1. Go through kitchen cupboards and put anything that's in boxes in glass jars. I did this process once back in March 2011. I've been saving jars from products that I'm done with and have quite a few to work with.
In the process, this will clean out the mudroom closet where I've been storing the jars, and clean out any food in the cupboards that I don't plan to use. This will free cupboard space in two places.
This project took almost a full day to do. However, it was well worth the time.
I do have more space in the kitchen cupboards because I was able to combine some existing jars of food, get rid of food that we won't eat, and organize the remaining items in a more logical manner. I got rid of a kitchen-size trash bag through this process.
This is the one of the main food cupboards.
The lower shelf (at eye level) has snacks, nuts, and
more frequently-used baking supplies.
The top shelf (that I need a step stool to reach) has
baking/cooking items that I don't use as often.
Before and after pictures of one of the kitchen cupboards.
This one holds cookbooks on the top shelf,
and less frequently used items (e.g., barley) and
cat/dog treats on the lower shelf.
The after picture of the cupboard that
contains rices and noodles.
Before and after pictures of the mudroom closet.
This became - essentially - a dumping ground for jars that I planned to use.
The lowest part has canning supplies (in the ice cream buckets),
cat carriers, dog leashes, and emergency bags
(in the event of a tornado, severe weather, or medical problem).
In cleaning out the mudroom closet, I was able to recycle 2 bags of glass jars, and metal lids and bands. The remaining jars all will be used for canning produce this summer.
2. Clean the freezer. I'm going to remove each thing from the freezer (a multi-shelved one that is separate from the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen), and determine if it is something to keep or toss. The freezer will be defrosted and cleaned; and then items put back by type (e.g., vegetables on one shelf, fruit on another shelf).
I did a quick look-through and tossing of items that I knew we wouldn't eat. Although it really bothers me to throw away food, the reality is that it wouldn't taste good. A standard-size kitchen trash bag was filled by the time I was done.
3. Clean the girls' closet. One half of the closet has become very disorganized, and become the spot to place things that need to put away in another location (e.g., shelf, drawer).
I did not have a chance to work on this project.
I came across a book at the library called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. It was an interesting book. One of the chapters focused on what is clutter. The author said there are four categories of clutter:
- Things you do not use or love.
- Things that are untidy or disorganized.
- Too many things in too small a space.
- Anything unfinished.
The freezer project definitely fit in the disorganized category. Perhaps most interesting was this observation about things that fall into this category: "Your home is an outward representation of what is going on inside you, so if you are messy on the outside there is a corresponding mess of some kind on the inside too. But sorting out the outer, the inner starts slotting neatly into place."
I can't agree more with that statement. Truly, I look at the dates on the packages in the freezer that I threw away because they were freezer-burned, they had been in the freezer too long, or I knew we wouldn't eat them (e.g., found out that scalloped potatoes taste horrible re-heated from the freezer).
The majority of the dates were during Fall and early-Winter 2011 (when my Dad's health started to take a dramatic plummet because of Alzheimer's Disease, and he had to go to the nursing home). It was as if life stopped at that point. Being able to go through things that had been "put on hold" is like starting over in some ways...and moving forward in others.
The kitchen cupboards and girls' closet fit into the last category - projects that are unfinished. They were started, and then stopped. The former in March 2011; and the latter in late-spring 2011.
The author said, "This form of clutter is harder to see and easier to ignore than the other types, but its effects are far-reaching. Anything unfinished in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms clutters your psyche.
Things not dealt with in your home reflect issues not dealt with in your life, and they are a constant drain on your energy. The author listed some examples including repairs (e.g., fixing a broken drawer, taming the jungle that has become your garden). The larger the scale, the more these things impinge on one's ability to get on with her/his life.
Once these items - small and large - are completed, the vitality that was lost is regained and can soar. Setting attainable goals by doing 3 in 30, is definitely helping me reach this point.