Saturday, October 03, 2015

31 Days of Living Well and $pending ZERO

The kitchen pantries/cupboards were dumped out and wiped clean.
 Threw out the outdated stuff and organized.

 One of two upright freezers.  
This one holds two shelves of cow colostrum.
Clean, organized and room for other items.
The refurbed trunk has all the games in it.
Tossed out the stuff we don't play. Not on the to-do list, but why not?

There's a new challenge going on.  Actually, it's not new.  There are lots of bloggers doing a 31 Days of _______ for October.   One of them is 31 Days of Spending Zero over at Living Well Spending Less,  and it's the one that OnlyDaughter and I are doing together.  For the first couple days of the challenge, we are cleaning out our pantries and freezers and taking inventory of what we have.  Last night I spent the evening emptying out my two pantries.  One in the kitchen and one in the mud room.  Oh dear.  What chaos.  Plenty of food -- some outdated, some good -- but all of it in great need of organizing and putting to rights.  The other positive in this exercise is that my pantries are clean and shiny, and I know what's in there.  I don't try to totally organize cupboards in a different way because I'm of the age that I won't remember where I put something if I change things up too much, but having finished the tasks of cleaning and inventorying my pantries and freezers has been just lovely.  This way we know what we will be eating for the next 31 days because we will be eating down our pantries and freezers.  This is a much needed exercise for me since I am a ranchwife who has practiced building a well-stocked pantry and freezer for 34 years, and sometimes I just keep on stocking and stocking and don't move too much food out.  At least not like it was when we had five kids to feed every day.  With just the two of us now, we don't need quite the stockpile we used to.  Still, it's hard to take that "be prepared for anything" habit away now that I've been practicing it for so many years.  I won't quit, but I will modify.  At least I'll try.

Today we are supposed to plan a month's worth of meals using the foods in our pantries and freezers.  We will allow ourselves to buy just a few basics each week.  Things like milk, bread, eggs, cheese, toilet paper, etc.  Or whatever your few essentials are.  Mine will be milk, cheese and maybe some fresh fruit.  I'm lucky to have plenty of eggs and garden produce this month.  My daughter says we should barter with each other for a few food items since I have some things she'd like (eggs) and she has a few things I'd like.  This is all *legal* in the Zero Spending game.  The goal is to use what you have, use it up, go without, or find a way to get what you need without spending money.  I think the challenge will also help us to realize how little we really do need when we are focusing on just the essentials -- food, shelter, heat, gas in the tank.  In America it's just so easy to think that our essentials are much more than that.  I did a version of the Spending Zero last October and I was amazed at what I had left in the checking account that month.  It's a good way to "save" for a few Christmas presents or for something you might be needing -- like a new sewing machine.

 I'm planning to go through my cook book:  Autumn From the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch.  There are many delicious recipes -- and inspiration -- that I can cook and bake with the things in my pantry, freezer and garden.  Plus... what fun to try some new-to-us recipes from a very good cooker!

So....if you're interested, click on over to Living Well Spending Less and join us!  There are lots of tips and ideas that are given each day that will help you through this month of spending ZERO.  I'm excited!

One more thing I want to share with you.  A night or two ago while surfing the web for an article, I found an archive of Laine's Letters.  As a young mom I remember reading through many of her letters and being so encouraged.  I knew she did not have her website up anymore, but I was excited to find a web archive of her letters from many, many years ago.  Within the letters you will find lots of excellent ideas for homemaking on a budget, thrifty recipes, advice for living with husbands and children, and doing it under the banner of God's love.  Good stuff.  I look forward to read through them again.

Here's a tip from Laine's Letter called: 25 Easier Ways:

3) Set your table early in the day, if possible. It will just motivate you to cook! And it looks so welcoming to your husband when he comes home. Your children will look on in anticipation as well.


  1. What a good idea!! I still stockpile, I admit. I like the idea of cleaning everything out and organizing. I do need to do this at some point. I had no idea.
    I will check out the other links too.

  2. Good luck on your challenge! Hey, that's a great use of your trunk!

  3. I read her letters many years ago too, some of the best I think!
    Need to spend so much less, we need repairs around the house.
    I come by your blog from time to time, I enjoyed reading this.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Sounds like a great challenge!

  5. This sounds like great fun Jody! I REALLY need to clean the pantry out -- don't know what it is about this time of year. Maybe it's the change of season, but I get the bug to clean closets and straighten things up. Now, to find the time ... ;-D. Good luck with your challenge -- I know you'll do well!

  6. I don't have time to reply as I'd like, but thanks for this good post. We really need a "zero spending" month soon. We've spent so much on things needed for the farm, and each month the visa bill is a shock :( Will come back later and check out your links. I bet you'll have some fun, inventive meals this month! October is a perfect time to do it.

  7. I always enjoy posts like this. I've done a modified version of that clean up in my freezer and cupboards over the last few weeks - mostly out of necessity as we had a bunch of chickens coming for the freezer and I had no room! I'm going to check out the link. thanks Jody!

  8. PS love Laine's Letters too - thanks for the link!


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