What a big job it was
Thursday, August 25, 2016
It's getting fall-like in Minnesota and I am feeling the tug to start putting away the outside things and start preparing the inside for the long winter. The Minnesota State Fair started today and that's always the beginning of this change in me. It gets stronger on the day after labor day, the day my kids always went back to school.
For about the last 2 months I have had a project on my 'to do' list - clean the downstairs pantry. We live in a rambler-style home with a basement that's partially finished off. At one time we had a nice family room down there but now it's Tom's art studio. Under the stairway is a pantry. Someone built shelves across the back and down one side with the side where the stairs get close to the floor is where I keep my Christmas things and a few other big items that I don't need very often.
At one time that pantry was always filled with food. I was feeding 2 adults and 5 children, I bought a lot of groceries. We would go through at least 10 boxes of cereal a week. My boys would have cereal in the morning, cereal after sports, and cereal before bed. There were packages of cookies, large boxes of granola bars, and all the canned goods you could want. And the best part, there was always a young one around to run downstairs and fetch something for me. As the children started leaving I didn't need the space as much for food so I started filling it with other things. Memorabilia, cast off kitchen items, notebooks and pens (we have a lot of those left over from school days) and after my mother passed away a lot of her things went in there. And then I closed the door!
So this morning I took a deep breath and opened it up. Of course, I've been in and out of there many times. I do still have some canned goods, a couple boxes of Stove Top from last Thanksgiving when they were on sale, and some miscellaneous chips and other snack things that my husband eats. I also found a bag of Veggie Sticks with an expiration date of 2009, and when I showed Tom the 1/2 gone box of instant oatmeal (I don't eat much oatmeal) he said that was left over when the last time Brandon or Colin lived here. So I pitched a huge bag of old food and cleared up a whole shelf.
Then I went to the other shelves. We have enough light bulbs to last us the rest of our lives. When they were going to stop selling standard light bulbs, we stocked up. I went through all the cd's - Tom was/is a photographer and he has well over 100 cd's of his photos plus we probably have 300 blank ones. These, too, will likely be donated one day but he has to help with that. At least I got them organized!
I cleaned off a whole shelf of old office supplies - post its, push pins, staplers, tape. What I could fit in my office I kept, what I could not went in the donation bag. I find I have 4 boxes of 8 oz. canning jars and 3 boxes of 4 oz. Really - and I don't can. They are taking up one shelf while I decide what to do but the sealed boxes will probably go to the Good Will. I tossed a stack of metal baking dishes - I don't really bake all that much either and I prefer glass. In total I emptied 3 1/2 shelves but it was a lot of work. More than I had expected.
And poor Tom, a true pack rat. His motto - if one is good, surely 6 is better! His theory has paid off now and again. Way back in our early days of marriage we each bought a pair of hiking boots - rather expensive ones. Certainly more than I had EVER paid for a pair of shoes. Turned out to be the best darn investment we'd ever made so we went back to buy another pair each. I still have my 2 pair and they are in pretty good shape (not a lot of hiking when your knees are bad). Tom has tossed his first pair and his second is wearing out. And of course, you can't buy them any more. He has bad ankles so he wears his quite a lot. But that's over 20 years of shoes that were really great to wear in the woods. But then there's the light bulbs!!!!
So I feel really good about my accomplishment today. There is so much more to tackle; you know, the things you put away in storage for one day, or as memories. I know I have a box of college work that no one will ever care about. But those things are for another day!