Monday, September 10, 2012

Organization is the Key to Simplification

My spice cabinet

I wish I had taken a "before" picture.  You cannot appreciate this cabinet unless you experienced it in all its previous messiness. 

When I started my journey, I thought simplification would primarily entail saving money.  I am finding it is so much more than squeezing a dollar until it screams and begs for mercy. And I'm not even saying my dollars are screaming for mercy, just that they are starting to feel a pinch. 

I started thinking, "What makes me craziest that I can fix?"  Two things came to mind:  my silverware and my spice cabinet.

I had about 50 butter knives and 2 spoons.  The two spoons didn't even match any of the fifty knives.  I'm not surprised, being aware of cows propensity to jump over lunar objects and spoons to run away with the china. The forks were in the middle, around 20, each with a bent tine or two.  I could live with 50 mismatched knives and 20 bent tines but not with two spoons, each of which had taken numerous spins down the garbage disposal...a kind of wild, silverware amusement ride which had left each with numerous sharp nicks. It had gotten to the point you had to eat your cereal very gingerly.

So I bought new silverware.  It's kind of ugly but it was on the clearance rack for $18. It all matches and for the first time in a long time, we eat without fear. 

I took the old silverware and sold it in a friend's garage sale for $5. The lady who bought it seemed thrilled. Perhaps she was spoon heavy and knife light.

For $13, I have drastically improved my life, at least until the next time I turn on the garbage disposal and am met with the unmistakable death song of a metallic object. There is no worse noise because when you first hear it, you don't know what's down there.  Is it just a beer cap?  Or is it your wedding ring? Then you have to reach inside and fish around some slime until you find the body. The last victim was the cap to my favorite salt shaker. It's the equivalent of Kitchen CSI.

Happy Spices

The other major annoyance in my kitchen was a cabinet where I kept all my spices.  I had a thirty year accumulation of spice bottles in a variety of shapes and sizes.  I'm pretty sure the Cardamon (OK, I know for sure) was bought for a recipe I made right after I got married. I remember it specifically because I was trying to impress my new husband's family with a fancy fruit dish covered in an exotic spice.  They were not impressed. On the plus side, I was rarely asked to bring dishes to family events again.

Spices were stacked two and three bottles high based on a particular bottles ability to balance on top of another, kind of a spice cirque du soleil, if you will.  Without fail, each time I opened this cabinet, a bottle would leap from the shelf onto the counter, spewing it's contents far and wide in a kind of spice suicide.

"But nutmeg," I would cry. "I didn't even know you were depressed! How did I miss the signs?"

My mother always said I was a little dramatic.

So, I bought a couple of over-priced spice organizers at Bed, Bath & Beyond. My frustration level has drastically dropped now that I am not cleaning up expensive spice guts everyday.  What little changes can you make to simplify your life?

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