Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spring cleaning

It has finally happened. Ryan and I have lived so long in our house that it is officially cluttered. I first noticed there was a problem about a week ago when I went to put groceries away -- and there was no where to put them. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets were both so stuffed full of, well, stuff that the counters were the only place to set new items. I was glad I had nothing that needed to be frozen -- since the freezer was packed full. Under the kitchen sink was full of cleaning supplies and a cloud of plastic grocery bags. Then, when I was putting away laundry I found that if I didn't slam the cabinets quickly the clothes would coming pouring down on my head. And I noticed that our dining room table had become a holding area for frequently used items -- like bags, magazines and clothes. Something had to be done. I had to clean.

For the past few afternoons I have been tackling the problems one at a time. I started with the kitchen cabinets. I pulled out every dry good in every corner -- and discovered we had about 15 boxes of Rice-a-roni -- because I would buy more when I couldn't see the other boxes. I also found the mandatory eighth of a bag of hard brown sugar and three cans of baking powder. Oh, and the hot chocolate mix people insist on giving at Christmas that I find repulsive. I was actually surprised how little I threw away from the cabinets. It isn't that it was stuff we didn't want -- just things we didn't know we had and so bought more.

The bathroom cabinet was same song, different verse. We had SEVEN half-full boxes of band aids, TWO almost full packages of pink disposable razors that I don't even use any more, and THREE bottles of Motrin with less than ten pills. Not only that but I found a little shampoo or lotion from every hotel Ryan or I have stayed in pretty much since we met. When I was done I found we not only had room in the cabinet -- we had two whole empty shelves. That should last us at least two weeks.

I had to work fast with the freezer -- or make a huge dinner that night. Going through the food I remembered my propensity to just throw uneaten fresh vegetables in the freezer to save them for later. But a pound bag of baby carrots really doesn't look all that appetizing after accumulating a year's worth of freezer burn. Also, I realized that every time I go to the grocery store I buy chicken and stick it in the freezer. I see a lot of chicken and rice dinners in our future.

While I was doing all this organizing, Ryan was in the basement -- swearing and assembling Ikea shelves. Most of the swearing was due to the fact that the shelves are just a little too tall for the ceiling. But after lots of turning sideways and maneuvering he managed to get them upright and lodged between the low hanging beams. Of course, we will have to leave them when we leave. I then put all of the cleaning supplies and plastic bags under our sink on the shelves -- creating a place in the kitchen where I can hide and jump out to scare Ryan. He just doesn't know it yet.

The worst part of organization was the closets. I just couldn't convince myself that I will never again fit into a size 4, or that I really don't need 70 slightly stained white v-neck t-shirts. Finally I just closed my eyes and windmilled. Anything I touched got thrown in bag to go to charity. I might not have any underwear left, but dammit my closets are less cluttered.

The only clutter that remains is on our dining room table. I ran out of steam before I got to it. I guess it will have to wait until next year. Dinner guests can think of it as a "conversation starter." Or we can always go out...