Thursday 31 March 2011

Day One of the Big Pare Down . . .

Sooooo . . . yesterday we began paring everything down. I can't tell you how happy Todd is that I have finally seen the light! He has been trying to tell me for years now that I have too much stuff. For a guy that is a "place for everything, and everything in it's place" kind of guy, I am way over the top sometimes and it drives him up the wall!

I was so very grateful for his help and for once he didn't make me crazy. I thought he would be a bit upset at all that we were having to get rid of, as he hates waste more than anything else. I do too, or else I would not have been hanging on to all of this stuff.

We decided that we would begin in the Kitchen. We were going to start upstairs, but after much thought I realized that it was best to begin in the room that we use the most and that we would feel the greatest impact in. Once done, it would be a great impetus for moving forward. I love to cook, and the kitchen is the hub of our home. It has been so frustrating to me trying to cook and do things in 1 foot of counterspace . . . having to dig through oodles of stuff to find what I needed to cook with each time I went to do anything . . . having to dig through oodles of ingredients to find the things I wanted . . . even something as simple as Vanilla was a chore to find. Oh, I knew it was in there somewhere, but just where was a mystery to me! To every cooking session you could add at least 30 to 45 minutes of searching time!

Very early on I discovered that my back and my knees were not going to allow me to crouch down and sort out the cupboards by myself. At the very best I was only able to sit on this little step stool we have and direct Todd. (Another indication of how very bad my weight issue has gotten. I am not ginormous by any stretch, but have gotten large enough that it is beginning to affect my mobility and ability to do even simple things like this)

It has become clear to me that if I can't see something I can't use it, or I forget that it is there, and that has been a large problem with much of what I had stored in the kitchen. I could not see a lot of it. My baking cupboard was so stogged full that whenever I opened it to get something out, it would take me at least half an hour to find what I was looking for and when I did, it was only because the avalanche when I opened the door revealed it to me . . . now it is all tidied up, alot of the out of date things are gone (the birds will enjoy) and I know exactly what I have in there. All those accessories to the food processor that I have NEVER used, and will NEVER use are out in the shed, which is one step closer to the tip!

Look at this cupboard under the sink. It is neat and tidy now and I know exactly everything that I have in there!! That does look like an awful lot of vinegars though, doesn't it. Sigh . . . why on earth I need so many kinds is beyond my comprehension, but then again . . . at least vinegar is not fattening and I am going to be eating a lot of salads so it will come in useful there. I had two huge lasagne baking dishes. I don't need two huge lasagne baking dishes, especially when there are only two of us and one of us hates lasagne, and so one has been taken out and earmarked for the Charity shop. I kept the beautiful Emile Henry one Todd bought me for Christmas a few years ago. It was expensive . . . it's red (one of my favourite colours) . . . and Todd gave it to me, even though he hates Lasagne. Three very good reasons to keep it.

The little trolly we bought so that I could have extra counter space has been tidied up and organized. Unbelievably, I discovered the bread bin was filled with biscuits and chocolate. I can't even remember putting them in there. A few went into the bird bin, but Todd will be chowing down on Snickers bars and a few other tidbits for more than a little while. Thankfully he is one of those people that can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce. In fact he has trouble keeping weight on!

I even managed to pare down my pots and pans. We had three sets. One cheapo set we had bought when we first got married . . . wait, I LIE! We had four sets. The cheapo set, one that was a wedding gift from a friend, one that we bought from a Dutch man who sold them to us from the boot of his car in our driveway and a really expensive set (worth over £215) that I recently bought for a mere £14 using a gift certificate from CSN Stores. Guess which one we kept? Bang on! I may be crazy but I'm not stupid! The rest are destined for the charity shop as well.

It was so refreshing to see clean countertops and everything in it's place and a place for everything. Todd was so good . . . he never once voiced any displeasure at the waste, although I know he had every reason to. He was such a good help to me and I appreciated it so very much. He is the best husband anyone could ever want. I do love him so.

We had to keep Mitzie out of the kitchen for most of the morning by putting the baby gate across while we were working, because . . . there was just too much in the way of tempting stuff there for a puppy to endure. She didn't like that very much. She just loves to be a part of all that we are doing, but afterwards when we were done, and she was allowed back in, she gave our job the Mitzie stamp of approval! (Whew!)

All in all it was a very productive day. We got a lot done and I was well pleased with the results. Today we tackle the dining room and lounge.

I also wanted to thank you all so very much for all your comments and support. They meant the world to me. It was nice to know that I am not alone in the way I was feeling, and that it struck a nerve in many of you as well. That must mean I'm not quite as crazy as I thought I was!

Isn't she a pretty girl? I couldn't live without her now. (Even if she has managed to chew her way through all of her stuffed toys now, including the teddy bear that came with her when she arrived. I have a whole basket of them waiting to be mended.) Look at that innocent face. The other day Todd had cut himself a piece of fruitcake and gotten himself a drink, then decided he needed to go to the loo. So . . . he put the plate with the cake on it down on the coffee table along with his drink and went upstairs. I happened to come in shortly after and there she was . . . sitting next to the coffee table, kindly holding his cake for him . . . in her mouth. She hadn't started to eat it . . . she was just holding it for him . . . keeping it safe, you know. At least, that's what she told me, and just who am I to quibble with a face like that???

The English Kitchen, thick pea soup. Just perfect for a cold, windy, and rainy day like today!


  1. Wow! I'm so impressed, Marie. You started with the room that is the centre of your home - in other words, the hard room. You are very brave - and I can see that you've done a fantastic job.

    I laughed at your description of Todd being able to eat everything and never gain weight. I'm married to the human toothpick as well. Everyone in the family wonders how he stays so thin given his well known penchant for chocolate and icecream and cakes. We've decided that wither he has hollow legs or that he has a cow's digestion system, with different stomacks for different kinds of food. So he now talks about needing something for "my dessert tummy" - lol!

    Good luck with the rest of your decluttering. Now you've started in earnest, I hope it becomes easier for you. I don't hoard at all, but then I lost a lot in a house fire many years ago and since then, I can see that they are just "things" and not nearly as important to me as people and relationships, which I treasure. And I know you do as well :-)

    Sending our love and support from Sweden. And an extra cuddle for little Mitzie.

  2. Great job! You and Todd did very well and I know you must feel good about getting so much done. I hope your Thursday is a great day too!

  3. when we re=did our kitchen a few years ago i had a good clean was so liberating...good for you Marie!! Your kitchen looks so good!!

  4. Great job, Marie! I have been very slowly doing the same here. I still need to work on the closet in my office, the spare room closet and my kitchen cabinets, but slowly and surely I will get them done. Seems good to be free of clutter. Please do not think of giving the things to the charity shops as waste . . . instead think of it as being able to bless someone less fortunate than you, perhaps a young mother just starting out or someone who has lost their home in a fire. Much love to you, my precious friend! Raquel XO

  5. That was a wonderful job Marie. (I love your blue toaster and your cookbook holder. But I'll take a page from your notebook --- I do not NEED them so I will make do with what I have.)

  6. WONDERFUL start, Marie! Your cheer & enthusiasm shine! So glad Todd is so supportive of your Big Pare Down. A kitchen is a great place to start. When I do my big spring clean, it's always the kitchen first. ;o) Love having this extra glimpse of your cozy home...Having a tiny kitchen too, I do sympathize. Hope the lounge de-clutter is going well today. Keep us posted! I must go see about that soup. Would you believe, we're having a light snow today...*sigh*... so soup seems like a good idea! At this rate we'll never even see crocuses...LOL! Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU LOTS!! :o) ((BIG HUGS))

  7. You are an inspiration, Marie. I am looking at my larder.....I hope to be able to do so without wincing by following your example.
    Mitzie is looking very kissable.

  8. A whole other level to spring cleaning!

  9. You really got a good start on your new less cluttered life! You really gave me a lift when I read your post this morning. Thanks for letting us in on your kitchen clean up.

  10. Doesn't it feel so good to get the stuff you don't use often out of the kitchen. I love that. We did a huge overhaul when we redid our kitchen a few years back. I do the same thing with my closets on a regular basis. it helps free up your mind so much to unclutter. Good for you guys. A small house is much harder to keep tidy than a bigger one.

  11. My husband gets bored easily if he hasn't got a project on the go. I left him in peace one day in the kitchen and found out later that he had gone through all the cupboards throwing out all the spices that were out of date, amongst other things. What he didn't know was that I kept the old jars and topped them up, so he had thrown out perfectly good spices. The sink and bin smelled of foreign lands. lol. I was so flabberghasted that I was silent about it for a few days. I was then calm enough to let him know that his 'good deed' had cost us a lot of money. Oh well.. he meant well.
    I wish you well with your spring clean my friend.
    By the way...that is some watchdog you have...and so thoughtful too!
    Jeanie xxxx


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