ON MY MIND: Goodwill hunting

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

What is it that makes a person decide to empty all their kitchen cupboards and drawers under the guise of spring cleaning? That is just what I did last night. I asked my husband to help me unload the larder. We unloaded and unloaded until we had stuff covering every surface visible in the kitchen and living room. We still didn’t have enough room.

Today I proceeded with my task. It sounded simple. You clean the cupboard. You sort the stuff, put it away all reorganized — tah dah!

Hmmm. Somehow the reality wasn’t equal to my vision.

Apparently time had gotten away from me these past few years. I used to do this as an annual task. But now years had passed and stuff had accumulated. Oh, sure, you don’t have any stuff accumulating in your cupboards. If you really don’t, I am guessing it’s because you did this project yesterday. Otherwise, stuff grows and grows and grows. Some of it is trash, for sure. Some of it is yucky, for sure. Some of it is God only knows what. I found things I don’t have a clue what they are, let alone what they do.

A lot of the stuff I found was pretty sad. Towels and cloths with holes and stains. Napkins and placemats which saw their best day many years ago. I found giant appliances I maybe used once. I think Goodwill will be happy to get them.

I found a cupboard full of vases — all sizes and shapes. If you read my column, you may remember that I am not a gardener. Why do I need 42 vases? I kept a couple and said bye-bye to the others. I will take them to the local flower shops hoping they can recycle/reuse them. Who knows, you may get one with a bouquet in it delivered to your door.

Lucky you!

I threw out candles that were so stained and nasty, I had to wonder if they had ever had a nice glow. The word icky comes to mind.

I threw out Tupperware without lids and more plastic containers than I could believe. Are they contagious or something? Do plastic containers and lids just spread? And, of course, never match. They are all just on their own and of no use. What could have been my motive for saving all of them?

Then I got into the food. Oh, boy! Who knew things expired so fast! Dates like 2009 kept coming as I searched for those dreaded expiration dates. A lot of the stuff had a big healthy bunch of mold on it so I didn’t even have to bother looking for the date. That was a lucky break. I didn’t even know olives could get moldy – wow!

I tossed dishes we hadn’t used in a dozen years. I tossed chipped bowls. I tossed some baking pans that should never have been bought in the first place.

I broke a few nice glass platters because I piled them so precariously in my unloading the cupboards frenzy. At least I didn’t have to worry whether I should keep them. Once they were in a gazillion pieces, the decision was pretty easy.

There are places in my kitchen that I never think of going for more than a brief second — places like under the sink. Uw, baby, I ain’t got time for that. Today I took the time and now I would show it to anyone. If Princess Kate stops by tomorrow, I think I will ask her right away if she wants to see under my sink.

So, tonight I go to bed with aches and pains and a very tired body. But, my spirit is pretty proud. I have a whole kitchen that is immaculate in every single nook and cranny, drawer and cupboard. My fridge and pantry just sport unspoiled food and cleanliness.

Perhaps I will get a call tomorrow and someone will be wanting to do a reality show on me and my kitchen. I may not get the call, though. I will probably be out delivering treasures to Goodwill, local flower shops, the trash and other lucky places.

There was a great movie, “Good Will Hunting.” I guess that’s what I did today. Maybe I won’t get asked to do a reality show. Maybe I will just be like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and just get an academy award for my project. Or maybe I will just sit down, put my feet up and smile with pride as I drink some wine I found in the cupboard that I never knew we had. No matter which happens, I am happy to cross this project off my to do list. And I resolve not to let years go by before I do it again … unless I forget … or unless I get busy or …

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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