I’ve been working on organization for the past year or two, off and on when I have the time. And I’ve been getting better and more proficient at decluttering and organizing with every pass. I started with getting rid of the obvious items. Then, I took it further and got serious and asked myself why I had certain stuff. I think I just got used to the things around me, so I didn’t even think it. But, if I don’t really love it or need it, why is it in my house? Does it matter how much I paid for it or who gave it to me or how nice of a thing it is? On a very rare occasion, it does. Most of the time, though, it only dictates how I get rid of it. Do I sell or donate the item or try to keep it in the family? But I’ve decided I am not going to feel obligated to keep something that’s just languishing in a closet, drawer, cabinet, the attic or the basement.
I’m really done with that mindset.
So, I’m organizing in a fresh way. It’s not only about making the things I have look neat and tidy. It’s not about label makers and plastic bins with dividers, though those things are fun.
It’s about getting rid of anything I don’t use and/or love. And, preferably, everything I have fits in both of those categories.
I worked on my kitchen this weekend…just tackling one drawer or cabinet at a time, so it didn’t get overwhelming. It wasn’t the main thing on the Saturday plan, it was just a “hang out at home” day, so I worked on it bit by bit as time permitted.
Cleaning out the spice drawer was hilarious. There was one spice jar that expired before my oldest son was born. And he’s SEVEN. AND A HALF! Oh, goodness. So, I went from having an entire drawer full of spices to having eight bottles. I actually have two empty drawers and two empty cabinets after cleaning things out. I’m even getting rid of my crockpot. I never, ever use it and the fact that every American home is supposed to have a crockpot just isn’t a good enough reason for me to keep it. (Don’t try to talk me into keeping it!)
And the cabinets I cleaned out that still have stuff in them are pretty sparse. It’s refreshing to be able to see everything! I had four cans of cocoa in there. I think I kept buying new ones when I was baking a recipe that called for it, not realizing I already had two, then three other cans.
So, I ended up with a lot of trash, a few things to sell in the online shop and a pretty hefty pile for the thrift store.
I wanted to go beyond getting rid of things, though, so I hit the buffet in the dining room and pulled out things that were tucked away. Things that I use for photo shoots and special occasions. Now, they’re going to be every day work horses. We’re using an ironstone plate with a beautiful antique butter dome as our regular ole butter dish.
And I added the flatware we bought as newlyweds, that I’ve never really loved, to the thrift store pile and filled our daily silverware drawer with flatware from the buffet that makes me happy every time I pull the drawer open.
Spoons like these beauties just should be used!! (And, you know what? I’ve had them in felt for about eight years and never knew they had the beautiful detail on the back until Saturday.)
And have you ever seen a prettier spork?
It’s so special as well, that many of these pieces are engraved with the monogram of my mom, grandmother, great-grandmother and great aunt.
And I’m having a fun time figuring out every day uses for some of the exotic serving pieces and specialty flatware. Who cares if I’m totally abusing the rules of etiquette by using a demitasse spoon for yogurt. I’m over it!
I know I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, but there’s something liberating about cleaning and organizing like this. There’s something really exciting about using things you really love and enjoy and getting rid of the things that you feel “meh” about.
I remember my mother-in-law telling me about her great-aunt’s house (I think it was.) It was a beautiful, old Pennsylvania home that had some very formal rooms and a grand front staircase. When her great aunt, or maybe it was her grandmother, was alive, no one was allowed to use the grand stairs. They had to use the back kitchen steps. When she died, a declaration was made that everyone would use the grand steps. Every day. My mother-in-law shared the joy of running up and down those steps that had been off-limits for so many years.
Why do we do that?
There are even some old homes in PA that have two front doors, seriously, three feet from each other. One was for formal occasions and special guests and the other was for every day. When did we decide that nice things needed to be in lock boxes, bolted up, stowed away, roped off and reserved? A few weeks ago, many of you shared stories of relatives who died with homes containing beautiful clothes with tags on them, unused silver, boxed up dishes, etc. They were being saved and cherished, but ultimately ended up in an estate sale or auction.
Oh, ladies, let’s not do that. Let’s enjoy the beautiful things we have.
…because spoons like these can’t be appreciated in a felt wrapper in a wooden box in a buffet.