Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Expiration Dates

As promised, here is a fun story about a recent cleaning adventure.

We've been on a purging kick lately at work.  (No, not binging and purging.)  We have tons of files that we've been holding on to that we could have gotten rid of years ago, so it's been my job to sort through them and shred what needs to be shredded and recycle the rest.

Getting rid of the unnecessary file weight at work has inspired me to do some "spring cleaning" at home, too (yes, in October).  It all started with a tiny item on my to-do list.  We have our kitchen trash can, but no place to put recycling.  Really, we'd just been throwing the recycling in a corner behind the trash can until it looks like enough to fill a bag and then I bag it and move it to the front hall until I take the recycling out to the recycling center.  It was a really horrible system and I decided to fix it.  We have the same size trash can in the bathroom, which makes no sense, because it takes forever to fill up a trash can that size in the bathroom and that's kind of gross to have that sitting around that long.  So I moved a little one into the bathroom and the big one out into the kitchen as a recycling bin. 

So how did this spark a huge "spring cleaning" project?  Well, as I moved stuff around, I needed to take the trash out of the now-recycling bin, so I looked through my fridge to see if anything had gone bad in there that needed to be tossed (it happens).  Instead, I found myself looking through all the stuff in the door (condiments, etc.) and realizing that many of them had expired.  4 years ago.  I'm not a strict expiration date person.  If it was a few months ago, unless it's milk or something, it's probably still good.  Some things, like Jell-O or cake mix, I'm cool keeping even a year or so after the expiration date.  But 4 years, especially on something refrigerated, is nasty.  So I got rid of those.  And then I moved to the top of the fridge, where for some reason we had been keeping a jar of pickles from 500 B.C.

I should stop at this point and explain a bit about the apartment.  It's a hand-me-down apartment and kitchen.  Most of the furniture "belongs to the apartment" (as we say).  The couch, the table, the chairs, the dressers - all the apartment's.  Many of the dishes belong to the apartment, too.  That being said, some of the food is kind of hand-me-down, too.  Which isn't gross if you think of someone leaving a few boxed/canned items for the next renter as they get used to a new place.  But when you think of the new renter ignoring those in the back of the cupboard and repeat that for a few more renters, it starts to build up.  Until half the available cupboard space (which is small anyway) is eaten up by food you're never going to eat.  Ugh.

Okay, so after cleaning out the fridge and the top of the fridge, I did two more cupboards.  Which are now practically bare. 

Friends, I found a box of jambalaya mix that expired in 1996.  And please don't tell me that it's still fine because it's just spices, rice, and dehydrated vegetables.  (Like my husband did.)  Would you eat that when it's probably 18 years old?

And now?  It feels great!  By cleaning out all that cupboard space, I can get more things off the top of the fridge (things we actually use) and the floor and into cupboards, which makes our place feel so much tidier!

And I still have another cupboard and two shelves to clean, too!

Have you done any major cleaning projects around your home lately?

Love and Dehydrated Vegetables,
Leah Joy

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