locations.
  • Your fridge is full of food, but it is disorganized and chaotic.
  • Your fridge and/or pantry is not that full, and it has become harder to leave the house and shop.
  • You are used to eating out a lot, not much of a cook, and you are feeling overwhelmed by the necessities of feeding yourself or your family.

Over the coming weeks I am going to be sharing as much information as I can for free here on my site, because I feel that is the only ethical thing to do in this moment. However, coming soon I will have a few other option as well, including Group Zoom Classes (which will be sliding scale 0-15$ to attend) and Private Zoom Classes, as well as Remote Home/Kitchen/Property Consults for efficiency and resilience.

My goal is to help you survive and thrive; to increase your efficiency and decrease your waste when it comes to food and cooking; and to create protocols to keep your kitchen and household running smoothly and safely.

What makes me qualified? I have been doing this for more than 10 years. I am very used to living in crowded kitchens or homes, cooking and eating thriftily and efficiently, and growing or foraging at least some portion of my own food. After all, those are all common elements of living or working in an intentional community.

fertile minds

Partial Family Photo, Fertile Minds Collective, Summer 2009

Those of us who have been living in the counter culture — communal housing, communes, the modern day ‘hippy’ culture, small farmers, homesteaders — we have developed a lot of skills and systems for living abundantly on very little money, and with very few trips to the store. And thankfully, it is almost springtime, which means it is also time to start making gardening plans.

twee fontaine

Tweefontein Herb Farm Family Photo, Summer 2013

With everything changing so quickly recently I have been kept very busy, but I want to start sharing skills, because I see it as crucial and potentially life saving in this time. I am worried that the economic effects may be worse than the virus itself, and I foresee many people needing to overhaul their household budgets.

So, here are some of my first suggestions for household and kitchen management during this time. Some come out of my normal experience living communally, others are more directly a response to the recent Covid Pandemic conditions. More coming soon.

  • Redesign your living space to reflect the new ways you are using it, keep yourself and your household safe, and preserve mental health and quality relationships.
    • My household just went from 2 to 3; also, all three of us are now mostly working from home. To manage stress and stir-craziness, we did a quick pivot turning a bedroom into a daytime office space for my partner.
    • My shed was mostly storage space, and not at all organized or functional. It is now on the way to becoming a daytime summer office for me, so that we will not all be stuck on top of each other — and, I can get some space.
    • The builder who I recently hired to make me a custom coffee table instead made us a quick desk for my partners temporary office space, and is now working on making me 1-2 tent platforms in my backyard that could be used for summer social distancing ‘guestrooms,’ retreat spaces, or quarantine spaces if one of us gets sick.
  • Reorganize your fridge to increase prep time efficiency and limit food waste.
    • Take everything out.
    • Deep clean it.
    • Reorganize it according to how quickly things go bad: Have a shelf for stable things that will last a long time. Have a different shelf or section for leftovers or things that go bad quickly like fresh greens, cheese, or meat.
    • Date all left overs with a piece of tape when you put them into the fridge.
    • Create more space by removing things that don’t actually need to be refrigerated, like vinegar or honey.
    • If you are on well water and without a generator, make sure you have at least a gallon or so of fresh tap water in your fridge in case you lose power. Change it out once a week.
    • Consider cooking 5-10 easy to thaw, single serving meals for storage in the freezer, in case you are too sick to cook a meal for yourself.
  • Create an entry and protocol for your home, and a thought out plan for shopping trips. This will keep you safer as well as making decision moments less stressful, because you have already thought it out.
    • Consider making a mudroom or entry space into an undressing zone — leave all outdoor shoes and coats in this room and do not bring them into the house. Take off and immediately wash all clothes when entering the house from being in the outside world, or even in your car.
    • When going to a store, bring only the bare necessities, thus creating less touch points for spreading germs. Leave your cell phone in the car when shopping. Leave your wallet and bring only one card. Disinfect hands and card when you return to the car.
    • Sit down and have a conversation with all the adults in your household, to get on the same page. Consider writing out house or kitchen protocols, posting them somewhere in the kitchen, and agreeing to them as a household. Think about making a chore chart, or having your “main kitchen person” give a tour of where everything lives and what help they could use, to relieve the increased cooking pressure on them and share more responsibilities.

And hey — While we are at it: What better time to learn to cook a few of your favorite dishes, or teach your kids to make some easy dishes? A household with only one able cook is a household in danger of having no cooks, at least temporarily.

That’s all for now — more tips, and more information about virtual classes coming soon.

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Homemade veggie and dairy preserves; store well, easy to make, and deeply nutritious.

 

 

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