Enough! or Too much.

plate10

I recently organized my kitchen cabinets. Gosh I have accumulated a lot of stuff! I love to cook and bake, and consider a well-stocked kitchen a great asset, but it was getting to the point where I would cause an avalanche of baking pans if I wanted to get to one of my cake pans. Where to put my travel thermos now that I’m not using it each week for school? No room at the inn! My vanilla extract was in with the china because my spice cabinet was so chaotic. I didn’t have a junk drawer, I had 3 junk drawers! Help!

spices

Ah, that’s better!

I think this happened not only because I’m a magpie pack rat, taking in The Shiny from thrift shops and friends and yard sales galore, but I’m also a saver of things — no, that’s not an empty spice jar or empty jar of jam or honey! That’s a bud vase or a future homemade deodorant container or a great place for homemade mustard once you soak the label off!

glass

Tip for getting off sticky labels — put oil on them! Let it soak in for a day, then soak the bottle in water. It should come off easily now (a little baking soda will help get off the last bit of sticky too).

When my grandparents died, I also inherited their lifetime (and my lifetime — it was the Thanksgivings and Birthdays of my entire childhood) of glasses, plates, pots, pans, silver, and such.

You know how it is when you get more stuff — you just shove it in with the stuff you have and hope for the best until things become totally unmanageable. Well, that day came last weekend. I had to take everything out and put it all back again in an organized fashion if I wanted to make these objects useful, and pleasurable to use. I was going to do a cabinet a day so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.

cupboard

I am prepared for bean emergencies! If I forget to soak the beans, I have a can of beans waiting!

I was pleased that out of all the items, I only recycled two plastic freebie cups (which, now that I know better, I would have refused when they were offered to me)! Everything else stayed, is used, and loved! It’s now all organized to within an inch of its life.

9 teaspoons

Everything you need to know about my personality: my silver is stored in bags (so it won’t tarnish) by type of utensil, and labeled with the number of utensils.

There is no more room for anything unless something else goes, and I don’t want anything to go.

baking

These are the *straightened up* baking pans (just in case it wasn’t clear 😉 )

The reason I wanted to tell you about the mundane task of straightening my kitchen cabinets is because this experience happened one week before my town’s Town Wide Yard Sale. I used to think of it as the most magical day of the year: I could leave the house in the morning with $50 and come home with books, art, dishes, pitchers, clothing, cups, pans, jewelry — you name it! This year, I felt so differently about it . . . I had no desire to go. In fact, I didn’t go. The idea of adding one more thing to my possessions filled me with terror and doom! This may sound surprising coming from someone tracking coupons — an opportunity to acquire things coupon-free seems like an offer you can’t refuse!

But I did. I have enough, and I realized it through experiencing it as Too much. Blake was right.

 

 

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4 comments

  1. What a lovely post. I certainly recognise the avalanche of bakeware!

    I had a similar experience this weekend. I’ve got to that time of year when I need to sow biennials. This caused me to reflect on which annuals have successfully germinated, how many more flowers and varieties I would like, how tiny my garden is and how many seeds I already have… By reminding myself why I ordered the seeds I did and how it will take me half a dozen years to use them all list, I whittled down the wish lis of new varieties from a dozen to three.

    1. I get plant fever too, and have to calm myself down to a reasonable amount of garden. We do have a nice bit of space and my goal for next year is apple trees. I get giddy just thinking about it.

      I also got myself into a pickle with houseplants. They keep having babies or needing to be divided! I actually planted a few in planters on my porch because I was running out of room in the house for their pots! I’ll dream up new places for them inside before the first frost. We are doing a bunch of rearranging in the house and space may appear!

  2. I know exactly what you mean! We have a house full of stuff we have accumulated from ageing and departed relatives – it’s a kind of organic way to live, absorbing the family leftovers, but sometimes I just despair of the amount of stuff and want to give it *all* away and get something new and simple and *mine*!

    1. Actually giving some away is a good idea! I have sooooooo many tea cups from the china my aunt gave me, and if a person is the right kind of person, I like to give them a tea cup and saucer from the set with tea as a little thank you. I also have a few nice but not super loved dishes that I bring to parties when I make food — if I don’t get the dish back I don’t sweat it that way.

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