Homekeeping resources: ebooks

This is really a huge topic, but I will try to be succinct. (all links given here will open in a new tab/window)

Ebooks

There are a ton of ebooks out; a fair number are good quality books. I, in my tightwad ways, might notice a book I want to read and will wait till I see it free on amazon, or a sign-up-for-this freebie, or somesuch. Most of the ebooks I have, I got for free. Legally. Some have been pretty bad, and some quite good, and the majority in the middle. Occasionally, I’ll pay for an ebook, such as when, last spring, there was an offer of a huge swath of homkeeping-mothering-parenting-and-all-other-topics-that-an-adult-woman-in-the-US-might-be-interested-in ebook bundle. I’ve found the best way to find ebooks you’ll be interested in is to find the blogs that cover the topic you are interested in. Of course, if you just want free ebooks, a site like http://www.free-ebooks.net/ might be what you want.
In general, ebooks tend to be shorter and more focused than bound books (at least in my experience), such as ‘time management’ or ‘scheduling’ in one book, while another book discusses the documents that are helpful in homemaking (to do lists, calendars, etc).
Here are the ebooks that I’ve found most useful in my quest to better my homekeeping skills.
Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider (http://simplemom.net/books/) — I got this book as a free amazon book in Jan 2012. She walks you through establishing your own family’s mission and vision, and then helps you figure out your priorities such that what you do lines up with your family’s mission (purpose statement is what she calls it). This is a great book for figuring out how to go about living simply
Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule so you can Live Free, by Annie Dillard (tellyourtime.com). Wow, this book was awesome! The author walks you through defining your roles, using those roles as a guide for establishing priorities, then uses those as foundations for setting up a weekly schedule. This has been the best book I’ve read, so far, about scheduling and how to go about it.
Organizing Life as Mom, by Jessica Getskow Fisher (www.lifeasmom.com). This book is the nuts and bolts of homekeeping and general parental organizing. The book is a compilation of “worksheets and planning pages to help you get your act together”. I use several pages from this book, which I’ve laminated, for my weekly planning. When you buy the book, you get a monthly update with new worksheets and planning pages and a new monthly calendar jpg you can use for your desktop background. I really like this.

Other useful ebooks

There are other ebooks that I enjoyed, learned from, or have good information, but aren’t one my MVB list.
The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule, by Amy Roberts (raisingarrows.net). She walks you through establishing a schedule for your home. It was straightforward and useful information, ideas, and guidance.
Hula Hoop Girl, by September McCarthy (hulahoopgirl.net). This book more deals with our own tendency to get overly involved and too busy. Are you trying to keep more hula hoops spinning than you really ought? Or perhaps you are trying to keep more plates spinning than you ought? Either way, this book was really good at taking the reader through these issues and focusing one’s efforts.
Do the Funky Kitchen, by Laura Coppinger (www.heavenlyhomemakers.com). My kitchen is the control center of my home. And I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and in the dinning room. This book walks you through getting your kitchen into shape to work for you, which the author admits that she needs to do on a regular basis. I should probably do this again soon.
Next up: What I actually do!
Yep, finally, after how long? I’ll walk you through what I’ve done in the past and what I’m doing and what I’ve found works and doesn’t work and what really doesn’t matter. At least in my life.

Flow in the Kitchen

As my previous post was related to one of my favorite blogs, so this one is.  Auntie Leila mentioned thinking about how your kitchen flows when you are working in, so I started thinking. I realized I had a pretty good system that only needed a bit of tweaking.

So… here goes. I hope I can express well my thoughts and that you, oh, reader, will understand.

When I started working on the kitchen — (in the midst of making bread and dishes not done… just being honest!)

The right side holds the sink, the dishwasher and cabinets. Plates and bowls are in the cabinet above the dishwasher. Drinking glasses and mugs are in the cabinet just to the right of the sink and all tupper-style containers in the cabinets to the lower right of the sink. (Hubby created a wonderful organization system for the lids.) When I was still drinking coffee, pre-pregnancy, the coffee maker sat under the paper towel roll.

This counter space stays busy. Dirty dishes go on the right and clean dishes to the left; that makes it easy to put still wet tupper-style containers in the dish drainer.

One the left side of the kitchen is the fridge, the stove, microwave and plenty of cabinets. Pots and pans are in the drawer on the bottom of the stove, my container of cooking utensils, such as spatulas and spoons, is to the right of the stove, and the knives to the left. All the things I use for cooking are on this side: spices are in the cabinet to the upper left of the stove, measuring cups in the cabinet to the upper left of the stove and in the drawer just to the left. Mixer, rice maker, griddle, tortilla press, food processor (and several more small electrical appliances) live in the cabinets to the lower left of the stove.

The kitchen is just the right width for me. Someone can work on each side and still move freely, in fact, over Thanksgiving I think we had 5 women maneuvering around each other (it got crowed, for sure). The pantry is at the far end of the left side (open door), and the laundry room is at the far end on the right side (see the laundry waiting?). The kitchen triangle is pretty good; this is the lines between the stove, fridge and sink. They should flow easily and not be blocked by anything (ideally, I think). There is plenty of counter space and cabinet storage. Should I get the chance to design a kitchen there are things I’d do differently, but this isn’t too bad, at all.

I gave it all some thought. I realized I do most of my chopping, mixing, etc on the counter to the left of the stove, but its crowded there with the microwave and toaster there. The knife holder should be there, with all the veggy chopping to do there. Often, I end up doing some on the counter next to the sink, b/c my preferred counter is too crowed for work. My cookbook, if I have one, will often block the microwave, thus shuffling is required to warm water for bread or some such. I’ve given up coffee for the pregnancy, so that cabinet had some more room. After making sure Hubby was okay with the changes, I moved the microwave to under the paper towel roll, along with the toaster next to it. I did some more clearing off and picking up and now have this:

I now I have a nice, wide open space to do all the chopping, mixing and kneading my cooking requires of me. The ride side counter is a tad crowded, but I think it better to have one crowded, one open counter, than to have 2 semi-crowded counters. I’ll see how this works, and might make more changes, but I don’t want to make too many at once. There will be habits to change as locations change.

So, reader, what do you think? Let me know what you think of my lay out and my ideas, and I pass the challenge on to you to consider the flow in your kitchen and how can you make it better.

Shortly-after update: I decided to put a towel on the drawer handle that is just to the right of the sink as a dedicated hand towel. The towels on the stove, I think, should be dedicated to cooking and hand wiping while cooking — then they can get dirty all I need without worry about drying my hands on them (or drying clean dishes).