Thursday, November 3, 2016

Eating Up the Excess

There seems to be no end to the excess within our home. I am finally making some headway and there are finally some empty shelves, drawers and an (almost) empty room to show for my efforts. Add two more green Superstore crates to the picture below and you have a glimpse of the storage containers we have emptied. Nothing is safe these days. 

5 large plastic containers; 5 medium containers; 3 Superstore crates and 2 sets of drawer containers
7 empty drawers; 2 completely empty shelves 

Enter the food portion of my story. This started when I thought I should use up the decaffeinated coffee that has been pushed to the back of the cupboard. I've been drinking a little more coffee than I should so it would be wise to switch to decaf after the first two cups, right? Right! I knew it had been sitting around for quite a while so I wasn't even surprised to find it's best before date was four years ago. Then my eyes came upon some mocha flavored coffee that was older than that. It was a Christmas gift which was given to me by a couple who broke up in September of 2009. Which means the newest this coffee could possibly be is December of 2008. Maybe 2007.

I have been drinking a cup or two of decaffeinated coffee every morning since my find. But what about the mocha flavored stuff? I can't quite bring myself to throw it out. It has been opened so I won't give it away. But if it hasn't been consumed in the past eight years, what makes me think that I will suddenly take a liking to it now? Because I'm cheap and hate to see things wasted? Perhaps.

This reminded me of the mozzarella cheese sticks and jalapeno bites I bought as appetizers a minimum of two Christmases ago (note the Christmas season is almost upon us again, so make that "three" Christmases ago). I bought them once and they turned out to be the perfect thing to have on hand when no one in the house felt like cooking and our house had two extra adults living under the roof. The night we made ourselves supper out of all-that-was-frozen was such a fun, memorable evening, I immediately replaced those items and they have been sitting in the deep freeze ever since. There was one half hearted attempt to recreate that tasty little snack a year later, so each bag was half consumed. My memory of how good they tasted at the time, had me trying to recreate that lost moment (again) last week. I made myself eat half of what was left. I'll try it one last time when I'm hungry. Then that, should be the end of that.

This piqued my curiousity so I went on a food hunt to unearth all which has expired &/or will never be consumed by anyone under this roof. I found this (below). These are all the unopened, still sealed packages. I did throw away that which was opened (not much, but any food thrown out is still too much):

The best before dates ranged from February, 2010 to September, 2015. In my defense, the yogurt tubes (which expired in spring of this year) have been frozen ever since I got them. And the Freezies? Probably good for at least six more years. But my son told me he will never eat them. 

I listed these items to give away, clearly noting the expiry dates and the new owners can decide what they use or what they toss. But everything was sealed and I would use it all myself. Except, if I haven't used it in the past six years, what is the chance I'll ever use it again?

Rehoming our excess seems to be the name of the game for me. At the beginning of last weekend, I had filled three of these containers (below) and there were two (first picture) Superstore crates filled with toys. All that is left is what you see here (and it is half full of new stuff to be dealt with this upcoming weekend):

Everything else has been donated to Value Village, given away via Kijiji's "Free Stuff" ads or sold. My profits were low this past week. We are (thankfully) getting down to the dregs. 

Yesterday I went in search of a phone number I knew I had tucked into my home renovations file and I got completely lost within all the paperwork within the filing cabinet (and never did find the phone number. However, I did manage to work on my son's bookkeeping). I went searching for it again right now and culled through a 3/4" pile of business cards and reduced my business card pile to a 1/4".

The excess within is showing up everywhere!! How in the world did I let this happen?

In a word? Daycare. It was the beginning of holding onto every little thing I thought we could turn into a craft or something for the kids to play in or on or with. It was the beginning of a time of ten to twelve hour days and six day work weeks. 

My daycare days were also a time of great nesting, focus on home, family and parenting. Working in our home allowed me the benefit of puttering with the housework as I watched over my kids. Small amounts of work over an extended period of time made a big difference.

My years after Daycare 1.0 were the end of a very good phase within this little life of mine. I lost all of the good habits I had gained during my reign of daycare provider. Working outside my home depleted me. Not being able to putter away at the little things around the house all day turned housework and cooking into onerous tasks I did not want to tackle.

Now that I've made such a big dent in the decluttering within this house of ours, I find myself puttering again. Not in the manner in which I used to do it but a little bit of puttering is better than none. On one hand, it is disheartening to have rid our home of so much and still see how far there is left to go. On the other hand, it does make me think twice about ignoring all the little things that have added up into a small hoarding situation. 

Every time I pick up a pile of papers, a file, open a drawer or cupboard and I toss something into the donate, sell or garbage piles, the load lightens just a little bit more. 

One one, final positive note I would like to say that I just made a great sacrifice and ate up the last of the "Rockets" candy we had left over from Halloween. I may never recover from this time of "eating up the excess" around here. "Oh, my achin' stomach ..."

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