Don’t you just love proverbs, I know I do. One of my favourites is, ‘A stitch in time, saves nine’.
Taken literally, I think this refers to the odd little stitch that’s needed for repair, the hem on trousers that starts to unravel, the button on a shirt that’s coming lose, the side seam on a skirt thats starting to separate. As we all know, if we take action immediately it’s only going to take a minute to repair, a bare stitch or two. However, when ignored, it can become a momentous task, sometimes with undesirable consequences – the trouser hem that completely unravels and you end up tripping over it, the button that completely falls off and gets lost rendering the shirt unwearable until time is taken to find a replacement matching button, and the embarrassment of the side seam on a skirt extending beyond decency.
Reflecting on how ‘time poor’ people seem to be today despite all the wonderful time saving devices now available, leaves me wondering if it isn’t time to bring back some of the age old proverbs that used to be mantras to live by.
Extending the idea of ‘A stitch in time…..’ to everyday life beyond a needle and thread, I can think of a few time saving ideas that could go a long way to creating a few more minutes in a day to spend doing something wonderful, or perhaps, having the luxury of a few minutes in which to do nothing at all!
Here’s a few that come to mind:
Laundry: Don’t overload your washing machine (it’ll screw up your clothes too much), and use a gentle spin. Hang clothes on the line carefully with thought to minimising ironing, or better still negating any need to iron at all. Fold and hang clothes immediately they’re taken off the line, even if it’s something that does need ironing. Less time will be needed to iron a blouse that’s been hanging on a hanger,than if the blouse stays screwed up in an ironing basket. You may not have time to empty your clothes line completely all in one go. Decrease the line load – each time you go past the clothes line grab just a few items, perhaps a shirt or two that can be hung up immediately, or a few tea towels that can be folded and put away. Three such trips will make the final unload so much easier to deal with. If you have space, perhaps in the laundry or a spare room, leave your ironing board set up. It’ll make it so much easier to iron a couple of items without having to set up and take down the ironing board repeatedly.
Meals: Cook in bulk and freeze. Line plastic containers with freezer bags for the frozen left overs and when frozen, remove from the container, label and stack in the freezer. You’ll fit considerably more meals in your freezer in freezer bags than you will in plastic containers. Reheating a frozen meal in the microwave is not only more time saving that going out to purchase takeaway, it’s better for both you, and your bank balance. If you need to make sandwiches for lunches, make them in bulk with meat and pickle, or cheese and chutney fillings and freeze in sandwich bags. A small salad container can be packed in the morning to go with the frozen sandwich if time permits, if not, perhaps a stick of celery and an apple and you have a reasonably healthy lunch that’s taken no time at all.
Dishwashing: Rinse and reuse your cups and glasses until you’re turning your dishwasher on, that way you won’t end up with an empty cup drawer and a dishwasher full of dirty cups. Stack the dishwasher as you go, and teach other family members to do the same. Consider if the dishwasher is going to save time – sometimes it can be quicker to do a sink full of dishes by hand that to spend the time filling and emptying the dishwasher. When emptying the dishwasher, use the same principle as clothes from the clothes line – if you haven’t time to empty the whole dishwasher, whittle away at it. A few items removed while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil will make the full load smaller to deal with later.
That’s just a few things I can think of. I’m sure you can think of many more. Care to share…..