Recently, I’ve noticed that things in my condo kitchen are not conveniently located. Items on top shelves and in hidden corner cabinets are difficult to reach. My countertop space had diminished to the point it was hard to make a sandwich.
In one of those bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew moments, I went on a cleaning spree, starting in the kitchen.
On the first day of my kitchen detox, I filled one large green bag and freed up some needed work space. I was moving right along, humming “Bringing in the Sheaves,” when I realized the kitchen table was covered with sundry items I’d dislocated.
Assessing each item, I decided to (1) throw it away, (2) put it back where it was, or (3) relocate it to another space. It was more decision-making than I was used to in one day. But I soldiered on.
Start with Expiration Dates
To begin with, I checked all the expiration dates, which helped me rid the area of everything that was old enough for retirement. Back in my bread-making days, I had large glass jars marked Milk Solids, Bread Flour, Gluten, Self-Rising Flour, Whole Wheat Flour. I let those go.
Flour eventually gets rancid, causing its normal, neutral odor to become musty. (For guidelines on expiration of various flours see here. As to sugar, there’s nothing in it to go bad. If exposed to a bit of moisture it gets lumpy, but you can just smash the lumps and use.)
Next, I tried to group my assortment of cook books in one location, but I have far too many. So I sorted them by usefulness and (gasp!) even pitched a few. I was ready for a time out.
Memories of Spring and Fall Housecleaning
As I paused for a cup of herbal tea, I recalled housecleaning with my mother each spring and fall. One of the tasks (besides changing out the winter or spring carpet) was curtain washing. We removed the sheers from all the windows, washed, and stretched them on a large wooden frame in the backyard.
Sheer curtains were poked over the tiny, sharp pins surrounding the frame. They dried quickly and needed no ironing. This was one of the few household tasks I thought was great fun.
Back at It
Despite the distractions of my revelry and food blogging, I’ve not given up on this project—yet. But I do need to pare it down to smaller chunks. I’ve listed all the areas that would benefit from my attention, like a dresser drawer or a small cabinet. I may even take on my many bookshelves, the medicine cabinet, and file drawers. I have enough tasks lined up to take me well into
spring, summer, allowing some days off.
Even with the best of intentions, I’m sure there’ll be times when I find travel or dining out more appealing than sorting and pitching.