Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Simple Home Audit

I have been following Rhonda Jean's Biggest Kitchen Table - Home Audit at Down to Earth. You can read all of her posts here and there are lots of readers comments too.


We live in a new house that we built 5 years ago. It is large and spacious with the kitchen has the hub. We like to cook – me during the week and Angus on the weekends. We live a very comfortable life. Angus works long hours in our business and I work there too. I maintain our home so that it is a neat and tidy space for us to live in. We probably could do with some new furniture, eg. A new lounge to replace the 18 year old one which is looking shabby, a bookcase and entertainment centre cabinet and one TV is getting quite old. Our home is decorated with nick-nacks and ornaments that I like, things that have been given to me as gifts or things that I have bought in our travels. These things make it our home. I do not see the point in buying a vase from a decorator store because it might look nice. After 5 years, we have barely any pictures or photos up on the walls. Angus is a little precious about putting holes in walls. What we do have on the walls are favourites.


Because of the long hours at work, we do not live as simply as we could but that is not the nature of our business either. We work in the corporate sector and although we live in a small country town, at times we mingle with people from the business world.



I try to cook from scratch most times, takeaway food is a treat. I’d rather make homemade pizzas on Friday night than order out. I work at our business every day. I confess, I have a cleaner who does 2 hours a week, cleaning the 2 bathrooms, vacuuming carpets and mopping our large tiled floor area. You have now idea how nice it is on Thursdays to know that everything is clean. I spot clean a lot in between times. I have one of those little Vax rechargeable machines so I can zip over the tiles and carpets daily to pick up crumbs, dust bunnies etc. It takes 5 minutes. I wipe over the bathroom sinks after everyone is done in the mornings, make sure the toilets are clean and straighten /pick up towels etc. I would hope if someone dropped in for a visit, I would not be in a panic that the house was upside-down.



This is our downfall. We (no, I) spend too much. Although we do not have huge credit card debts, we tend to spend what we have. At the moment, I know we spend way too much on food and we do waste items that go out of date in our fridge (sauces, marinades, dips etc) . I have cut back on magazines and now only buy one $4.50 mag a week. I need to take a look at our food shopping and simplify that more.



We do not have a vegetable garden or chooks for eggs. I planted lettuces and a small tub of tomatoes last summer and they were successful. I will expand on that later this year. Time does not allow for a big veggie garden, it would get away from me.

I need to Menu Plan each week. At the moment, I go to the supermarket on the way home from work and pick up what we need for the evenings meal. I tend to put things in the Freezer then throw things out 5 months later. The freezer doesn’t work for us. I have loads of good Recipes and we do use them.


I need to try to put HEALTHY SNACKS in Brianna’s lunchbox. Make her eat more healthily instead of so much packaged, processed foods. We were given some ‘off the tree, home grown’ Granny Smith apples from a friend and Bri said she doesn’t like store bought apples any more. I bought one of those apple peeler, corer, slicer gadgets and it makes apple eating very enjoyable.


We have a dishwasher (brand new) and I believe it is energy efficient and water efficient (heats cold water). It is run once a day.



Our food scraps are kept separate from our household garbage. Our Council has provided us with a small lidded scrap basket which you line with a ‘compostable’ plastic bag. All food scraps go in it. I wish I had chooks (we may one day) then I would feed them the scraps. I have a freezer in the garage so I freeze the bags of scraps then they go in our Green Waste bin and they are collected fortnightly by the Council. This eradicates smell and vermin can't get to it. We have a yellow lidded Recyclables bin and all cardboard, newspapers, cans and glass etc goes in here and it is collected fortnightly, alternately to the green bin. . Our red lidded bin takes all other household waste (plastics etc.) and that is collected weekly. We are fortunate in South Australia to have a 10c refund on most bottles and cans. Even beer stubbies and flavoured milk cartons are 10c so we store them up then take them to depot and get money back. It adds up nicely. Think - a box of beer = $2.40



I have started buying things in bulk and many of one item if they are on special. We ‘eat’ toilet paper and tissues in our house! I stocked up on tomato pasta sauces the other day, Dolmio was out for $1.19 per 500gm jar. I need to stockpile more and live out of our pantry more. This is our pantry and we definitely need to ‘eat’ our way through what is in it at the moment. We have way too much processed, packaged food in there. I need to do a stocktake. Shame, shame, shame!



As I said, we use way to many tissues and paper napkins but I do not like to use hankies myself. We use paper towel sometimes. Angus uses hankies unless he has a real cold. We have tissues in each bathroom and the kitchen. I use kitchen dish sponges and a scourer for dishes and pans. I throw the sponges away fairly regularly so as not to contaminate with germs. I use very little kitchen spray on my benches, maybe once a week. I am sorry to say that I will use gladwrap. I use micro cloths for polishing and dusting (not as often as I should). I only use carb soda and vinegar for my oven door, otherwise I use Ajax spray cleaner on surfaces.



We have a bore pump for our water supply (artesian) as we live on the outskirts of town and we have rain water tanks for our consumption and for showering. Our toilets flush with bore water and I do all my laundry in the bore water (it is quite good quality). This ensures we do not run out of rain water during the summer months. Our tanks are overflowing at the moment.

Our house is not efficient when it comes to electricity. We have a bio-cycle septic system which runs a pump 24/7. When we turn on a tap in the house, the pump comes on. When we water our garden with bore water, the pump comes on. When we shower, the pump comes on so power runs our house night and day. We (they more than me!) leave too many lights on although I do try to have them all off if we are watching television in one room. We close our drapes on nightfall to preserve heating. We have reverse cycle air conditioning which means we are cool in summer and warm in winter. I need to police our electricity consumption more as our bills are astronomical – always have been. You would die with your leg in the air!



Time is my biggest enemy. I find that by the time I get home from work and shopping, prepare dinner and deal with the laundry from the line or tumble dryer, I am ready to sit down and do nothing. This is my laundry today, not bad eh?

This past summer, I made my own mulberry jam and this coming summer I will try apricot jam too. I love stewed apricots and apples – these can be frozen for later use. I have a good lemon cordial recipe and a salad dressing recipe. I have a bread maker and should use it more for making bread rolls and pull-apart loaves. I need to experiment more with the bread recipe and my loaf is too stodgy. I love making my own scones, muffins & cupcakes and biscuits.


Laundry drying under our pergola today. We have had torrential down pours all through out the day - I reckon nearly 2 inches of rain (and some hail, thunder & lightning).


Reading through Rhonda’s Biggest Kitchen Table forum has given me much to think about. I will read all the comments from readers and am sure to gain some valuable tips and hints. I just need to put some things into practice.



Decrease our electricity account - turn off that light, close that door, turn off that appliance

Decrease my spending on food each week - shop smarter

Use less disposable items if possible - cloth serviettes

Stock take the pantry - eat all the canned foods lurking in the back

Go through the freezer and don't put anything in that won't be used within a week

Menu Plan each Sunday for the week ahead


I hope you've enjoyed my Home Audit - you might like to try it yourself. Thank you Rhonda Jean.


Cheers - Joolz

1 comment:

  1. Its really ashame you can't get all the free magazines we get in the USA! I know there are few coupons there too, from Kate. Keep it simple you'll find ways to cut down!



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