Intro | 31 Days – Back to Basics

Intro | 31 Days - Back to Basics

Over the years, I’ve learned how to cook from scratch, how to take care of my clothes, how to sew and knit, how to clean house, how to budget. Some things were taught to me (thank you, Mom, for making me cook dinner for the family once a week in high school!), some I’ve learned on my own.

I’ve come to realize that I’m pretty unusual.

I see a lot of people that don’t know how to take care of the things they own or are entrusted with for a period of time. I see people that bemoan the fact that food is expensive and that they can’t afford to eat healthy…while they load their carts up with pre-packaged nonfood that costs more than if they made a solid meal from scratch.

What’s missing?

Is it the Home Economics classes once taught in high school where students learned the basics of taking care of themselves and their family? Is modern society where the attitude is that you don’t have to learn to do it yourself – you can either hire out or pawn off that task on someone else? We are doing ourselves an injustice by not learning to do things for ourselves. It’s reflected in our expanding waistlines, budgets, and the number of things that we own. We’re losing control over our lives because we’re allowing others to do things for us – and then when we hit a bump in our lives and need to do it ourselves, we don’t know how to cope.

So much of society today is looking for newer, better, bigger, shinier…when really the way that things have been done for generations ends up being better – better results, better for the environment. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to give up my iPhone, laptop, and day job and live a strict 1950s lifestyle. There is something to be said, however, for making sure that basic life skills and knowledge are not lost and left with previous generations.

So, where does the “for the modern age” come in? There are skills that have tended to be labeled as “for girls” or “for boys.” But you know what? We all need to know how to check our oil and plunge a toilet, cook from scratch and clean a house – whether male or female. My hope is that most of the things I will cover will be universally applicable.

Now, I don’t expect you to fall in love with everything we’re going to cover. I love to sew, but believe me sewing buttons onto clothing is one of my very least favorite things to do – right up there with cleaning the shower. We don’t have to love it, but we need to know how to do it.

For the next 31 days we’re going to cover the basics. I’m going to try and assume that you know nothing to very little so that everyone learns something, even if it’s just because of a different point of view. Here’s the basic schedule:

  • Mondays: Clothing and Textiles
  • Tuesdays: Cooking and Nutrition
  • Wednesdays: Self Care and Improvement
  • Thursdays: Home Repairs, Cleaning, and Home Improvement
  • Fridays: Finance
  • Saturdays: Best of the ‘Net
  • Sundays: The Vintage Life

A caveat and grace note:
We will be dealing with a lot of numbers – body numbers, food numbers, financial numbers. You are not your numbers. Your numbers are a method of measurement, a way of seeing improvement and holding yourself accountable for slips. Your numbers in and of themselves are not a measure of your self worth. Your numbers are not inherently good or bad. Treat your numbers with a bit of distance. Again, you are not your numbers.

Are you ready? We’re going to start by covering the basic tools you’ll need for your Home Ec toolbox. Toolboxes for each section will be broken down into two areas:

  • The very basics are items that are the bare minimum requirements, usually low- or no-tech.
  • Extra credit items usually suggest tools that you may want to purchase to make the job easier or ways to integrate technology if you are so inclined.

Let’s go – see you tomorrow!


Sewist, knitter, reader, dancer. Wife. Lover of things vintage and retro.


  1. Nice! This is going to be a great series! I think I have a pretty good education growing up as well, but we’ll see what I learn. Thanks for writing about this. I’ll be following along. I’m also writing a series this month – on decluttering. There is so much MESS I need to get out of the house.

    • Oh, I hear you!! I was cleaning the house yesterday and got so irritated at all the paper stashed everywhere that I collected every piece of paper, magazine, and stray book I could find that was laying around and stuck it on the dining table. Now we have no place to eat dinner until it gets dealt with! 🙂 I’m hoping that will provide a little encouragement to deal with it. (And let’s not talk about the car registration sheet that I spent 45 minutes looking for so we could finish our taxes…I think I need to read your series!)

  2. I love this! I have often thought how we have lost so much of the traditional homemaking in this modern age. I look forward to hear what you have to say in this series!

  3. sounds fun…I homeschool my daughter (15) so I am pinning this so that maybe I’ll find some great tools for her, or even have her read the posts.

    • Wonderful! I actually wanted to work on getting to a point where I was teaching an in-person class to junior and senior high school students. I’d love to have it be a series of 3-4 years worth, where each year those continuing on would learn things in more detail. (Like for clothing – the first year would be learning about fabrics and purchasing wisely, and the last year would be some sort of a senior project – a prom dress or special project to show what they’ve learned). If you have any input on the sorts of things you think would be beneficial, please let me know, and I’d be happy to cover them. 🙂 (And that’s why I covered the basics of self-care such as going to bed with a clean face and brushing and flossing…all ages can use that reminder!)

  4. I am SO ready to see this series come to life. Most of what I know I picked up from a book called, “How to Fix Damn Near Anything.”

    • I love reading vintage books on this topic. My favorite right now is “America’s Housekeeping Book” from 1945. It’s amazing how much everything in that book still applies today!

  5. the professor and the housewife Says: October 2, 2014 at 5:01 am

    This is so needed! A few years back I was making chicken stock when a friend dropped by. She asked what I was doing and when I told her she said “I thought you had to buy that in a can.” Like you I’ve taught myself to do most things and while I’m not an expert at any of it it’s comforting somehow to have the skills.

    • I remember the first time I made chicken stock. I felt like it was magic – after all, it had just started with water, remnants of a rotisserie chicken and a few veggies. 🙂

  6. Great topic. It is sad many young people will not learn this dying art.

    • I think there’s hope since I’ve seen a resurgence in the interest in sewing and knitting and DIY. Just need to get classes offered – at school is not likely, but outside of school is a definite possibility.

  7. […] my caveat and grace note about numbers? If that is going to apply anywhere for most people, it will be here. Dealing with […]

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