Downsizing always seem to have stages. The excitement stage, or “Wow, think of all the awesome things we’re going to get to do in the new place!” The depression phase, e.g., “Oh my god, we have so much crap, why why why??!!!!”
And then there’s the inevitable, “We have what?” phase.
It was the start of Daylight Savings time this past weekend. Parents with younger children know what a delight the biannual time change always is. And it's not exactly pleasant for the rest of us. Coffee sales must see a serious spike. In addition to moving our clocks forward one hour, and fervently hoping our child will sleep a little later Sunday, we went through our medicine cabinets, and our kitchen. The medicine cabinet thing is something I picked up during my time working for an online pharmacy—it’s important to get rid of expired medication, since old medicine may not work as well, or at all. It’s equally important to dispose of it properly, which does not include flushing it down your toilet.
We love cooking, and one of us has a Penzeys addiction, so I’m sure we had a vague idea there would be some stuff we should put in our yard waste bin. That, however, did not take into account:
- The “make our own chocolate dipped strawberries at home” phase
- The “make candy at home” phase
- The “bake with alternative flours” phase
- The “spending way too much money at Penzeys” phase
- The “I like to make cupcakes, let’s do nifty decorations” phase
- The “alternative sweeteners” phase
Some of this is stuff we can give away on our favorite Facebook group, the Buy Nothing project. People regularly give away canned goods, half of a buy one get one, even leftovers. The “spending way too much money at Penzeys” items will go there.
Some of it, however, is just too old. We are fortunate we are in a position where we can afford to experiment with different ingredients, that our budget is not so tight that we must watch every dime spent. And so, this is where we will repeat: when it’s that time of year you need to change your clocks, you should check your smoke detectors, clean out your medicine cabinet, and make sure you don’t have a bag of stale flour, or a box of (now powdery) chocolate chips from 2010.
It took us three trips to our yard waste bin to dump all of old ingredients. It was a little sad to see; many baking experiments never carried to fruition, items lost or simply abandoned after one try. There are tangible benefits, though. It will make us more conscientious going forward, about what we chose to spend money on—important given we will most certainly have less storage space. For the short-term, we have more cabinet space, and less clean-up to do if downsizing gets to the wire. And the sanity those things bring is pretty priceless.
What are some of your annual traditions for spring cleaning, general clutter reduction, or sanity benefiting whirlwind reorganizations of your home?