Day 1: Unspice Your Life

Day 1's are always so exciting...full of the possibility of welcoming the new you into the world. Too bad there's a day 2.

I wish I was the person I thought I could be when I bought all this produce.

- Unknown

The Overview

With the pitter-patter of rain in the background, I tackled Day 1 of my 100 Things Mini Declutter Challenge. Funny how you are all excited to clean out the cupboards on a sunny day when the sunshine is showing up every speck of dust on the windows, but on a grey day, you want to curl up on the couch with a good book. But let's sum up my first session of decluttering which I can do in two words...buckwheat flour.

What Went

Recently, I did a thorough cleanout of food cupboards, spice cupboards, and the fridge. In all honesty, I felt my decluttering would be very difficult, and I would have to resort to 10 pumpkin seeds. My thought process was incorrect. In the space of 5 minutes, I had assembled my tossing pile which included:

- plum jam, 2 jars...guilt in glass, see below.

- buckwheat flour...what was I going to make with this?

- raisins...not making oatmeal cookies anytime soon.

- almost empty Pepsi syrup...who left a teaspoon of syrup and put it away!

- agar powder...what is agar powder?

- gluten-free pancake mix...can we say ew!

- Fatso peanut butter...can we say ew again!

- apple cinnamon tea bags for Christmas cider...see below.

- tahini...old.

- coffee maker...see below.

There are three items in particular that I would like to focus my attention on so you may understand why decluttering can be insightful and a great opportunity for growth.

Cider Tea Bags

Deck the halls, literally and figuratively! My dream Christmas comes with the promise of family connection over hot apple cider in matching ugly sweaters Every real Christmas comes with a lot of pressure, refusal of sweaters, and a disgruntled mother who can either make the damn cider or take everyone out for Starbucks. For the honoring of women everywhere who have just had enough with the illusion of what makes a special Christmas, I am surrendering the cider tea bags and will take everyone to Starbucks instead. Since these bags have been adorning my cupboard for two years, I am pretty sure they are past the stages of safe cider and might be fermented cider...maybe I should keep them.

Lesson Learned: The biggest gift a mom can give to her family is to not be disgruntled for Christmas.

Plum Jam

There's a lot of guilt around the throwing out of food for me. I feel like I should be issued penance like being excommunicated from the grocery store or made to put my hands in the dirt and grow something. The latter is probably a healthier option. The guilt magnifies when it comes to items you were given in a plastic bag in the form of plums and spent time and effort to turn them into jam which just graces the top of your cupboard waiting for the day to garnish pork tenderloin because that's the only way anybody will eat it. Being a big bag of plums, there is a few decades' worth of plum jam, but because the guilt is so great, you can only rid yourself of it...jar by jar...hence the 2 jars on the counter...10 more to go.

Lesson Learned: Raspberry and strawberry...don't think outside the box when it comes to jam.

Coffee Maker

This one has a little story attached. I have not used my coffee maker for years. Despite numerous references to Starbucks, my husband and I have an affinity for instant coffee (cue the gasps of horror). The coffee maker just sits in the cupboard waiting for the day when we will have company over. Being a woman who has realized that she would much rather meet people at a restaurant for a meal as opposed to spending my time apologizing for the dog hair in their cup, as well as finding myself entering the stage of life where cooking for other people is getting more and more unappealing, the prospect of coffee company is low. For the moment when we do get coffee company, one of my goals is to learn how to make a good Bodum cup of coffee. No Keurig though...can't bear the thought of throwing all those little containers out...especially with my coffee habit.

Recently when I broached the subject of getting rid of the coffee maker, I sought the agreement of my partner in crime who also shared in the purchase of the coffee maker. In an attempt to get me to think through my actions, he indicated that if I got rid of the coffee maker I would not be able to buy one ever again. This ruffled my feathers slightly, but being known as consistently inconsistent, I took it as someone I love suggesting me to think it through and not waste our hard-earned money.

Well, I thought it through for another 3 months, and the realization hit me today during this challenge that last year we paid for a membership for my husband which he did not use once. Then we bought another one this year that I'm waiting to see used. I feel less guilty about the coffee maker now that I have that little gem in my pocket. Basic math dictates that the membership was more than the coffee maker. In my line of thinking, I can buy 3 coffee makers if I require them.

Lesson Learned: When you want to get rid of something and your partner thinks you will regret it, wait for blackmail of equal or greater value. Happy Valentine's Day!

Why Declutter?

In one word...Energy! Clutter is a siphon on your energy. How much mental energy I have spent trying to figure out how I'm going to use buckwheat flour and where and how to store it. I want to spend my thought energy on important things like the latest Wordle or thinking about cleaning my bathroom.

Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor - it's anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.

- Peter Walsh

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