Alternating Tasks: Fall Cleaning and Canning
These days I am alternating between days devoted to fall cleaning and spending time in the kitchen canning. And an occasional day devoted to a combination of laundry, reading and writing. While the fall cleaning could get completed sooner if all my time was spent on that, I need the time alternating tasks because the Big Garden is slowing down with the shorter days. But still producing fruits and vegetables.
Thanks to the use of two books, I previously have reviewed; Cleaning Sucks and Lose The Clutter Lose The Weight, fall cleaning inside the house has been much easier. But there is one major exception, the basement. So this fall I am concentrating on the area below the ground.
My basement is partial and mostly finished. The unfinished room is storage and really not that big of an area. At 8 x 10 the room does have tall cabinet doors painted to reflect the seasons. The original intent was to store decorations. Intentions and needs change through the years.
My goal this fall is to clean out the clutter and repurpose some of the shelves in order to store paint and repair supplies as well as some of my gardening supplies. Alas, inflation has kept me from my dream garden/greenhouse. So, seed starting equipment will remain inside.
Additionally, my canning equipment is all over the place. Organization is clearly needed. But this is tough in the heart of canning season. Empty jars are rapidly filling with produce. The filled jars need their own space as well.
The tomatoes are finally turning a bright, beautiful red. So far three batches of salsa have been made. Next up is the spaghetti sauce. This is an all-day affair. Simmering the fresh tomatoes into a rich thick sauce takes time. We will test taste with dinner and then can the rest.
The cucumbers are really winding down and tomorrow will most likely be the last day of pickling. This has been a banner year for cucumbers, so it is a good thing pickles and meat jams are loved by my family members.
One benefit of alternating tasks is freedom from boredom. Another is utilizing down time from one project to work on or complete another task. Pickling is a multi-stepped process including an ice-bath stage. So, days processing cucumbers can include sorting through the clutter in the basement.
However, canning jams, jellies and salsas are days spent entirely in the kitchen. Long days. So, the following day my legs need a break. Aging makes alternating tasks a necessity.
Tips for Fall Cleaning and Canning
Flipping back and forth between two major projects takes planning. Although we harvest items on a daily basis for our meals, at least twice a week we make a major haul of like produce for canning. And recently three times a week. Therefore, the fall cleaning takes a back seat to the fresh produce.
So, I plan out two to three days of indoor projects-not canning- in advance. I utilize the approach of cleaning in short spurts presented in Cleaning Sucks. For example, one morning can be devoted to straightening the quilt room and the afternoon focusing on organizing the play area for the grandkids.
Another morning will include touch up painting and the afternoon could be spent dusting and cleaning floors. We have a library in the basement and an effort to find books to donate to the library book sale will comprise another block of time. Working in small chunks of time, consistently through the week, has really aided in decluttering the house.
Making a list of all the chores is the first step. Then there is the process of prioritizing the work. Finally, the implementation of alternating tasks. Slowly, but surely the work is getting done.