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Do you know what is lurking in your kitchen cabinets? Do you?

Let me start off by saying you're welcome. Because when this post is over you are going to be thanking me and radically changing your life. Or possibly rolling your eyes. But deep, deep, deep down you'll be thanking me. 

Now let me back up. Do you hear that banging sound? That's the sound of my kitchen being torn apart. Today is Day 1 of the Recession Renovation and I am gaw-danged excited about it. Bring on the dust! Bring on the inconvenience! Bring on four weeks of pizza night! Now this isn't a gut-job; it's a prudent aesthetic make-over peppered with reuse and eco-friendly products (and one very not-eco-friendly product which has caused me much duress...but I'll post more when we're through.) But what has really blown my mind was discovering how much STUFF was lurking in my cabinets (and no doubt in yours, too.)

Emptykitchen

Yesterday, to get ready for this project, I had to completely empty out a few cabinets and clear out all of the furniture and the crap off of the countertops. I could not believe the stuff I found lurking in the depths. Those Duncan Hines cake mixes were, well, cake! compared to the THREE containers of partially-used and long-expired protein powder I found and SIX baggies of half-eaten crispy snacks that had been tossed into the snack cabinet for future noshing and never eaten. That's just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Well, hello there, espresso machine! Top of the morning, instant marinator! You're looking shiny, expensive mandoline purchased eight years ago and used once! And do you have any idea how much space ten martini glasses take up in a cabinet? Do you think we've ever had ten friends over for martinis? Do you?

Why? Why do we have so much stuff?

Why do we have fifteen coffee mugs when we only use two each day and run the dishwasher every other day? Technically, we only need four for our use; maybe eight for when we have company. Because someone gave us a couple as gifts, yadda yadda, and so it goes. One of the hazards of being tuned into reuse is that you can easily become a borderline hoarder. Those glass jars I've been saving? I think it's time to start recycling more of them. Or, how about taking two steps back and reducing the amount of stuff that comes in in the first place?

Let me tell you something: a lot of that stuff will not be making it back into the cupboards. This has been a LIBERATING exercise and I implore you to investigate your own kitchen. No, it's got to be a dedicated day-long project. You've got to take every single thing out of your kitchen and set it all around you, wipe down the shelves and the cabinet fronts, empty out the crumbs from the silverware sorter, and then it will become VERY APPARENT which items will be returned home and which items will find new homes. You will not be able to stand the thought of putting some of that junk back in. I know my favorite social service organization will be thrilled to have some of this stuff to give their clients, and I cannot wait until this reno is over because it will usher in the era of the lean, green kitchen. I will resist the urge to buy more stuff for the kitchen! (Well, except for some glass food storage containers. And a new Teflon-free frying pan. OK, maybe a nice bamboo cutting board. But that's it! Well...)

This madness must end. You (as in, I) just accumulate and buy stuff and then that stuff clutters your house and your mind until you lose it and then men in the white jackets arrive.

To sum up, I'm saving you from the loony bin. You're welcome. Now let's get busy.

PS: If you haven't seen the The Story of Stuff, now would be a good time.

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