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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Great Purge of 09/2012 Day 6 Year 2

Medicinal cast-offs

I have opened my larder and refrigerator and my freezers, and even my medicine chest over that past week.  It is time to purge, purge, purge.  The gluten-free bagels that were frost-burned, the post-dated cans of soup, bags of vegetable and mystery meats have all been tossed.  I used the opportunity created by this household sell-by date rampage to defrost my deep freezer. I shot a photograph of everything I put back into the freezer to create an inventory of foods that are in cold storage. Now, dinner planning is made easier for all concerned.  Even my seventeen-year old son concedes it is handy to have a list rather than play Jenga with boxes of frozen dinners. It was not infrequent to have items from the top freezer to tumble to the floor in a disarrayed pile of rectangular boxes of ice. I was in label-maker heaven, labeling shelves and newly purchased food storage containers for staples such as pretzels, rice and chocolate chips.  Nuts found a new home in the refrigerator as they tend to have a longer shelf life when kept cool. I disposed of cereals with boxes that had a neat expiration date stamped on top -- Use by March 7, 2010.  I looked for rancid oils and ancient vinegars.  When I went through the herbs and spices, I created a plethora of new space that allows for much better display of what is available. The waste generated by disposing of post-dated prescriptions, over-the-counter compounds and general pharmaceuticals for a family of five was shocking. It created the whole ethical dilemma of how to dispose of many of them safely.  A Google search provided me with sound advice. It did not, however, inform me how to manage my daughter’s imminent distress when she discovers I threw out the last quarter inch of a shampoo she has had since high school.  It was time.  She is a college graduate and she has to be prepared to accept the commensurate changes involved in becoming an adult.  I sacrificed that one bottle for the shower space it freed up for a more recent brand; I had, as a guiding principle, will disposing of this item serve the highest good for the most people.  My own closet and bureau did not escape scrutiny.  I recruited a friend to help me.  Her opinion was that many of my clothes are dated and my shoes are deplorable.  She waxed on about the elegance of one little cashmere shrug, but the rest was all pretty much disposable in her opinion.  With near parsimonious precision, I shared a bag full of shirts, cast-offs and no-longer age appropriate items.  She made a date to come back and be more ruthless in the weeding, as well as supporting my efforts to use mail order to replace key items.  That has been placed on my To Do list.  I am not quite through with my efforts, yet.  I have my eye set on sorting out my cleaning solvents and laundry supplies next. 
I feel curiously lighter and markedly more in control of my life at the moment. I can’t say enough about the rehabilitative powers of imposing order and control on a piece  -- any piece -- of your life.  My advice?  Open one drawer and simply start there. Like eating popcorn, you may find it hard to stop.   

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