Getting Started

There is always fallout when you are clearing out something. Piles in the transition are here and there. But it is still better than before you began. You feel the shift in your energy. The picture of what is possible emerges and makes dealing with the fallout easier to manage.

We all get to this point in different ways. I am often amazed at some people who can clear out a whole room or area in a couple of hours when it will take me twice as long. And whatever time it takes is OK.

There are many paths up the mountain. Give yourself permission to choose your own path.

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Remnants Remorse

Several weeks after the spice cupboard clearing and reordering project, I realized that I kept walking by the remnants of that project in the hall. Yes, I had items that were not spices and not kitchen related. I wanted them and I did not know where to keep them. They were stranded on the floor of the hall until I could figure out where to store them. I was getting more and more frustrated with how long this stuff was sitting in the hall on the floor.

Then one day, I stopped and thought – this reminds me of musical chairs.

The stuff on the hall floor were those items that “lost a chair” when the music stopped and they are standing off to the side waiting for the next round of music. When I can think of stuff in a fun way, I tend to be less judgmental.

The idea gave me pause to flip my frustration to amusement. Now the question becomes “What storage places would love to house X?” If no storage places or chairs are open, then they leave the game.

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Resolve Rather Than Revolve

Resolve Rather than Revolve

I went on a mild rampage one day because someone said the W word – Where.

The rest goes “Where is the crushed red pepper?” I knew it was there somewhere. However, those words set me on the path of clearing out the cupboard with the spices and seasonings.

I asked my husband, who used the W word,  to pick out the spices that he uses the most and set them on the counter. Then I asked him to pick out the ones he hardly uses and set them on the table. I went through the rest of the contents of that cupboard and recategorized by the frequency of usage. Therefore, the most often used seasonings got prime real estate in the kitchen.

Feeling rather proud of this inquiry method, I dug deeper and learned a few things about my patterns.

Whenever I am not ready to toss something because I think we will make that recipe of jambalaya sometime again, I store it in the pantry which is in the hall close to the kitchen.

When I cannot find space in the pantry, I move an item that is not used much to the basement storage area. The result of that is I can put that first “unhomed” item in the pantry.

The clouds parted and I saw something about my method. I was revolving stuff from one place to another.

One definition of revolve is to move in an orbit. That describes my default method of sorting for clearing out an area that has become jumbled.

I sort and then move the items which are not used as often to another location. I tell myself this is archiving. In reality, it is orbiting. What happens is the house becomes one huge Lazy Susan. In my pursuit to clear, I will consolidate and reduce some things. However, I am not getting down to the underlying pattern that created the jumble.

What am I going to do differently? I am going to resolve. I found 3 definitions of resolve in the online dictionary. Each of these meanings applies to my “revolving” pattern but ‘b’ is the best one.

a :  to deal with successfully :  clear up

b :  to find an answer to

c :  to make clear or understandable

d :  to find a mathematical solution of

To find an answer to how many back up spaces are enough. I will choose wisely as to whether I really need to keep all the items. The revolving was getting in the way of accessing what we actually use. I can see now there are more items in need of resolving rather revolving. Stay tuned.

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Refrigerator Roulette

It all started with the Colorado peaches. Their taste was scrumptious and the juices ran down your hand. Then I bought my first crate of peaches. To make room for them required removing the vegetable drawer on the bottom. It is one wide drawer so taking it out would make room for the crate.  The peaches would be happy and juicy without going bad on me.

What I did not see coming was the undoing of our precarious but fairly secure storage of leftovers and regular food items.  How could one crate of peaches create such havoc? The time had come one Saturday morning to rectify the situation. All the items on the top 2 shelves went out and onto the kitchen table. I tossed and discovered and rearranged while delivering a discourse of dismay to my husband. How could everything get so dislodged, I wondered out loud.  His remarks were along the lines of saying that dislodgement was my usual course of action.

Whenever I look for answers to some daily life dilemma, I survey people to find out how they take care of it. I emailed the stitch group and asked the following questions:

1. Who more often rearranges the contents of the refrigerator?

2. Are you a stacker or rotater or other?

3. What frustrates you the most about the refrigerator?

The wealth of humor and fun that flowed back to me was the hit of the day. I share it with you here.

Refrigerator Survey

1. Who more often rearranges the contents of your refrigerator?

One of us just opens the door and looks quickly to see what he wants. If it is not right in the front ranks, it’s not there.

I am the refrigerator generalisimo as as I am the chief cooker.

I rearrange but no one in my house is very good at it.

Every Sunday night he cleans out the fridge, our garbage day is Monday.

2. Are you a stacker or rotater or other method?

I’m a stacker, I do not rotate,  I allow things to jump out of the fridge on their own, and the idea that Charlie would think to clean the refrigerator without spilling a full bottle of something makes me giggle.

I stack the front solid and occasionally rotate to give the third row chorus members a shot at the big time.

I stack but do try and rotate.

Definitely a stacker.  Kind of like the dominos effect.  When they topple, some response is required – or not!

3. What frustrates you the most about the refrigerator?

Most frustrating thing is that my cook and butler don’t refill the refrigerator and I have to go to the store.

The shelves are always wrong for the tall beer and wine bottles.

I’m unhappy with my side by side as the shelves are narrow and long and things always get lost in the back no matter how careful I am.

When people in my household put things that are empty.  

I am frustrated most about the fact that it ever has to be managed.  I wish it would clean itself – kind of like the stove.  I guess the stove cares more about “clean” than the refrigerator –  which isn’t real helpful.

How do you solve storing food in the refrigerator? I am on a quest now. I think there is a missing link and it does not have anything to do with the refrigerator. It is something else. Stay tuned for more discoveries.

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Recreate the Wheel

People keep saying they do not want to recreate the wheel. There are some ways that I do like to recreate the wheel. I keep gathering ideas. I like to test them out and get a thrill out of some discovery.  This most shows up with food and menu planning.  My latest chapter in menu planning rose up from the avoidance of any plan for Sunday evening meal. I had no desire to do the “patch a meal” together from what was already here in the refrigerator. Do I have it in me to come up with another twist to cooked turkey breast? I would rather dive into online searches for home improvement projects that  currently have more appeal and priority.

My husband and I had to come to one of those supper stand offs. It goes like this:

He: Do you have any ideas for supper?

Me: We could cut up the turkey and make turkey tacos.

A couple of hours later –

He: It is getting late. We really should eat pretty soon.

Me: Yes.

He: OK. What are we going to fix?

Me: Turkey tacos was the previous suggestion. I am not hungry so I am just going to have some yogurt.

He: You mean you are not going to eat.

Me: I will have some yogurt.

By this time, he and I were both using some tone.

Before going to bed, I wanted to clear out some of the residual tone which was hanging in the air. I asked him what annoyed him about it. He said that it was the late deciding of what to eat. I countered with – I did say what to eat. I said turkey tacos. So I think the crux of this standoff is known as – “Who makes the next step?”

Or, my junior high style of “Who avoids making the next step?”

Here is the silver lining from that Standoff. Since better meal planning was the desired outcome, I stated that I did not want to be the one in charge of it. There are some days when I would rather he chose what to eat, looked for the ingredients, and assigned me some chopping, peeling, or shopping for missing items.

I asked if we could assign the nights to be in charge. He said OK. We previewed the meals for the week with the 2 nights of leftovers in between the “In Charge of Meals”

As I thought about it, I got inspired to create a new wheel by using one of those weekly dry erase sheets which was already on the refrigerator.

Color coding gets me going so I gave him the white post its for his night this week – Wednesday. I am the lime green post it for Monday. Teal post its are for the leftover-whatever nights which are Tuesday and Thursday this week.

The proof will be in the execution.

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Going through stuff

I went to the musical, Anything Goes, with my brother. It had lots of dancing, singing, and energy. Watching how the actors changed the scenes by pushing one platform onto the stage while another platform was moved off the stage got me thinking about a different perspective for “purging” or “going through stuff”.

What is refreshing about this is that your focus in on the new scene coming in rather than the previous scene going out. I can just see how there are many other comparisons for this same thing. One would be the photos or slides on websites where the arrows are labeled “next” and “previous”. Another would be turning pages in a book to see what is going to happen rather than reading the same page over and over again because you do not want to let go.

Larger experiences such as a musical or canoeing down a river or anything out of our ordinary lives wakes up new ways of seeing ourselves and seeing life around us. It wakes us up to what is ahead of us on this journey of life and we want to go forward to see. Kvetching about what to do with this or that just does not fit into the picture.

Enjoy the journey.  The journey can be enjoyed even if you donated something that you paid good money for and did not use and now it is moving out of your life. We have all done this from time to time.

How to turn the next page in your book of life? Discover something about yourself that you like or that you want to express. Tell someone else about it. Savor the experience of discovery and find ways to express it in your daily life.

What did I see about myself? I hate to admit it because it sounds vain but I want to feel free enough about my physical body to dance.

What does that have to do with “purging” or “going through stuff”?  The desire to express myself with dance wakes up that part of me that does not need to have 6 pairs of sweatpants for yardwork or messy projects.

I am changing the scene and going to Act 2.

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Do you have a rolling closet?

Why does the car get all the lumps? I treat it like a giant purse. I have the nail clipper, toothpick, Kleenex, lipstick, lip balm, lotion, spare change, extra shoes, and so forth. When I am in the car for long stretches such as on the freeway during rush hour, even though I try to avoid those times, I notice food between my teeth, chapped lips, dry hands, hanging cuticles, and I am driven to take care of it without digging through my purse.

My husband says it is a rolling closet.

When I take the time to remove the bags and totes, then it is manageable. I thought  having these items in the car meant that I was organized. More attention to how I store these daily life items would serve me. I can change how I view those dashes into the house and office between appointments. My new mantra will be – There is enough time to do what needs to be done.

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