I can’t organize one spot in my house without becoming aware of other places that need tidying up. In the case of my latest clean out, my youngest daughter’s mini-remodel in her bedroom was the catalyst for mine. She painted her walls and got new desk, which meant she got rid of her old, school-type craft desk. The lid opened up for storage, the desk top was a white board, and it tilted slightly for more ergonomic work.
I thought hard about moving it into my office thinking perhaps I would take up drawing. What I really needed was a reality check. I contemplated that desk as it sat in my living room for several days before I finally admitted that if I wasn’t drawing now, a cute desk wasn’t going to prompt me to draw tomorrow. In fact, the only space it would have fit is rather dark and not conducive for creative work. Besides, I already have a large, flat work top, I just needed to straighten it up. I also realized if I could get rid of enough stuff to fit a desk, there must be things I needed to clean out. I started by sorting loose photos.
Later I was in the kitchen thinking about dinner when I opened my spice cupboard. With my mind still in the organization mode, I decided it needed to be reorganized. I had actually been thinking about doing it for several weeks, but you know how that goes: the spice gets found, used, put away, the cupboard closes, out of sight out of mind. There were a lot of really old spice mixes I dreamt I was using, but were so old they were hard spice bullets formed naturally in the bottles they were packed in. I threw them out.
There was a big plastic container of allspice I bought in a Costco size. It was one of many illusions I had in the excitement of tricking my whole kitchen out with Tupperware several years ago (the last century). There was a tag for allspice, so I bought allspice. Really, what does one use allspice for? Why is it one, general, all-encompassing word? I can’t ever remember needing allspice. I gathered by its smell it must be some sort of pumpkin pie type seasoning. They should label it as such, rather than with the inclusive descriptor “ALL.”
It was old. Really, really old. It had become more like old spice, which is cologne and shouldn’t be used in food. I did the sealed storage overhaul in my kitchen the year our cupboards came down with a bad case of weevils. It happened before we remodeled the kitchen, which was the year my oldest turned eight. She’s 22 now. It was time to let go of the allspice, no matter its god-like hierarchy in the spice universe. A couple years ago I came to the realization the Costco containers were adequate for storing the seasonings that came in them, or I got too lazy to dump them into a different container. Either way, I quickly use seasonings I frequent, which are the only ones I should keep anyway.
Needless to say, I cleared a lot out of my spice cupboard. I proudly showed my husband that evening and said, “I straightened it out, because I think the kids have been avoiding making real food because they get frustrated looking for the right spice.”