The Cure: Week Two
Week Two required cleaning the kitchen. Not just our usual sweeping-and-wiping-down-of-surfaces but decluttering. I was supposed to carefully consider each item in the kitchen - including the pantry - and move anything potentially unnecessary to the Outbox.
Our kitchen is, well - yech. If we want to eat at the table, we have to shove aside stacks of mail and catalogs. If we want to cook something, we have to relocate whatever clutter - last week, it was my two new purses from TJMaxx - off the countertops.
The book's first instruction was to clean out the pantry. Get rid of not only all the out-of-date food but also things you didn't really like or thought you'd eat but never have. I figured I wouldn't find much excess in the pantry. We don't cook much, and we've actually got extra room in there.
Lo and behold, I filled up our entire kitchen trash can with stuff. Much of it was outdated - I think we had some of it since our previous house ... and we moved in here two years ago. The rest was mostly junk food. Stuff we thought we'd like but didn't - strawberry-flavored YoGos (the grossest fruit snack ever), peanuts with sea salt and cracked black pepper, white chocolate-covered pretzels that tasted kinda stale, ice cream-flavored Skittles.
It felt incredibly good to purge all that stuff. I didn't even realize it, but every time I opened the pantry and saw that stuff I'd wasted money on, I felt guilty or pressured to eat it. Lord knows I don't need any pressure to eat!
So after the pantry purge, I worked on the rest of the kitchen. The book advocates getting rid of all mismatched or chipped glasses and having just one good, matching set. Yeah, that isn't even something I care about, so I ignored it. But I did use that advice to purge a set of glasses we were given as wedding presents that we never liked. Too small of an opening at the top, so the other side of the glass always knocked into your nose when you drank. They sat on a top shelf of the cabinet gathering dust until I banished them to the Outbox.
I also tackled a box of assorted nice pots and pans we bought for $5 at an auction last year. The box has sat under the window in the kitchen attracting cat hair since we bought it. So I loaded up the dishwasher with the nice stuff, and added the not-so-nice stuff to the Outbox.
Then I addressed my Fiestaware cabinet. It's a collection, not clutter, but the bottom shelf ends up getting piled with other non-collection items, so I cleared those away and found new homes for them. I also finally threw away a cute glass picture frame one of the cats broke a while back. I hung onto it even after it was broken because a dear friend gave it to me. Ditto for a broken stenciled martini glass from another dear friend.
Then onto the worst clutter-gathering spot in the room - the table. I suddenly remembered a letter-sorter box we'd used at our old house and sorted all the mail into it, filing away the older stuff. The table was still slightly cluttered, but it looked wonderful in comparison!
Finally, Darwin's "landing strip" - an orange Fiestaware bowl at the end of the countertop where he stashes his wallet, keys and change. Only it had grown so much bigger than that - months' worth of pay stubs stacked beside it, car part catalogs stacked in front of it, other paperwork wedged behind it. Some filing and discreet trashing took care of that.
So the kitchen was finished! It looked brighter, cleaner, bigger and much more inviting.
But then we went to Italy. In our frenzy to pack, I went back to my habit of tossing things on the table, including a pair of lavendar sandals with bows on top. A week's worth of mail piled up. We got home and were too tired to sort. Postcards, Band-Aids and cold medicine boxes ended up on the counter.
So yeah, it's back to normal. I think the kitchen remedy may have to extend into Week Three.