About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Functional Order

January 28, 2015

Many people search for answers how to get their home in some kind of order and keep it that way. I have been working my way to functional order for quite some time. I am going to share the things I have learned along the way to help answer some questions from my visitors.

I am by far not perfect with housekeeping but I have learned from my mistakes and we have been working our way out of clutter that we accumulated from different factors.  We all accumulate items throughout our lives and during our time caring for my parents we ended up with extra items and clutter that they had acquired during their lives. Persistence is what it takes to get back to some kind of normal.

In different articles I have mentioned that if we truly live in our house it cannot stay in complete order all the time. Personally I think it is not even possible to have everything clean at the same time and if somehow we achieve this goal it cannot last for more than seconds because dust happens.

Many people set their standards on what they have seen in magazines and online but real life is not perfect.

To be happy in our home instead of it being a depressing and mental drain we must come to a realization that to truly keep a house in order we must clean it often.

There is true clutter and then there are special things that we just do not want to part with like my father-in-law's handmade wood projects. 

How often do we need to dust? Pretty darn often.  If we can just get it in our head that I am cleaning this now but I must come back and do it again in about a month. It all depends on the circumstances of your home. Some homes get more dust due to different factors. None of us should ever be bored in our homes.  There is always something that could be cleaned or straightened.

Then there is laundry.

We can do the math on this one.  We are going to wear a certain amount of items each day that will go into the laundry hamper. These items will stack up quickly. We may need to wash daily depending on the size of our family.

We all have different situations. But what is the real truth about laundry is that it needs to be put on when needed, dried, folded and put away and there is no going around this other than hiring help.

We have an extra laundry situation. We trained all three of our dogs when they were puppies to use a potty box.

They pee pee in an area in our half bathroom.  This worked for awhile until the pad developed an odor that I could not get out so we changed what were were doing and put down small towels the size of hand towels. Then when they are soiled we put them in a pail like you would baby diapers.  

We do this because of several reasons.  One is after our lovely beagle Margaret died we said we had wished we trained her to use a pad for when she was old she could not hold her urine. If she was pad trained things would not have been so difficult.  The other reason is when it is raining we do not take our dogs outside, they just go to the potty box.

Each night I put the potty towels in the washer and the first thing in the morning I put them in the dryer or on the outside line to dry.

I normally wash clothes about every other day.

I keep a soft brush for no other use than for lamp shades.  I dust our lamp shades about every three months.  It does not take long to do this and I always take them outside to dust them off.

We must have a way of keeping up on dirt and grime and the way to do this is to pay attention to how often the dirt comes back. Keep a chart and mark when you cleaned that item and note when it needs to be cleaned again.  Always clean it sooner than the time you wrote it down so it has not built up dirt. 

To make it easier on ourselves functional order is keeping items in some kind of order that will help to make the task at hand less complicated.  Keeping frequently used items handy helps me in my kitchen and keeps me functional.

Often I ask myself do I truly use this and if not out it goes.

At times in our life we might question what is our purpose?  Why am I here? I try to live my life with purpose. If we live our life with purpose in everything we do, even the very small things it opens our eyes and mind to a more peaceful place.

We rescued this bunny from the humane society as we did two others. They were found living in a filthy small cage and abandoned inside a garage. If we are going to keep an animal we need to take good care of them

Our pets need some kind of routine as well.  This is our bunny we call Sugar and in this photo we just clipped her nails. Her nails need clipping about every three months or else they become too long and I am sure are uncomfortable for her.  Our dogs are the same, they need their nails clipped about that often.

It is very hard work to keep a house clean and there is no need to have our minds filled with "but I just cleaned that"!  It is impractical to think that it will stay clean.  Our ancestors before us did not think this way.  They worked very hard and just because we live in this time we live with so many gadgets our gadgets must have an operator. 

There is no rigid schedule or list I could follow because that puts too much pressure to do these constantly changing situations. I do things in an order of what makes sense to me such as which day I "normally" iron clothes. But life happens and things come up that change plans so we need flexibility.  

If everything in our home is useful and has a purpose then we should take care of that item.

Our homes need fresh air.  I open our windows, clean our ledges and air our house often.  When I change our sheets I air the bedroom.  

And I change our sheets at least once a week, usually on a Monday because we work hard on the weekends and get dirty.  Sometime we are too tired to shower and just wash up. Monday is a good day for me but we all have different schedules.

We do not keep anything stored under our bed because under the bed storage is just a dust magnet. Try to keep a bedroom as simple as possible. We have pets and our three dogs actually sleep in our room in Kennels. But their kennels are white and I use pastel blankets and wash them often to keep it sanitary.

Since we have wood painted floors and not carpet I push the sofa out and vacuum behind it about once a month because dust balls will collect here.

When I vacuum the floors I will move the cushion from the sofa and vacuum under because this is another area that will hold trash. I don't do this every time I vacuum but I do this about once a month.

I mop our floors once a week and twice at times due to weather or coming in and out with dirty feet.  I wonder who does this?

Shopping for groceries is another thing that could use some type of system or else we will run back and forth to the store or just end up eating out and that is very hard on the budget.

At this time, and have been for quite awhile, we shop every two weeks for groceries and for other household items.  If we run to the store in between it is just a quick trip for fresh items. Keeping a pantry helps to get through unexpected things such as visitors or a sick friend needs a meal.

All the other items such as toilet paper, laundry soap etc is purchased only on the two week schedule.

We also go to the meat market once every two weeks and purchase our meat and bring it home and separate it into portions.  We use freezer bags and put, let's say, 2 chicken breast in a bag and write "Chicken Breast and the date". If it is pork we do the same.  Then we put it all in the freezer.

After supper I pull meat out of the freezer for the next day and put it in the refrigerator.  This will be to cook for lunch or supper the next day. It is all in what we get use to doing.

I hear a lot of people saying, I wish I had a garden. If one wishes to have a garden then there is only one thing to do.

Just do it.  It takes getting dirty and bending and getting sweaty but the rewards are we know what is on and in our food.

This is something we must think ahead and plan for.  Seeds need to be planted early enough to have them the right size when the weather gets right for planting.

To me what I am calling functional order is knowledge of what it is we need to do.  Take this bias tape I am making.  I had to learn how to match my strips to sew together so the seam would lay flat. It was not an easy thing for me to learn.  But I kept trying.

Homemaking is the same.

We should learn the needs of our home and we remove clutter until we fit into our space.  If we have small closets such as we do then we simple only have a certain amount of space. We cannot put more in them than they can hold. We have a choice to buy a bigger house or remove clutter.

It takes a lot of time and determination to get the house back in order. But doing so is like taking a large weight off our back and freeing us from the overwhelming burden.

Once we find a place for everything and get it like we want it it will be easier to keep a system in place.  Everyone is different and I do not believe it should be a rigid system, just the knowledge of how long it takes for it to get dirty and cleaning it before it gets to that point.

Again we cannot keep our house perfect and we must face the fact that it is going to get dirty again very quickly.  If we find a way to enjoy working in our home, notice the details of the items we have and appreciate what we have we will start getting a better feeling of what it is we are suppose to do.

I did not put a picture of what I am going to say here because just the subject is draining.  Paper clutter.

We were burdened with boxes and boxes of paper clutter after my parents died, an aunt and another family members papers left behind.  Each box had to be gone through looking at each piece of paper.  It took forever!  We did this slowly because it was too draining.

We just took a few hours as we could and then shredded and threw away as we could.  We kept going and finally we finished the last box.

Paper clutter like this made us deal with our own paper clutter and now we have a two drawer file cabinet with our papers.  We do not want to leave our children our paper clutter.  So anyone reading this, truly we do not need to hang on to all this paper clutter.

I hope that something I have said in this article brings you to a better place.  Take Care, Grandma Donna

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