Chad has lived in our house since he bought it in 2008. I’ve been there since our wedding in 2011. We’ve accumulated some stuff along the way, and when I hit 30 weeks in my pregnancy, my nesting instinct (which does somehow feel different than my normal organizational streak) kicked into full gear, and I made a list of 18 places in our house that need (yes, NEED) to be cleaned and purged.
I listed individual cabinets and closets, since I wanted each task on the list to feel approachable. I can clean out one particular dresser drawer in 20 minutes, but saying “clean our room” feels totally overwhelming. I took advantage of a recent snowstorm stay-in-the-house day and started to tackle my list.
First up was the pantry. Which, it’s not even a pantry so much as a corner cabinet with spinning Lazy Susan shelves. It’s not big, but it’s our only spot for food storage, so we make the most of it. Canned goods, crackers, cereal, you name it – it lives here. Including, apparently, lentils that were purchased before our wedding. My friend Christy swears that lentils don’t expire, but plastic bags do, and my patience for food I’m not likely to use does, so into the trash they went.
I pulled everything out of the cabinet, wiped down the shelves, threw away the expired stuff and made sense of the rest, organizing as I put it all back.
It turns out that an opened box of Triscuits that expired 7 months ago is actually stale, should not be tried as a snack, and is totally worth the $2.50 to just throw it away and buy a new box. I learned that one the hard way.
Spices were up next. Same process – empty, wipe, organize and put back. When I moved apartments in 2010, my mom helped me pack up my kitchen, and she labeled all my spices on the top so I would know what I had without unpacking the box. Genius, that woman. But, any spices with my mom’s friendly, familiar handwriting on them had to go. I made a list along the way of herbs I was nearly out of or spices that I thought of that I don’t somehow own that I should (cardamom, obviously), and reorganized my two little spice shelves. Oils, vinegars, and soy sauce and friends live on the shelf right below, and all those bottles also received a wipedown with a hot soapy rag.
I also took my baking drawer to task, which mostly consisted of me wishing I had enough brown sugar to make a batch of cookies.
The rest of the list includes things like the bottom drawer of Chad’s dresser, which mysteriously became the go-to “get all the crap off our dressers” dumping place when we clean our room for Airbnb guests; the cabinet under the kitchen sink; our basket of medical supplies; the filing drawer of user manuals for appliances and such; and the linen closet in the basement, which I KNOW holds some old camping equipment, even though we haven’t been camping, like, ever. Should be fun. No, really. I’m weird, I know.
I’m 34 weeks plus 5 days today. Time’s running out!