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Think Like Grandma

A great number of people are looking at the way society is moving, at current events, and where they think it will lead. Frightened by it, they decide they’d better lay up some stores for coming hard times. But they don’t know how or even where to start. I say start by learning to think like Grandma.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have known their Grandma. I had three: my paternal, maternal, and my maternal’s mother my Great-Grandma Stout. We called her G’ma because that was how she signed all our birthday cards.

All three of them were the hardest working women I’ve ever met in my life. But they always had time to play with us, feed us homemade cookies, and tell us stories.

How did they have time for all that?

If you talk to ten different people, you might hear twenty different explanations how Grandma had time to do all she did. The truth is, most of those explanations are probably correct, and a few more besides. But most of them are still slightly off the mark, and not the key for opening that door for us of today.

Why? Because she operated differently than we do today.

There’s an old phrase you may or may not have heard. Work smarter, not harder.

Whenever I worked too hard, trying to match my grandma’s pace, whichever grandma, all three of them would give me the same warning. “Slow down. You’re burning the candle at both ends. You have to work smarter, not harder.”

I was too young and dumb to understand what she was trying to teach me.

Now that I’m a little older, have more experience at life, and a broader perspective, it’s become clearer and clearer that Grandma got so much done because prepping was a way of life for her. Anytime she set herself to a task, a good bulk of the work was already done because she had prepared things for that task ahead of time.

Dinner? No problem. There are several different options available to toss together in the pantry or the fridge, and that’s if something isn’t already set cooking hours beforehand.

Dishes? Halfway done with the sink full of hot soapy water waiting for dishes to be dunked in to soak and prevent the need for scrubbing.

Cleaning? No problem. The cleanser and bucket are right there, stashed and ready to use.

Laundry? Easy peasy. Everything is right within reach and done so systematically she doesn’t have to spend any extra energy thinking about it.

Going from that description, she sounds pretty organized. Honestly, not so much. She just had a lot of things prepped and ready before they needed them.

If she often made biscuits to go with supper, she made extra mix to set aside for next time.

Her pantry was close to where she cooked, so she spent less time gathering ingredients.

Always she used leftovers the next day so they didn’t languish in the refrigerator taking up space and cluttering the demands on her attention. Usually it would go into a soup at lunchtime, or she would add more ingredients to turn it into an entirely different dish. That also was a form of prepping, since she didn’t have to make an entirely new meal any time she used those leftovers.

People nowadays enter a newfound prepping mentality and ask, “How much of what do I need?” To answer that question, think and operate like Grandma. Get things ready ahead of time. Use what you have.

You won’t know what you need until you know what you use. And even when you do figure that out, you won’t have the energy or time to go get them or figure out how to store them if you don’t work smarter, not harder.

So go mix up a batch of something. Make it cookies, just for fun. You don’t have to complete it. In fact, make sure you don’t add any of the wet ingredients to half of the batch. Set that aside for future use.

In a few days, or next week, when your cookies are gone and you want more, just grab that mix of dry ingredients sitting there ready and waiting for you. Toss in the eggs and milk or whatever else and bake them up. Voila. Cookies! With less half the effort.

Once you try it and it works, you might think about how you can utilize this in other areas of your life as well. What else can you prep ahead so tasks of the future are more than twice as easy?

For some ideas, you can find cookbooks with recipes such as the Make-A-Mix book by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward, and Madeline Westover.

If you’ve ever tried this method, help others out. Comment below and share your successes and what you would do differently.

2 thoughts on “Think Like Grandma”

  1. Grandma Shetka was one of the most organized women I ever knew. I only wish I had paid attention to how she did it while I was younger. By the time I was ready to learn from her, it was too late. Did anyone in the family manage to get her recipe for her chicken and dumplings?

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