The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 9 July 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Keeping a spare.

First things first! Kelsey and her husband have a baby boy! And he is beautiful!  I was so excited to get an email from Kelsey and hear this news! Congratulations to you both!

This week we are looking at keeping spares and back ups.
The photos in this post are from you all!  I love seeing your baking, produce and creativity!

Rachel making Ravioli. 

Do you notice how home baking just looks so beautiful?  So I try and share these pictures as I think they are inspiring! 

Maria made fruit cakes. 

I wrote this whole post yesterday and my computer shut down and I lost the lot!  So I have had to start again!   
Ok, finally, on to our subject! 

And Maria's gorgeous baking! 

A couple of weeks ago I had written to Laine as I remembered how she kept spares of things like electrical appliances in case something broke down.  She couldn't remember which letter that was in either!  But now I have found this reference in the letter "Getting out of Debt"  (this letter is full of good money saving tips and well worth reading)  This was the paragraph I was looking for:

23) If possible, I do buy ahead on needed items. Especially when the price is right. Remember when I wrote recently how I found an iron in great condition for only $2.50 and a vacuum in likewise condition for only $7.50. I love to pull out a back up when something really needs to be replaced. It is wonderful to tell my husband, "Oh, don't worry, I have another one."

I am pretty sure this was mentioned in other letters also as Laine was a great one for garage sales (and still is!)

And she still keeps spares!  She shared with me how she  loves backups! Her daughter in law was getting rid of a food processor.  Laine took that and now her own food processor is breaking so she is glad to have this replacement already!  And she still keeps a spare vacuum and was able to help a daughter in law out when she needed one!   Really nothing has changed since Laine wrote that post in  2002!

Last week Laine included the keeping of spares in her list of tips...

6~ I love to shop at garage sales, the deals are really great. (The next best place is thrift shops.) I was looking for a waffle iron and found one last week at an estate sale, just the one I was looking for! But I did search for months. If I find something really inexpensive and I already have one, but I use that item a lot, I will buy it as a back up. I actually had a back up for a waffle iron, but I like this "new" one better as my back up didn't get as crispy as I would like.

Rachel having a cook up! 

Buying things that we know we are going to need and at great prices is just such a big money saver! So many things that we use everyday have a limited life and will need replacing. Having a back up that we got for a few dollars could save us hundreds! 

I have mentioned before how I continually see blogs and websites that suggest the exact opposite of keeping spares and to throw away your spare linen and towels and so on as they make your cupboard look cluttered. They post perfectly neat pictures of a linen press with almost nothing in it. Now we all know nothing is easy to keep tidy,  this is true!   But what if there is sickness in the house, or the washing machine is broken or the power is out?  Or in my case what if the kitchen floor floods!?   Believe me some spares are a good idea! 

Jane's baking and beautiful produce! 

When I talk about minimalism I am not talking about keeping a clean and organised home.  I am talking about the "throw out everything you don't love (and certainly have no spares) trend".
This trend assumes you have the money at any time to go re buy what you just threw away if you need it again!  Pantries are even likely to be considered clutter.   

Mimi's beautiful turnovers! 

Last week I couldn't resist and commented on one of these kinds of posts.    Flying in the face of enthusiastic throwing away I mentioned what if you were sick and not up to washing and others were sick too? Wouldn't spare sheets be rather handy? And since we use linen constantly and that it wears out wouldn't spare sets be handy to replace worn ones?  And since it is expensive wouldn't this save money?   I went on and said if it really is worn out linen makes great hankies, cleaning cloths, dusters...
I have probably been kicked out or blocked by now! 

Some of Cookie's garden produce! 

The argument is to get rid of anything you don't just love.  Things are supposed to speak joy to you or you ditch them.  And people fall for this in droves.  

Now,  I do not like to wear a coat.  I do not love my coat and it doesn't spark joy.  This is for sure. 
However in winter when I go on a car journey I take my coat.  If my car breaks down and I am waiting on the side of the road in the freezing cold something will happen.... I will suddenly LOVE my coat!  ๐Ÿ˜Š

While this trend is ok with an ugly vase people are extending minimising to things like being able (or not)  to feed your children in an emergency as it is thought food storage is clutter.   

This is why I love Proverbs and the Proverbs woman.  And why I love the word Prudent!  It is prudent to have emergency supplies and to be able to look after your family in times of sickness, shortage, storms and so on.  It is our job!  

So here we are stocking out pantries, trying to get ahead, be prepared and even have spares! 
With thrift shopping, garage sales, give aways and regular sales we get chances to pick up things at amazing prices!   Yet have you noticed how if something breaks down and you need a new appliance 
 it is usually urgent,  you have limited time and no bargains are to be found!   How nice it would be to have a spare!  

Anne's Sour Dough Bread. She just got started when I offered starter recently!  
Look at her amazing results already! 

Some spares are really important. Like a spare can opener. Others might be an alternative... i.e. if I can't cook on the electric stove I can use the gas BBQ. Or I could use the camp stove. Or we could run the generator and I can boil the kettle or use my electric frypan. 

Anne's bread rolls.  
I think we can safely say you are doing wonderfully with the sour dough!

Last week I was so pleased to find a new (to me!) quilt and quilt cover in a huge size. I am so happy to have these spares. And remember last year when I found huge pure wool cream blankets?  What a find! 

Thrift stores are great for finding all kinds of useful back ups.  And there is something else... many older things are better quality than the current equivalent.  
In the same way I am watching for the best deals on groceries and working on my menu planning and so many of Laine's tips I am watching for wise buys that would be handy spares. 
On my list now I have:
Cast iron cookware. Especially a dutch oven.
Coffee percolator.
Stove top kettle. (for use the BBQ) 
Jaffle maker (for toasted sandwiches on the coals)
Can openers. 
Big tins suitable for bulk flour.
Billie (for campfire tea) 
Good saucepans. 
Leather boots for Andy.
And any of the main electrical appliances.  Remember when I found a brand new washing machine on the side of the road? We kept that in the shed and sure enough one day my old washer died!  To replace it cost us nothing!   I knew I saved $800 that week as I looked up the price of my "new" washer.  I have to say it was great knowing I had my back up waiting! 

Do you keep any back ups of things you use regularly?  What could be good things to watch for n your travels? 
With the electricity crisis we are having here I constantly look at things that need no electricity. I found a nice old hand mixer recently as that would be so useful.   Also I would like an old carpet sweeper!

I hope we all have a good new week!  The sun is shining and I just saw the wholesale butcher has Lamb Shanks for $1.80.  Guess what's on the menu! 


  1. Annabel,
    I love this post!!! It is so easy for people to get caught in the swing of a pendulum and fall on the edge of the arc. Too far to the left or right is too far removed from a functional happy medium.

    Recently, some one commented on all my kitchen equipment. "I just couldn't justify storing that much stuff". With a smile and a hint of sarcasm, I replied that I would rather store kitchen equipment, than take-away boxes. The girl earnestly replied, "Oh, I just throw them away! I mean, only a hoarder would save them. It isn't like there won't be more coming in!" I began to chuckle and shake my head. I never got her to understand that my kitchen equipment keeps the take-away boxes out of my house. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the great post! I've been working a LOT and I've missed you and the Bluebirds!

    1. Dear Anne, This fascinates me as a lot of the really young ones think they are so environmental but it was our Mums and Nans who never wasted anything, never used a plastic bag or packet of anything anyway! Now there are coffee pods, take away containers, every disposable thing... I am amazed no one much thinks its all just litter!
      I am glad you had time to read and catch up and thank you for your support! With love

  2. Very well said, Annabel! It drives me nuts that my daughter throws out everything and then just rebuys it! I love her to pieces but this is not how I raised her!

    We have somehow ended up with 5 spare coffee makers. A life time supply I think!

    1. Dear Lana, You are always going to be ok for coffee!
      If it makes you feel any better I met a couple recently. The young man was a very hard worker. He seemed like a good guy. The wife was a big spender and over time I found out she doesnt cook and she doesnt clean. If he asks her to clean up she throws out everything from the microwave to the toaster and buys new ones. This is cleaning to her! So he never asked her to clean and does it himself on weekends! I thought he was kidding at first! Oh and this applied to clothes, when the washing pile gets too big she throws it all in the bin!
      I felt sad as he worked hard and they will never get anywhere. He physically cannot earn what she spends. I think a lot of people go through stages where waste is high and then marriage and children and commitments kick in and out good training comes in to play so I am sure this will be the case with your daughter! With love

  3. Dear Annabel,
    I just erased my comment by accident so I'll try this again. (lol)
    We keep spares of everything. We only have one washer, one dryer, one dehydrator, and one pressure canner, however๐Ÿ˜ƒ.
    For everything else we keep manual backups to the second electric back-ups. For instance, we have two kitchens in the house, so we have two electric stoves plus we have a wood cook stove. In addition, we have two propane stoves and one has an oven.
    We have two large freezers and three refrigerators. We have electric grain grinders and a large manual back-up. I could go on and on, but you get the jest.๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    No minimalism here, because we view that as wasteful when it comes to survival and expenditure. I have known people to get rid of everything but the bare minimum and, f o r a short time, be thrilled with the space and lack of excess. In a minimal (lol) period of time they are buying items to replace what they got rid of in the first place.
    I don't like unnecessary 'stuff' stacked around either. I make sure things are neatly organized and put in a user friendly location. When, not if, times get difficult those who are prepared and have extra will be very grateful that they were Biblically wise.
    Thanks for another great post.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, I know you have great supplies and have thought about it carefully. I also know you are very neat and tidy. I think we are alike in that we don't care much for knick knacks and things but we do love pantry, cooking and craft/sewing related supplies. I think because they are useful.
      I would rather a row of jars than a row of shoes or DVDs. The best things are both useful and beautiful!
      There could be circumstances where it is just disastrous for families who have kept nothing practical or edible! My mind boggles about this!
      I agree about manual backups as we are so reliant on electricity. I kind of wish I was a better camper as I think people who camp out know how to do everything without electricity! (I am a terrible camper though..) With thanks for your thoughts, with love

  4. We love to keep spares too. We have a couple of coffee makers. One backup is a keurig type the other is one to put over a fire in case the power goes out. We have actually used the last one when we didn't have power for 4 days in an ice storm. I love your thoughts on not throwing things out. It's amazing what you might have to buy again. It probably will be more expensive when you do.
    It probably helps to keep organized in this situation so that you can find your backup when you need it. Have a blessed day Annabelle.

    1. Dear Vicky, I love that you could make coffee on the fire and actually had that for the four days in the storm! I bet you were so grateful to be able to still have tips of coffee through that time. Well done! This is really exactly what I mean! Realistically we are al going to have some kind of storm or power interruption at some time!
      And yes.... be organised and know where things are stored and how to use them! That is a very good point! Thank you Vickie, With love

  5. What a fun post. You are so right about the "sparking joy" to keep an item. For me, I ask weather it's a useful item or if it's something I have to dust. I don't keep spares of appliances generally speaking, but I do of things that wear out - ex. Hubby's work shirts, extra canning jars, and as you said linens. Also, as things die, I've been trying to replace it with an old version of that item. They were built to last and generally work better than modern made goods.

    1. Dear Lady Locust,
      I don't much like dusting. Its right up there with ironing for me! So I am not into ornaments and fiddly bits and pieces.
      I totally agree about older items often being stronger, better quality... lasting... the bread tins I got recently were really old and amazing. The heavier quality bakes better bread. I am watching out now for many things like these that are good to have. This doesnt mention the thrift store price being so much cheaper also!
      Many thanks, love

  6. Words of wisdom Annabel, my sister and I were discussing the whole minimalist fad, seriously only for the more money than brains tribe. While tidy and uncluttered look refreshing, it's little reason to get rid of it all, especially if it's everyday items we all use. I'm a firm believer in back ups and plan A,B and C, been caught out to many times.I feel so blessed to have your blog to guide and turn to.Thanks Annabel.

    1. Dear Cassandra,
      Thank you! Haha! (to what you said!)
      Yes pan A, B, C and D thats me!
      I think the whole thing is simple... can I provide what my family needs to the best of my ability? That should really be the goal rather than a certain style or trend.
      Many thanks! Love

  7. It really is the thing now to throw things out. I must admit, I am that way inclined and I am actually happier with an almost empty fridge and pantry, but sense (usually) prevails and I keep things stocked. I couldn't count the amount of times my husband has saved the day by fixing something using a part or piece from his shed.

    Anne hits the nail on the head about with the swinging pendulum and finding the happy medium.

    Hoarding is very different to keeping spares and backups I think. It is more of a conscious decision rather than a compulsion.

    1. Dear Garden Del, Yes a happy medium is about right with most things. I think sensible choices are the key. Like distinguishing what is useful and valuable and what is rubbish or unnecessary clutter. I figure we all have limited space anyway so we need to make smart choices.
      Your husband sounds very handy! That is a great asset!
      On hoarding... from what I can figure out hoarders are somehow emotionally attached to even actual trash and cant part with it. That is not so good! Others are just excessive like he whole floor is covered in toys or clothes or whatever. None of it is a help to the family.
      Its an interesting topic! With love

  8. Dear Annabel,

    This is a great post!

    Many years ago our grandparents always kept things. And unfortunately I have inherited those genes lol! No matter how much I try, I cant seem to get rid of stuff that could be useful. Minimalism is no good to me haha! I do however need to organise it better ~smiles.

    My dads shed is full of "just in case" bits and pieces that he claims might be useful. And most times when we ask if he has such and such, he does. He is the ultimate bower bird!

    We have a caravan and camper trailer, and these always hold spares that we could use in an emergency. This way the items are not taking up room in the house.

    Lovely to see some of the Bluebirds photos. It is always inspiring to see what others have achieve.

    Wishing you all a blessed week,

    Love Tania xoxo

    1. Dear Tania,
      I am starting to think a caravan is an excellent idea. Its essentially a spare home! And a spare is kept in there of pretty much everything you need! I think a caravan is the ultimate back up plan!
      Tania you have a very good set up and you are really practical. truly in a bit of a crisis you would ride it out well! I just think its sensible and wise!
      Thank you so much, with love

  9. I normally have spares myself, I have a large basement with shelves along one long wall so space is not an issue. I said normally because just last week my electric can opener just up and died so I went to get my hand can opener which I had gotten at a dollar store. Well that didn't turn out so well because it was build backwards where the cutting blade was on the outside of the turn handle!!! Needless to say I went out and looked at the next one I bought.

    1. Dear Tealady, A basement would be wonderful. It seems US homes commonly have basements? Australian homes don't. Also I notice US homes commonly have attics and Australian homes don't usually have those either!
      That can opener was a let down! I hope you find another one! With love

  10. Dear Annabel,
    firstly a huge congratulations to Kelsey and her husband on the arrival of their little boy! Wonderful news for a Monday !and I wish their lttle family the best over the next few weeks settling in together.
    Everyone's bread making is looking so good , I am working on mine , as you know ,but have put it tp sleep for a week with other family things going on. It is out now warming ready to feed before it goes back for another week's sleep. By then I should be rested and ready to start again.
    Re; spares ,I do have a 2 plate gas stove and gas bottles in our emergency stores, a kettle, frypan and pot to use on it.
    I have been building up an emergency pantry for my daughter to store under her bed as she has minimal room elsewhere in her flat.I wanted to find a low storage container on wheels which Ive seen before but can't seem to find now so meanwhile I have stored the items in 3 large colourful,new shopping bags I had stored away.And the baking basics are in a large square Tupperware container Ive had for decades.That is 3 large bags of items, plus a shopping recyclable bag of items that need to be stored in her pantry, and the Tupperware container.
    I haven't been encouraged here to store any electrical items ;-)but I may work past that and have a look at the opshops as it could help not only us but also two of children and their families over the next few years.
    Thankyou for the reminder . with love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria - just wondering if there is enough room under the bed for a drawer. You can put castors on it so that it will pull out, so need to leave room for them too. A quick cover could be an old sheet cut larger than needed with elastic threaded through it similar in design to a shower cap.


  11. I always look so forward to your posts! It is fun to read about things that "like-minded" people are doing. I have spares of most things that are important to me and it is fun to see how often they are used. Getting rid of things that I might need in the future just won't work for me so I'm glad I have plenty of storage! If I were to kick suddenly my family will donate all "my stuff" to one of the charities that build homes for the needy so it will go to work again! My things make me happy now and they will make someone else happy later!

    1. Dear Janet, Thank you! I hope you resist any early departures! But yes... good useful things will always be helpful to someone.
      Janet also there are times when having supplies and spares mean we can help someone in need or who has lost everything etc.
      Thank so much! With love

  12. Congratulations Kelsey!! What lovely news to read. Enjoy your wee man, and using all the wonderful things you made for him.

    I too am on the lookout for good quality cookware and bakeware at the op shop, no luck so far. But there's no great rush so will just keep popping in.

    I'm trying to buy the best we can afford in general for things we need, I would rather have linen that I really like and that is good quality than having heaps of poor quality sheets and blankets etc. So it is a work in progress. In the next couple of years.I hope to be able to replace all of our blankets with homemade ones :)

    I will have a good think about what appliances I would definitely want to replace immediately if they died and start keeping an eye out for them too.

    Thanks Annabel, this post has got me thinking! Beautiful pictures of everyones cooking and baking too!

    Have a great week everyone
    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      Thank you! I am like you with linen. Over the years I have started to love really good quality linen! It is expensive! But gorgeous and lasts!
      Jen watch out of garage sales and clearing sales as old baking dishes, jars, canning kits and kitchen things are often in those. I have had luck with bread tins and so on and they have come from kitchen of old people who's houses have been packed up... usually these old things are amazing heavy quality!
      Also if you are travelling at all try the far off op shops... now and then you find a good one and the things you are needing. Also if possible befriend someone in your local op shop and tell them what you are after. Sometimes there are things out the back other times they will save you things or let you know if they come in. This can be a huge help! With love

  13. Congratulations Kelsey and hubby on the safe arrival of your baby boy. Another great post with lots of good tips. Take Care Jo R

  14. Hi Annabel,
    We purchased a new jaffle maker for going over the coals from BCF just last week. It was $26. These aren't cheap but last forever. Here's hoping you find one in your treasure hunting. At least you will know how much a new one costs.
    We tend to have a back up of most things. I did not want to have to be transferring items from the house to the caravan and then back again everytime we decided to go away. As a result I gradually ended up with one thing in the house and a second one in the van. In the van we also needed to be able to have items for when we have power and for when we are free camping.
    We got the jaffle iron as we have a toasted sandwich press in the van(we also have one in the house) but we did not have the off power equivalent.
    a few months ago our electric kettle broke. I was able to walk up to the van and get the one we use in it. This gave me the chance to look around and decide which new kettle I wanted to purchase. I had time to think about my decision. I like this about having spares.
    In the van we have the reverse cycle air con. We also have a fan that runs on the same batteries as the power tools and a small electric heater. I am about to shut up the caravan and turn on the reverse cycle heater. I'm also going to transfer myself out of jeans and into trackie pants. It's so cold!!!!!!!
    From a slightly frost bitten me. Life is good.

    1. Had to Google what a jaffle was. An Australian pie iron that goes over the fire. Very neat. This would be great to have one for no power days.
      Thanks ladies. I always learn something on here.

  15. Great topic Annabelle. As you know I have a grocery stockpile of 12 months (and I'm seriously considering making it at least 18 months over the next year - not to be a fear monger but the world isn't getting any nicer and I see hard times ahead, if I can use the grocery money for other essentials without depriving my family I'll be very happy), but I also always have spare linen ready to open and use. Sheets, towels, face washers, tea towels (the ones I like are very hard to get nowadays), my favourite scrub buds and scourers, pot holders, doona covers etc. all have spares. I keep buttons and zippers, shoe laces from old shoes, bread ties and tags (the tags make great pegs when we're camping and if they break it's not a big deal and they don't take a lot of room in teh rubbish). When I open a new set, I'll start looking for a replacement straight away (if I haven't already found one). I also have a spare iron, spare hair dryer, spare vacuum cleaner. I kept my old mixer when we bought the new one, and I've inherited Mum's food processor and sandwich press. There are spare bread machine tins, cake tins, pantry storage, clock radios and some garden tools in the shed too. Some of them have been given to us, some we bought from op shops or garage sales. They all still work and are things we use all the time. Have a lovely week, Cath

    1. Dear Cath,
      I love you because you are so sensible and look after your family as number one! I totally agree with what you have said.
      It seems common sense isn't terribly common. Over the course of this whole conversation and the comments I have clarified a few things for myself. I would rather the joy of being able to look after my family than the joy of an empty cupboard! Its that simple. The things to keep are the things to keep the household going and everyone fed. In the old days it was just basic survival!
      Thanks so much Cath! With love

  16. congratulations to Kelsey and husband.
    this is a great topic Annabel.
    Last year I bought 2 extra coffee plungers and teapots for $5 each in Coles. As these are mostly glass, and I can be a little clumsy at times I thought it would be good to have extras.
    I have extra sheets, blankets, towels, doona covers etc. And am trying to work out where I could store extra doonas, though I do have a couple of sleeping bags which could be used instead.
    I need to remember to buy another can opener when shopping on Wednesday.
    As for electrical items I just don't have enough room to have spares, but could manage short term without these things.

    1. Dear Margaret,
      I love my coffee plunger and I never saw them at that price in Coles! Well done!
      So many times in our family extra bedding has been a life saver. Sometimes in helping others as well. Mimi mentions (here in comments) many alternatives and ways to manage without which is really good! We can be inventive if we need to be! With love

  17. Huge congratulations to Kelsey and husband!

    Annabel, I think you have really put your finger on how the whole "spark joy" motto is misinterpreted. I have actually gone through my whole house checking if the stuff I have "resonates" with me - but the way I see it, you can not view anything out of context. Like a coat - you might hate it in the heat of the summer, but it could be your favourite thing in midwinter. Or a hammer. Who gets joyful about a hammer? But try knocking a nail in without one. Context is everything.

    It is important though to recognise a difference between being prudent and being a hoarder. My mum often came down on the wrong side of that divide, and this can cause a lot of misery. There is a huge, huge difference between having a coat that fits, and keeps you warm in winter, and having twelve, none of which is quite right, and which make it hard to find the one that will do the job best when you really need it.

    And as for hammers, if the handle is loose or splintered, it will not do its job properly. Repair or put on your "replace when the price is right" list.

    Bedlinen - great to have backups that are in good repair and fit your beds. But trust me on this, two sets that are whole and fit your bed are a lesser evil than twenty two, twenty of which are full of holes you'll "mend when you get a moment" or the wrong size for your bed, so you have to dig for half an hour to find the usable one every time you need to change your bedlinen.

    Sometimes people just forget that time is the one single resource we all have that is not renewable, and that when it runs out, that's it. So if you haven't got around to mending your "spare" bedlinen in the last ten years, it's better to let it go to someone who will do it today.

    1. So true Allegra, I have been in hoarders homes and that is a whole new ball game! One had fifty years of newspapers lined in the hallways and was the worst fire hazard and you had to climb over stuff! Wrecked bedlinen is good for dusters and rags but that is probably all!
      I like things to be pretty orderly and I don't like knick nacks and too much to dust. My way of having good supplies is to keep them mostly neat and tidy and in cupboards etc. Major clutter would drive me mad as I don't like mess.
      But many things are so important to have and as you say who loves a hammer or any basic tool like that but they can be invaluable to have!
      I 100% agree to pass on to someone useful things that are of no use to you. Space is too valuable in most homes to keep anything useless and worse.. useless and ugly! My best things are beautiful AND useful, that is perfect to me! Thank you for your thoughts! With love

  18. I have my home up for sale and am moving in with my brother, so won't be needing too many "extras", as combining households will give extras. Last summer my "extras" went to a local church for their yearly yard sale, so I know my things went to good homes. But I find I still have some extras, like my mandolin, one is packed to go with me, and one is in the cabinet. What I have let loose of, is things that I know that if I were to set up my home on my own again, that I could replace easily at thrift stores (your op shops) or yard sales. I packed and am moving only what I love and don't want to have to find all over again, or find at a much bigger price. Love your posts. Norma - New Jersey

    1. Dear Norma,
      Thank you! How nice you are moving in with your brother! YEs when two households come together some good spares can come of that and also a lot of saved expenses by living together which can be a very good thing. Also tow people to look out for each other which is very good! I hope you will be extremely happy in your new home!
      The church sale would have done well with your donations and I bet many went to good homes!
      good luck also with your house sale Norma! With love

  19. Hello Annabel and fellow Bluebirds :) .

    Congratulations Kelsey and family on your new arrival.

    We have backups for most things including medical and prescription medicines in stock. Clearly we are not minimalists here. Living in a small workers cottage we don't unfortunately have the room for a lot of spare larger appliances but we will work on smaller appliances though.

    In the pantry we do have 6 - 12 months worth of most groceries we use as well as personal care items.

    Things we will be keeping our eye out for to stock are -
    - Egyptian cotton towels, hand towels and floor mats.
    - More towelling tea towels.
    - More food grade storage containers for stocking raw cooking ingredients.
    - A Dutch oven.
    - Manual mincer.
    - Manual grain grinder.
    - More biscuit trays.
    - Stainless steel mixing bowls.
    - 32cm stainless steel frypan.
    - Firewood metal splitting wedges.
    - Spare chainsaw chains for both chainsaws.
    - Spare tyres for the garden trolleys.
    - Trolley jack.
    - More solar lanterns - We have 5 now we use instead of turning on mains powered lights at night.

    Like Cath I am not hugely optimistic about the world either so we are likewise concentrating on upping our grocery stockpile as it fits into the budget.

    We find we are building up quite a nice network of people we trade items with which is lovely and enables us to all have items in our homes that we otherwise would not have as far as food and other things are concerned.

    Have a great week one and all :)


    1. Dear Sewinggcreations,
      Very sensible. We would both make a minimalist faint. :)
      But we would both be able to keep caring for our families and providing food, medicines, warmth and life in a crisis which I would far prefer!
      Firewood, a chainsaw... these are excellent. Spare types! This is one I didnt think of.
      I wish I lived near you actually! A manual mincer is a good idea and I see those! Thank you, I keep a small notebook and I will add to it. You know what you are in op shops or a garage sale and there is stuff everywhere I can forget what Im looking for! I get out my little note book and it focuses me and I am better. Also I have sometimes had success asking staff if they have something as a few times I have been told to hang on and they have gone out the back and re appeared with what I want!
      I agree with your comment.... right at this moment anything could happen especially with North Korea. (And several other things are high risk also!) Things could change in the blink of an eye.
      A network of people to help each other and trade with is really good! Traceable items are something to think about. I am working on a supply of things I think would be good to trade... can openers, matches etc.
      Thanks so much for your comment! With love

  20. Dear Annabel,
    First, congratulations to Kelsey and here husband. Such an exciting time for their family!

    Loved this post,Annabel. My philosophy has always been it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. This doesn't mean willy nilly purchases of things that wouldn't ordinarily be used in this household,but items that it would be prudent to have on hand.
    My sister calls me "the kitchen gadget queen". Experience is a great teacher. If our stove or oven goes out it may be a week or more before it can be repaired as it's, hooked up to our main propane tank, as is our furnace and hot water heater. Having a toaster oven that's large enough to cook a 10 pound turkey has been a great backup. And I also have a backup for it that I found at a yard sale. I also have found it useful to have a backup for my sewing machine. Those have been found at yard sales as have extra irons. I've also found non electric items for backup including a food processor that had all the different blades that is hand cranked. I found s backup pressure canner at a yard sale that only needed a new gasket that was easy to get at the hardware store. Backup for our coffee maker include a stove top percolator, a French coffee press and a cone where I can just drip the coffee. We've got coffee covered. Smile.

    I loved Laine's comment about learning from other women and grateful to you for providing a place for us to do just that.
    Blessings, Cookie
    PS. Everyone's cooking and baking looks incredibley delicious!!

    1. Dear Cookie, I think you are very practical! I would far rather to be able to keep cooking or keep sewing than have a house full of ornaments and thousands of DVDs! (I knew someone who had over 5000 DVDS!) To be able to make coffee when the power is out, cook a meal, reach for food in the pantry in a storm and so on. To be able to provide and keep things going. So important!
      Thank you Cookie! You "get it" ! With love

  21. I am a relative newcomer to your blog. First time commenter. I love your blog! And the community of commenters you have.

    Recently my 87 year old dad moved into assisted living. His roommate is my mom who has had Alzheimer's for 11.5 years and has lived in memory care for 5 years. My siblings and I all live hundreds of miles away but we gathered at dad's house to get it ready to sell. Sad. But on the bright side, we now all have backups. I got most of the bed linens and a Dad's collection of screws, nuts and bolts, etc. There are 52 jars, each jar is numbered and he had a clipboard with the corresponding numbers an description of the contents of each jar.

    Thanks again for your lovely, lovely blog!

    1. Dear Cheri,
      Oh your sweet Mum and Dad! Your Dads screws and so on... my Pa was like that. He kept everything in order and had everything he needed. Many older things make the best backups! They are lasting and good quality! I hope teethings you kept come in handy and have good happy memories attached to them.
      I hope your Mum and Dad are happy been together and taken care of so well.
      Thank you for your kind words! And welcome and thank you so much for commenting! With love

  22. Hello dear Annabel and Bluebirds!

    Congratulations to Kelsey and her husband. How exciting!

    I think you really hit the nail on the head, Annabel, when you said "The argument is to get rid of anything you don't just love. Things are supposed to speak joy to you or you ditch them." I personally find great joy in my stocked pantry, in my slightly stuffed linen closet, and so on. Of course, I don't love a messy, cluttered house either :) Thankfully, this is not the case. I didn't think I had many back ups, but after reading this post and thinking about it, I have more than I thought! I have two:
    *mixers. One of them is from the 60's or 70's and the top detaches from the stand to become a hand mixer. So it's really two in one. I love it :)
    *vacuum cleaners
    *refrigerators. One stays in the garage and is used mostly for freezer space, but it does get more use on a holiday to store food.
    *coffee makers
    *kettles. One is an electric kettle and the other is heated manually
    *dutch ovens
    *crock pots
    *pressure cookers (I have four! One is electric)
    *I don't have a spare washer, but I do have manual washer if I ever need it

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Somehow you just hit the nail on the head! It just struck me.... we should feel joy at being able to look after our family. Know we are prepared for winter and can cope in a crisis. This brings security and joy! Its as simple as that! Clutter doesnt bring joy but provision does! Thats the difference!
      I am in need of a kettle like yours. Also dutch ovens. And a manual washer would be excellent! I am adding that to my wish list. I thinking old mixers are gorgeous too!
      Spare manual can openers are a good thing to have a few.
      Thanks Jenn! Have a really good week! Love

    2. I only ever use manual can openers :) I had an electric one once, but it didn't last long and I've used manual ever since!

  23. Great points all about the topic of "minimalism". I too have extras of many items on hand and looking at my home one would not think to label me as a "minimalist". But a huge point I want to make here, and after reading comments, I am not sure if it was touched on. The main draw and eye-opener for me in regards to Minimalism was how advertising affects us and our culture's urge to participate in mindless consumerism. I'm not talking about being prepared for emergencies, I'm speaking of endless and mindless shopping brought about by advertising that tells us what we have is outdated, ugly, of no use, not in style, not big enough, not pretty enough, etc. Minimalism opened my eyes to the fact that we need to decide how much is 'enough'. It forces one to take a hard look at our lives and how we live: Do we really need a 2-5000 square foot house? Does my child really need a room so filled with toys, that they are over-whelmed with choice when so many children have little or nothing? Do we need every new tech gadget that advertisers say we need? Do we need a new car every couple of years because the new models have all sorts of upgrades? Do I need to have an entire new wardrobe because the fashion industry and popular culture says my current one is out of style? This is the side of minimalism that speaks to me. Minimalism can be different things to different people. I also don't care to have endless 'collections' of mass produced items sitting around my home to dust or trip over or take up space. There is nothing unique about mass-produced trinkets. Minimalism has changed me from a person who years ago used to shop for entertainment to a person who considers the reason for the purchase of an item. Do I need it? Do I have the money to pay for it in cash? Is it of lasting quality? Can I make something at home similar or better? Can I wait til this item comes my way free or for a lesser price? Minimalism is about choices. We don't have to throw everything away and have sterile-looking homes--but I for one love the concept of Minimalism--as it applies to my own life and home. And just for the record, I do have an extra microwave, can opener, bed sheets, blankets, bed pillows, vacuum, a stocked pantry, etc.

    1. Dear Joy, Good points! I think the really excessive consumerism you mention like rooms full of toys, constant new wardrobes of clothes and things like that have all been just crazy. People have gone into record breaking debts to live in extreme clutter! Realising this is awful isn't necessarily minimise it is just sensible. It sounds to me you have struck a healthy balance and have good supplies and a stocked pantry and have been more sensible and basically I am doing exactly the same thing. Its common sense. Its pretty much how our Grandparents lived! They didnt have ridiculous amounts of clothes, toys ornaments etc they had things they ended and could use and peaceful homes, they didnt waste. Very sensible and basic. Very good! With love

    2. Joy
      Well said!!!
      Jenny From Tassie

  24. Dear Annabel, Thank you for this timely post! We are considering selling our house to move to a "smaller" house that will "cost" less (taxes, insurance). BUT, I've been thinking that I do not want to have less space than I have now (my house is NOT big) because I need to have the things that I have and do not want to get rid of them! I'm going to have my husband read this post when he gets home tonight. You are such a blessing to me!
    xoxo, Holley

    1. Dear Holley,
      What a decision! I would consider the things that are important for your budget and self reliance like your pantry and essential supplies... and room for those for sure. It is a lot to weigh up! While reducing costs is good try to do it in a way that keeps you well stocked and well prepared as you never know whats around the corner. Good luck and thank you! Love

  25. Dear Annabel,

    I have to catch up on comments, as I haven't been able to write for awhile!! I love everything from the last Christmas Challenge is so inspiring to see what everyone comes up with and it sure makes me feel good to know that there are so many creative and thoughtful people! I am also agog at all the great deals you scored on your trip last week...your bedspread is GORGEOUS!!!

    You have really made some great points in this post. I go through major decluttering moods and I always kick myself later for at least one or two items that I get rid of...though I never get rid of essentials (canning equipment...which I do not LOVE, but definitely NEED :)). On the other hand, my parents have always been keepers, and it can really get ridiculous. Unfortunately, they have A LOT of space, which encourages them to keep EVERYTHING. They went through a period where they had to sell almost everything they owned, and consequently they keep it ALL, now, pretty much indiscriminately. It's easy to see the psychology behind it, but over the years the items have really piled up. The type of stockpiling you are suggesting is far from this scenario, and I fully agree with having a stockpile!

    Lovely, lovely pictures. And congratulations to Kelsey and her hubby!!!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Thanks and yes I love this bed linen I got! It was just me!
      Well anything you ever need your parents will have it! I couldnt stand keeping everything but I think (while realising my parents are older than yours...) that our parents and Grandparents have experienced hard times and times of shortages and things we haven't. I found my Nan kept everything and it took me years to realise they had gone through the Great Depression and the war and having just nothing which is unimaginable. So they just never could bare to waste anything. It is an interesting subject! Mans things were all fairly practical though so mainly they were useful things. Now I am wishing I had more of her kitchen things and such!
      It is so lovely about Kelsey! She has been so excited and now her dream has come true! With love,

    2. You are right, Annabel...and it's certain that my parents will have whatever I would need! :)

      I agree with Joy's point about the anti-consumerism aspect of minimalism, too. And Mimi's about being creative in problem solving before breaking out the wallet! This post has sparked some great points.


  26. Dear Annabel and Friends, first of all congratulations to Kelsey and Mr Kelsey on the happy arrival of their darling son. How exciting! Secondly, the topic of sensible nesting vs manic decluttering, is a topic close to my heart. It's a strange contradiction in a world where houses are three times the size and everyone has a room of their own plus a TV room, rumpus room and home office, but we need to declutter and become minimalist...huh? I never caught on to the whole 'does this spark joy' thing either. Last week, my bootie style slippers did not spark joy sitting in my wardrobe, where I kicked them over every time I rummaged around looking for something. But like your example of your coat, they sure did when I slipped them onto my icy feet and felt them snuggle around my frozen ankles! So I am with you there! On the topic of having multiple electrical appliances, I'd like to refer to another Bluebirder, and resurrect one of Vickies early comments on your blog, that said 'something is better than nothing'. I've never forgotten that comment Vickie, and it's one that really resonated with me, having come from a very Make Do sort of family. Waffle iron not working? Have hotcakes or crepes or muffins instead. Vacuum cleaner on the fritz? Try a straw broom or carpet sweeper. That's what my Mum used to use and a straw broom doubles as a great way to sweep the garden paths. No sandwich press? We always buttered our sandwich on the outside instead of the inside, and pan fried them...delicious! No iron? Hang your clothes straight from the washing machine. I haven't ironed in years, thanks to this idea. No coffee maker? Drink instant coffee until a new one pops up at the right price. No slow cooker? Slow simmer on the stovetop or in the oven. No toaster? Toast your bread under the grill. No kettle? Boil your water in a saucepan or in the microwave. I could go on, but you get the idea. Sometimes it's a matter of finding another way that will work until you are in a position to replace the worn item. We've been a bit brainwashed into thinking we NEED all of these appliances in a way. I think you have to strike the right balance, as Anne said, a happy medium. My husband was once enormously frustrated by my desire to have spares of many things, but he learned to appreciate it, when the need arose for an instant replacement once or twice! One thing we have done recently, is to invest in some storage for the kitchen and garage. Now instead of our spare dishes, appliances, linens, pillows, blankets and groceries tumbling out of a too small cupboard, they are stored neatly on a corner shelf in our garage (the linens packed into those vacuum storage bags that minimise the bulk and protect the linens), that my husband purpose built. This has alleviated frustration in wanting to keep spares of things, but not having the space to sensibly do so. We have also built a new floor to ceiling pantry cupboard (it does help to have a clever husband!), which now houses our tinned and dry goods, both those currently in use, and those we previously had stored in our shop as we called it, but which was a shelf in our internal stairwell. So, one cupboard in the kitchen, and one corner cupboard in the garage, now allows us to keep our spares, and our emergency supplies, with no fuss or bother or frustration at feeling we are surrounded by 'stuff'. Sometimes, it's a case of finding the happy medium for sure, but it can also be executing it in a way that suits your lifestyle and your family. So(a)assess what spares you really need to keep,(b)make sure you have somewhere sensible to store your spares so they don't just become clutter, and (c)don't forget to Make Do if needs arise. You might find you don't need that item at all. Gosh that's a long comment! Sorry! I hope it's a useful comment. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi- Something is better than nothing I have always believed so, but I have noticed that the all or nothing attitude seems to be the norm for many. It is a shame because I think people just make things harder on themselves with that attitude. Have a great week!

    2. Dear Mimi, Thank you! I love this! A replacement, a substitute or a way to do without, this could be a blog post of its own! Your comment also reminded me of seeing someone wrap a sandwich is foil and then iron it to get a toasted sandwich! Thats a good one! Mum always did pan fried toasted sandwiches or under the grill doorstop type ones. I loved those!
      I think of it all the point is you don't have to run out and buy new things all the time at all. A lot of new things can completely blow the weekly budget and put a heap of stress on the finances. So re thinking this can be a big help and as Laine said... if she can avoid that expense she keeps her money in her purse for the groceries etc and she is very pleased.
      I am loving the new pantry! This sounds beautiful! A handy husband is a great asset! Your kitchen is heavenly now with your new stove, painted dresser... so lovely! Thanks so much Mimi for a very helpful comment, with love

    3. Laine is wise Annabel. I couldn't agree with her and with you, more :)

    4. Thank you so much, Mimi. Many of your points are so helpful to me.

  27. Dear annabel, with my tiny 1 bed flat from the government there is little linen cupboard is one shelf but I am fortunate enough to have five summer sheets and three winter ones.
    I was at the shops today $5 per sweet."scroll" various flavours from.the "pop up shop" and people pay these crazy prices !! Can you please add a section titled "recipes" and in it put your daughters spinach ravioli , scroll dough, and your other delicious recipes ? $1.98 for lamb shanks that would never happen in Sydney ! Its now confirmed its more expensive to live here than any major city. I honestly wish we lived in the old times when a woman could stay at home. Now days I don't know how people my age (40) have kids, a mortgage, private school all of it !! It does depress me to think I may never own my own house. Lord willing I will ! I want to be more prepare for anything. Love, sonia

    1. Dear Sonia,
      Yes $5 per sweet bun is here too or $5 per scroll i.e. vegemite and cheese! Look in the sour dough section for all these kind of bread based recipes, they re all there. Look in Cooking for other recipes.
      The ravioli is Rachels... how lovely it looks! I will see if she might give us that recipe!
      I don't know how everyone affords the things you mention either... I don't know if we could afford a home in Sydney... it has become crazy!
      If you have trouble finding anything even try google i.e. The Bluebirds are Nesting Scrolls. I often do this myself as my index is fairly basic and it works! All my buns, scrolls, sticky buns etc are all under Sour dough.
      Well done on the linen you have Sonia and all you do to try and be pared even in a small space. Some preparedness is knowledge too and you have medical knowledge which is excellent! With love

  28. Dear Annabel and Blue Bird friends
    Firstly congratulations to Kelsey and her wonderful husband on the birth of their much awaited for son.

    So my friends I can see that I have a lot of what Annabel is looking for - most is still in storage and originally I was thinking of getting rid of them but if I can find a way to store them so that they are easily accessible then I will keep them.

    Linen is well and truly covered. I have a large collection of spare cutlery that lives in a plastic box - we take it down to my mother in laws place when we have large gatherings (just the family mind). I have a plain white square dinner set (no cups or mugs) that I often use as serving dishes rather than to eat from. I was going to get rid of that dinner set because of it's awkward shape as it is hard to store and fit into the dishwasher but finding another use for it means that it is still here.

    We have spare garden tools, only because we have moved so much and the last thing to find has been a shovel or garden fork.

    My husband has some spare tools, he did have a lot of his fathers but some thief broke in and stole them when we lived in Melbourne.

    As for my kitchen items well, because I use to cater for large numbers of girls I picked up a few items along the way to help make things go quicker. I have a vintage early food processor that is powered by the turn of a handle. I have a vintage egg beater and a few other items like metal egg rings. I haven't down sized them yet, just as well because they will make great stands for items that need lifting in the slow cooker.

    Haven't seen a carpet sweeper apart from one in a supermarket a few years ago.

    Would love a twin tub washing machine as my spare - had one in Sydney that I use to use in summer on the back veranda. Would run the water out to the plants.

    This week is an adjustment week in our household - my husband has started his new job and we are dealing with traffic issues. Of course this also happens to be a busy week for me with 1 day out of the house and the next I am home.

    Next week will be better.

    I found a price list from someone who supplies home baking to people. She lives not too far from me. I am still in shock with the pricing - nothing flash either.

    Have a great week


    1. Dear Lynette,
      That price list would be interesting reading! I think it is really good to know what people pay and to value our own work much higher!
      My Nan always had twin tub washing machines. She loved them! I also had one very early on and I loved it too. I am pretty sure one of the girls here has one... I think it might be Cath. Anyway now with the need to save waste and cut down a twin tub would be wonderful! They were a very economical way to wash!
      I hope your husband is settling into the work and routine. Traffic is the not so good part.
      I think the hand egg beater is very useful. Also the hand food processor!
      Garden tools will always be an excellent thing to have plenty of.
      I hope your busy week is going well! With love

    2. Hi Annabel and Lynette, then that could possibly be 2 girls that have a twin tub washing machine as a backup as we have one here also.

      They are really handy when the other washing machine breaks down.


  29. Now I am hungry after looking at all those beautiful pictures!
    I try to de-clutter, but I too, love to have extras of the things that are important and used daily.
    The list is great.
    Such good ideas.

    1. Thank you Cheryl! We have some good cooking going on here! xxx


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