If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve done a lot of decluttering over the past couple years. I’ve taken numerous carloads of stuff to Goodwill, and have (except for last month when I was on a mission to find stuff for our son’s play kitchen) mostly stopped going in to shop when I drop stuff off. I got rid of about half of my craft supplies, and I’ve cleared out closets and cupboards all through the house, tossing or recycling or donating stuff that we didn’t need anymore.
I had already made one pass through the kitchen a year or so ago, getting rid of stuff that we weren’t using. But I mostly focused on gadgets and excess glassware rather than food. Last night, I was browsing around online and I came across this awesome blog written by a lady who has managed to get rid of 10,000 things by purging 100 items at a time! Pretty inspiring if you’re thinking about getting rid of clutter. Christine’s writing had me laughing out loud, and then it got me up off my butt and into the kitchen to do something about our too-full cupboards.
I love to cook. And to shop for groceries. We eat all of our meals at home (and I do mean all… we took a friend out for his 90th birthday last month and he chose Olive Garden. But before that, we hadn’t eaten out since September). That’s how I justify our full pantry, freezer, and cupboards. But I had noticed lately that there was stuff at the back of the cupboards that I was never using, and it was just serving to make the cupboards a little less useful than they would otherwise be.
So at about 11pm, I was standing in the kitchen surrounded by boxes and jars and bags of stuff that I didn’t need. Some of it was a wee tad bit expired and went in the trash:
Yes, we moved to a new house in 2009. I vaguely remember being in a big hurry to clean out the old house and I think I tossed everything from the fridge and pantry into a cooler and boxes without paying much attention. But you would think that I would have noticed this when I unpacked. Or at any time during the past 2.5 years. Anyway. Moving on.
In addition to a couple of seriously expired things, I also found a few duplicates. Two bags of dill seed (that’s going to take a while to use up…), three containers of cardamom, two bags of ground ginger. Good thing I like to cook from scratch and use a lot of spices.
By the time I finished consolidating, purging and cleaning, I had quite a pile on the kitchen table. All of this stuff will either be donated to family or friends who will use it, or trashed if it’s expired, or recycled if it’s an empty container (I was able to consolidate a lot of stuff so that it takes up less cabinet space. Three honey jars are now combined into one, for example):
I also found a few more gadgets and dishes that I didn’t need. Three baby food grinders? I think we’re fine with one.
I came across a few nearly empty jars of cocoa butter and coconut oil that I had used a while back to make lotion. So I dumped them into a saucepan, melted them down, and filled a container with my newly-minted lotion. That meant I was able to recycle three containers that had been taking up space in my pantry.
I ended up getting rid of everything in that picture plus about half that much again by the time I was finished. So much better. I don’t have to root around in the cupboard to find what I’m looking for. And everything in the cupboards is stuff that I use on a regular basis. And none of it expired when I was in my 20s.
Anyway, I hope Christine’s blog inspires you and makes you laugh. And if you have anything in your kitchen that expired in 2004, please tell me about it to make me feel better!