I’ll get to the picture above in a minute, but first I need to explain what brought that on. You see, every New Year I make a long list of resolutions which are becoming so predictable that it’s becoming comical: exercise more, procrastinate less, donate more, waste less, blah blah blah. All good intentions, and many of them not followed through.
In recent years, I’ve started blaming the cluttered nature of my home for my inability to be a better follower of my own resolutions. We are a two-professional household with increasingly busy workday schedules. (Thank goodness we only have a dog we are taking care of and no kids because I’m not sure how we could possibly be keeping up with all the demands made by our workaholic society. I truly feel for my friends and relatives who juggle work and kids!) Meanwhile, our home is becoming more and more of a wreck each weekday such that the weekend rolls around to have us wading in piles of clothing and junk mail and charitable solicitations and dirty dishes sitting on counters because the dishwasher has been full since Tuesday. I’ve been increasingly getting worried about the implications of all this clutter since there are plenty of expert opinions giving voice to the notion that a cluttered home is a sign of a cluttered subconscious. Yikes!
I decided we need to do a better job of de-cluttering so that we can maintain a semblance of order and cleanliness. So, this year, I’m trying something new. Instead of waiting until the New Year to make my same old resolution to de-clutter, I’m going to start preparing myself for the new year by tackling a small de-cluttering job each weekend. One weekend, Will and I both went through a task we set ourselves: Will cleared the den closet and I put the pantry in some order. This past week, we put clothing and “small household items” in six bags so that Amvets could make their pick-up of our donations, something we do 4-6 times a year.
On a past weekend, I attacked the spice cabinet. We cook a lot, and it turns out we have even more spices than I thought we had. Some are in jars, some in bags, some in tubs, and most are residing in hidden recesses of our kitchen. As you can see from the picture above, I had them in a small “lazy Susan” that would turn so that I can see what spices are on the other side. Of course, it should have occurred to me when first coming up with this brilliant plan that the turning doesn’t really help me figure out what spices are inside, in the inner circles of the lazy Susan. I’ve had many a frustrated attempt to find a little-used spice (I don’t really do that much with tarragon, for instance, or that garam masala which it turned out I had two jars of—no doubt because I could not find the first jar and purchased a second jar for ½ teaspoon in a recipe).
I decided on the clear-topped spice containers you see at the top of this post. They are actually magnetized and designed to be placed on sides of refrigerators or on a separate metallic rack, but I sense that would not contribute to an organized-looking kitchen to display dozens of spice containers out in the open. So I opted to put them inside one of the top drawers of the kitchen such that I can see all my spices at once. Will suggested putting labels on top, but I didn’t want to spoil the look of the clear tops, so I put little labels on the sides. It might mean that I have to pull out both the allspice and the ground clove or both the ground cumin and the ground coriander, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the neat appearance.
So far, I’m liking this method quite a bit. I’ve found it’s easier to open the top to use a measuring spoon to scoop out, and the side holes make sprinkling (like cinnamon or ground cayenne) quite handy. I should confess though that I’m hedging my bets. I purchased 16 containers for my more frequently-used spices and left the others in their original jars. If all works well I might invest in more containers, but for now I’m happy enough to pull out other spices as needed from the inner recesses of my cluttered subconscious—oops, I meant, my cluttered kitchen drawer!