Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Last week, I discussed methods for cleaning and decluttering your refrigerator and freezer; this week we’re onto what is usually a larger repository of items that should have moved along long ago, the pantry. Because things in the pantry don’t usually spoil, they can sometimes hang around long enough to become honorary members of your household.
It will probably be helpful to have a pen and paper with you when you start excavating your pantry, especially if you know it’s… let’s politely call it “a goldmine of uneaten potential.”
What do you have, how many do you have, how long has it been in there? Check dates. Put like with like. Anything you have duplicates of may be excessive. I have a dozen little cans of olives, and I use them once a week, so a dozen is a reasonable supply, not an excess. But two cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas) is definitely an excess for me; frankly, one can probably is. Either make a list of what you have that needs to be used up, or put all the extras and duplicates on one shelf, and start using things without replacing them. Alternatively, you can choose to give the extras to the food pantry, rather than consume them yourself.
Some people buy a lot of groceries because they feel uncomfortable about the possibility of running out of food. But remember, it doesn’t all have to be stored at your house; allow the shops to store it for you. Then you can visit your “pantry” whenever you need for whatever you need.
If you live in an area where you might be cut off without access to shopping, for example, in an area that floods or where you get snowed in, I’m sure you need an emergency pantry. I don’t live in that environment, but I would think that having it completely separate from your regular food pantry, or in a specific area of your pantry, and rotating it once a year would be a safe policy. Mark the rotation date on your calendar so you don’t forget. Think carefully and logically about what you really need it in. Just having a bunch of extra canned goods on hand without true consideration to what they are isn’t going to be as helpful as a thought-out plan.
I think cleaning the pantry is a good time to think about healthy eating. Long ago, I talked about decluttering the pantry after my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. We changed our family’s eating habits literally overnight. Everything that wasn’t part of her healthy, low-carbohydrate diet went directly out the door. I sometimes hear, “Oh I could never do what you do, that must be so hard.” I always say, “It is hard, and you would do it to give someone you love the healthiest and longest life-span possible.”
Don’t we love ourselves? Aren’t we responsible for making sure that we are living the healthiest and longest life-span possible? Then why do you have unhealthy food in your pantry? Get rid of it and don’t buy more. Unhealthy food is just another kind of clutter that you can live without.
How does unhealthy food enter your house? Probably in a grocery sack carried by your own hands. The purchasing of food needs to be a conscious decision like everything else you buy. Shop with a list; don’t vary from it; only buy what furthers your goal of a healthy lifestyle. If you feel you “must” have a treat, buy the smallest container possible (even though that’s likely to be less economical) and don’t buy more until your next shopping trip … or even later than that. Do you spend too much money on alcohol? Again, buy less and don’t buy more until your next shopping trip. For me, beer in the house turns into a beer a day then two beers a day and a couple of pounds a month. It works better for me to only have the occasional beer at a party, not keeping it on hand, is a better choice.
A decluttered pantry will let you have easier access to the foods that you want and will use, without it being cluttered by past mistake purchases, bad-for-you choices, and so much volume that things get lost in a sea of cans and jars.
Next week’s post “Your Second Favorite” addresses using up things that don’t really like … at least not that much.
Today’s Declutter Item
This jar of beads were another craft decluttering effort. The beauty is that I donated them to the thrift store and was there on the day to sell them to a lady for $5. She was happy with her purchase and I was happy to see the charity making money out of my donation.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
I know that volunteering your time usually evoke gratitude from the organisation that you are giving up your time and energy for. But I am grateful for the opportunity to do my part for the community in which I live. There are a lot of people out there worse off than me and I feel good about helping to provide support for them.