When I was growing up my Papa called me his princess. My husband and son treat me like one to this day. Yet, for the longest time I was a pauper to the clutter in my every day life in my home and my finances. Then one day I decided it was time to stop living like a pauper and to be the princess everyone thought of me as. This is the journey I took to de-clutter all aspects of my life and become a true PRINCESS!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


As I was growing up we always had hand embroidered muslin tea towels (dish towels) that had the following lines on them along with a figure doing all the chores listed:

"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

I started thinking about this as I worked on my calendar trying to organize my time budget.  I realized that while my seven days were different to some extent they were also the same in some ways.  Or at least some of the same chores.  No I don’t iron or churn, but I have done a lot of both in my lifetime.

While setting up the time budget I realized it would be best if I had one set thing each day that I wished to accomplish along with the day to day chores and working on the pet room of the Princess Plan as I went.

So I set about designating certain days for certain chores every week.  Continuity, I have found, is very helpful in eventually accomplishing your goals. 

As I went through my Outlook Calendar I designated certain days of the week for certain chores.  While your days might be much different from mine here’s how my week shapes up.

Errands on Monday

Porches and outside work on Tuesday

Webfoot Tub Designs work on Wednesday

Wardrobe work on Thursday

Gardening on Friday

Family projects on Saturday and Sunday

How I came about this seven day general plan was simple. 

MONDAY: Most merchandising and mystery shopping jobs start on Mondays, since I always combine errands with those jobs it just made sense for me to make that the errand day.  On weeks that I don’t have jobs or they must be done on a different day I simply will swap out with the designated day for the job and do the errands that day.

PORCHES AND OUTSIDE WORK: With 90 acres there is always outside work needing done, and a porch or three that needs swept or otherwise tended to.  Tuesday was chosen because I often need a bit of fresh air after a mystery shopping/errand day.

WEBFOOT TUB DESIGNS WORK: Two very active days need to be followed by a more leisurely paced day for me.  Designing cards and making them is pleasurable and since we’ve decided I’ll cut back on mystery shopping and pick up more on the business a mid-week scheduled day to allow myself to play while designing cards for Webfoot Tub Designs sounds perfectly normal to me.

WARDROBE: I hate to admit it, but we all three have walk in closets that are so tightly packed we simply cannot walk in to them.  We all three have clothing that either we can’t wear, won’t wear, or it needs repair in the closets.  Unfortunately 99% of the clothing is in need of a total replacement, or at the very least needing repair. 

This point became very clear to me as we packed for the lovely three week vacation we just had.  I could NOT find my long black skirt that was the basic piece my evening wardrobe for Las Vegas was planned around.  I had just wore it a couple of weeks before.  I remember laundering it and hanging it up.  But I cannot find it in that over packed closet of mine.  Neither could either man. I finally found it after we returned.  It had slid off the hanger it was on and down behind other things stored in the closet floor.  That is truly, truly sad this closet needs a total revamping. 

So on Thursday every week my pet project of the day is to work on getting all three of our wardrobes in tip top shape and do a major cull out of everything that needs to go, cherished memories or not.  Truthfully, why am I hanging on to a pink Walt Disney World t-shirt that is so full of holes I’d be embarrassed to be seen in it.  Yeah I know it’s from our first trip to the most magical place on earth, but it is also 31 years old and worn out. 

I am a seamstress, I’ve sewn since I was about five.  I’ve owned and ran a successful custom historical business for fifteen years, sewn for others most of my life.  I have a basement full of fabric, a few sewing machines, a serger, thread by the dozens of spools, buttons galore, and much more.  So why are we not wearing well fitting clothing in the latest styles?  Laziness on my part.

The excuse is I never seem to have time.  So now Thursdays are wardrobe time.  I’ll cut, snip and sew my way through that basement accomplishing two things at once.  Clearing out of all that sewing stuff and dressing us properly. 

Thursdays are now for wardrobe work, closets, sewing and mending.

GARDENING: I chose Friday for gardening for a simple reason, I could possibly have help with it every Friday afternoon.  Both men are very good at helping me with the gardening chores and both are off on Friday afternoons. 

I want to go to year round gardening to help cut our food budget and to make us healthier.  That means scheduling at least one day every week for gardening of some sort.

I started off by planting some flower pots of herbs for the kitchen window and the baker’s rack in my office since it is December after all.  There will be more articles appearing as time goes on about doing this on the Mind Your Pennies blog.

After all gardening doesn’t have to be hard, it just needs continuity.

FAMILY PROJECTS: Anyone who has been on yahoogroups with me over the years, or who have been following my blogs knows we do a lot together as a family.  We work hard and we play hard.  The men are both off on these days so it only made sense to schedule those days for family projects.  Whether it’s a major chore like taking down all the dead trees, or a family outing Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for these events on my new time budget.

Please keep in mind these are not all day plans like the original daily chores list of old, but a project to work on each day along with my day to day chores. 

Each day, or as many as possible days a week I try to work some on each of the following:

1.   General tidy-up.  This is simply a pick-up/clean-up of areas I’ve already got quite tidy and want to keep that way.

2.   Home cooked from scratch meals, this includes menu planning,  food preservation and food storage.

3.   Animal care, with a ranch full of critters there is always something that needs to be done.

4.   Paperwork of all sorts, if you don’t keep on top of it, it will overtake and suffocate you! I am trying to go as paperless as possible in our day to day lives.   The paperwork also includes budgeting, Quicken entry and all those little extras we all seem to have.

5.   Laundry, the never ending monster.

6.   Listing items for sale as I uncover them while working on the Princess Plan, then getting them shipped out/delivered on errand days.

7.   Blogging, whether it’s actually getting a post up, or merely writing down a concept for a blog when it hits me, I try to accomplish something on a blog each day.

8.   Busy work, this would be knitting, embroidery (tea towels anyone?), crocheting, journal writing, needle tatting, sorting mail, whatever,  while watching 1-2 hours of tv a day with the guys in the evening.

9.   A bit of genealogy research when I can squeeze it in.

10.                     Communications, be it telephone, email, chat, snail mail, facebook or responding to queries on my blogs a certain amount  of time is spent each day communicating with the outside world.

11.                     The Princess Plan, I do something, even if it’s only picking up and completely getting rid of 10 items per day on my room of the month to accomplish my overall goal of getting this place totally decluttered.

12.                     Organization.  There is always some organization project going on here.  Currently it’s the pantries—they are driving me crazy!  This is on top of the daily pet project and the Princess Plan.

That’s my top 12 for each day.  

By working with the Outlook Calendar, I can pretty well plan my day working with the daily pet project and the top 12, while still allowing the flexibility of life happening, as it always does here on the Rock ‘n Tree Ranch.

Now that you see how I am working on setting up my time budget you may have got some ideas on doing your own.  Or see perhaps an improvement that could be made with mine.  All in all it is always a work in progress.

So what would be your seven day main project and your day to day top 12?  Have you set up your time budget yet?

By the way if you want to know more about the original daily chores list there is a very good webpage at the Herbert Hoover Archives http://hoover.archives.gov/LIW/pioneering/pioneering_pepin-chores.html that will give you a good idea about what Laura Ingalls Wilder meant when she wrote about the all day process of daily chores.

Jan who sometimes let her muse distract her from her daily chores and lead her to writing long ramblings like this in OK