Monday, March 11, 2013

A Place for Everything

To live a self sufficient life you have to be at least minimally organized. Where do you start though? This would seem to be pretty simple and common sense at first glance. I mean organizing is easy, right? Of course it is!  That's why there are dozens of self-help books and Internet sites devoted to the subject. Haha. I myself generally fall into the organizational category of organized chaos.  It is my nature and no matter how hard I have tried to retrain myself, I seem to fail. Alas, it does not help a homestead when most of the planning and organizing falls into this category of organized chaos. I've found I can help myself by choosing just a couple areas to focus on at a time rather than trying to have every single thing organized every minute of every day.

Our garden has turned out to be our first and foremost self sufficiency concern. It is our top priority spring to fall. It is important that we are able to follow along with proper planting, care and harvesting for our food production. This brings up my first point of focus and that is consistency. It helps our organizing immensely to have a regular routine. Things that we each do on a regular basis. Whether it is daily or the same day each week or in the same pattern (every other day, every third Tuesday of the month) that you do at a specific time for a similar generalized duration of time each time you do it. This helps to form a habit which helps to ensure things are getting done. Knowing that I am sometimes physically limited by my disability I realize it is sometimes easier said than done and truly that's part of figuring out what works best for you personally.

In all seriousness it is hard to set goals and be motivated at times. Frankly when the temperature is in the single digits I like nothing more than to stay snuggled in bed all toasty warm. It’s difficult for me to be motivated on those days but it is even harder if I don't have an idea of what I want to do that day. It’s just as hard if I don't know what I have or what I need to accomplish that day’s goals. It’s equally hard if I do not have a secondary plan to fall back on. I found out that when you are first starting out on the road to self sufficiency the items you "need" can be seemingly endless but so can the number of the things you need to learn and do. Starting with the big things like finding a property, taking a class or fixing a leaky faucet all the way down to the tiny things like buying a pocket knife. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes you fail. It is very necessary to have a plan B and even a plan C for everything from what you are going to do/accomplish that day to what is for dinner.

My number one solution...LISTS. Lists have become my best friends. Starting with buying our house. I had lists of locations, houses, features, negotiable items, non-negotiable items and so on. Now I have Lists of supplies, projects, food rotation, and even things we'd like to try. Are you buying something? Will it be new or used? Are you working on a project or making something? What from? What do you need? How will you get it? When do you need it by? Is it essential? As a rule of thumb we have a tiny budget to work with and like to recycle so we look for most things used before buying them new. I'm sure we passed by several things we needed at yard sales over the past few years but now we keep a list of things we are looking for in the glove box. This way if we stop at a yard sale, thrift store or see a great sale we know exactly what we are looking for. It's important to us to be able to plan ahead, shop ahead and purchase with a purpose.

The second obvious solution is to have a specified place for everything. My disability has taught me it's good to be consistent with where things are. Especially since I may need to tell someone else where to locate something when I can't get it myself.  This includes knowing where everyday tasks that need to be done are to be done, like animal care, weeding, and simple maintenance. After all you need the weeding done where the weeds are but should not be and the animals fed where they will come to eat. We practice putting things in the same place every time and keeping things in groups. I keep yarn, embroidery, and sewing in a group. All the rabbit supplies are in the rabbit shed. All the gardening tools are together in the garage. When I get new yarn, rabbit supplies, or garden supplies they go to those locations automatically. Even our dog knows where her food goes and will only eat without us if her bowl is in a certain place. This may seem like it would be common sense but when there are multiple folks, multiple areas and multiple tasks involved it can quickly become a disorganized mess. Especially if you have help that is unfamiliar with things. Then add in additional projects and improvements and their tools/work areas well let’s just say chaos happens and sometimes causes trouble. Particularly when I'm trying to locate things I need in a hurry or so it would seem. In addition we try to reuse things as often as we can. It’s very necessary to know ahead of time where and how we will store what we are saving. We don't want to end up on a TV episode about hoarders. 

Other methods and tools I personally utilize are timers, programmable reminders on my tablet/computers, asking others for reminders...i.e. making sure my medical providers know to call with appointment reminders and results and calendars with spaces large enough to write in help me to organize my time. Nesting items we are recycling whenever possible saves on space but good labeling is essential so I have labels, sticky notes and spiral notebooks for those lists. Last but not least we try to keep things we use regularly as visible as possible by labeling on all sides, use of clear containers, and proper location. In addition to this we are each responsible for our own stuff and no one else should be messing with hubby doesn't get in the yarn, I don't get into his desk, m'inion is responsible for the toys...etc...It saves us all a headache and grief when we respect the household expectations and boundaries.


As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

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