Someone asked me recently what the proverb, ‘A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine’ means. Literally it means exactly what it says. If you notice the seam on a garment or a hole starting to unravel you can usually fix it easily and quickly with a needle a thread. Literally one (or two) over stitches will usually prevent the whole seam, or garment from unravelling.
The proverb’s meaning extends figuratively into all areas of our lives. In our time poor, busy lives, any time saving ideas that can easily be adopted should be embraced. I’m sure we all know lots of tricks to free up time, yet if you’re like me, you probably still go through periods when it feels as if the 24 hours available in a day just aren’t enough.
At such times if I review how I’m spending those 24 hours I usually discover I’ve slipped into poor habits. When I stop and think about why I’ve suddenly become time poor, I realise I need to get back in touch with some good old fashioned proverbs. Two of my favourite old timers are, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, and another oldie but a goodie, ‘never put off for tomorrow what you can do today’.
I’ve recently come through a period of frustration with seemingly not enough hours in the day. Reviewing my time management skills and getting back into time saving practices is making a notable difference.
One area I had become particularly tardy was with the laundry – hanging the washing out to dry without much thought, and piling it all into the ironing basket when it was dry. Using the ‘stitch in time’ principle, I’m now smoothing the washing out before hanging it on the line, and turning t-shirts inside out and pegging them under the armpits. When the t-shirts are dry and turned in the right way, there aren’t any visible peg marks, and the t-shirts are relatively smooth. Providing I take the time to hang them in the wardrobe immediately they come off the clothes line, most of them don’t require any ironing.
I’m now back to dealing with all my laundry with a little more thought to saving time. I smooth all jeans and trousers out when sorting the dry laundry, laying them seam on seam before hanging them on skirt hanger from the foot area. The waistband hanging at the bottom of the hanger adds weight that pulls creases out, and they take up less room in the wardrobe when hanging full length than if they’re draped over a hanger. Additionally by hanging all my jeans and trousers close together it creates a bit of a pressing effect as they hang. My clothes still look neat and tidy when I’m wearing them, I don’t have a basket of ironing hanging around waiting to be done, and by not needing to iron I estimate I’ve probably freed up a couple of hours a week. Gotta love that!
That’s two old proverbs that help me get back on track if I’m feeling overwhelmed by too much to do. Do you have an old proverb you use as a mantra to help you in today’s busy world?
4 thoughts on “A stitch in time”
In March I went to Brisbane to see Nigella Lawson on stage. She said she recommends the “do it now” principle. You and Nigella are on the same page!
I don’t always stick to it though – wish I did! When I start to get overwhelmed with feeling time poor, it’s usually because I’m slipping into the habit of leaving things till tomorrow. Our habits make such a difference.
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Don’t sweat the small stuff
When God closes a door he opens a window.
Great little sayings. Very helpful reminders in times of trouble, or when we’re getting stressed over trivial things. Thanks for commenting Diane.