The Refrigerator Called Life

 

I have a friend whose refrigerator resembles a surgical suite.  Pristine and organized within an inch of its life, it’s perfectly stocked with every staple, main dish ingredient and culinary extra you could hope for.

In the door, condiments and dressings line up like grade-schoolers waiting for a class photo: tall ones in back, short ones in front.  All of the dairy products are close at hand when the door swings open.  If you’re looking for the cottage cheese, it’s there with the milk, just as it should be.  Other cheeses live in a plastic container underneath the cottage cheese (no meat drawer for them!) and the yogurts are stacked just behind, according to flavor. Why it’s important to have all the raspberry yogurts together rather than intermingled with the lemon and dutch apple I’m not sure, but that’s the way it’s done in her refrigerator.

In my friend’s refrigerator, greens are always crisp, fruit never goes bad and you never, ever have to haul everything off a shelf to get to the bag of chocolate chips hidden in the back. (The fact that they’re hidden there to slow down the chocoholic who’d gotten into the habit of grabbing a handful now and then is beside the point. In her world, everything should be accessible, and the chip-grabber should learn a little discipline.)

I know my friend likes me too much to ever say a word, but I can see her nose twitching like a disapproving schoolmarm when she comes to visit. She opens the door to my little food haven with the trepidation of a spelunker in unfamiliar territory. If her refrigerator is a Shakespearean sonnet, mine’s an old issue of National Enquirer.  The fact that I usually manage to avoid unidentifiable fuzzy things in plastic containers is a plus, but barely.  From her perspective, things are out of control, and she’d be much happier if I established a little order.

The truth is that good intentions are my downfall. I want to be thrifty, organized and creative with the contents of my fridge, but that limp bell pepper huddled in the corner (“How about stir fry one night?”), the over-the-hill nectarines (“They were such a bargain at the time”) and the orange juice container taking up space with just a half-swallow left in the bottom are evidence that good intentions aren’t always enough.

Eventually, the time comes when even I can’t stand it any longer and The Great Re-Organization takes place.  The Great Re-Organization is, of course, a euphemism for The Great Grocery Toss, a ritual that’s always accompanied by stirring quotations of a famous line from one of my domestic heroines, Peg Bracken. “When in doubt, throw it out”, she’d intone at every opportunity, and that’s what I do.  Steeling myself against inevitable waves of guilt and regret, I set to work. When I’m done, the limp pepper, the ancient rice, the bit of juice and the hoary baked potato are simply gone, toted off to the trash in a black plastic bag that hides the evidence of my disorganization and sloth from prying neighborhood eyes.

When it’s over, the sense of joy and relief is palpable. I give the refrigerator itself a good cleaning, line up the bottles and jars, restock the veggies and greens (washed and plumped into their special little bags) and sit down to admire my handiwork. Once, I even called my friend.  “Get over here now,” I implored. “I want you to see this refrigerator living up to your standards at least once in your life.”  That I made the call is funny enough. That she was on my doorstep within the hour is even funnier, a clear indication she understood the forces of chaos only had been pushed back and not overcome.

There are days when I pour my morning coffee, sit down at the table and feel as though I’m gazing directly into the depths of that horrid refrigerator.  Instead of beautifully organized tasks, fresh visions and plenty of space to store whatever delights the day might bring, I see only half-finished projects, limp resolve, over-the-hill intentions and dried-up impulses. Even the treats are hard to get to. Writing projects, intriguing books and late evening walks down the bayou are pushed to the back of my life like so many hapless chocolate chips.

When it reaches that point, only one solution is possible. Like a neglected refrigerator, an unattended life needs a good cleaning every now and then, and Peg Bracken’s wisdom applies to life as well as to lettuce.  “When in doubt, throw it out”, she implores, and so I do.

Cleaning up a life doesn’t mean tossing friends or family,  acquaintances, associates or realities and responsibilities that need to remain on life’s shelves. This is a tossing-out of everything that keeps us from tasting the freshness of life, appreciating the variety of its flavors and being nourished by its substance. It’s an opening of space for  things that matter, while letting go of those that don’t, without regret.

The set of garden pots I picked up at the dumpster, intending to “do something with them someday”?  It’s been two years – so back to the dumpster they go. The critically acclaimed book I never finished because it bored me to death? Half-Price Books is the answer. Piles of snapshots and photographs no one in the family can identify?  They could have been picked up at a garage sale for all we know, but my nostalgic-collage-making friend will love them just the same.  All those tiny shampoos, conditioners and soaps from motels?  The women at the shelter need them more than I do. With just a little effort they’re gone, creating more space for me, and filling a need for someone else.

Material goods that aren’t used, aren’t needed and sometimes aren’t even wanted are obvious targets for the dedicated cleaner-upper, but spirit-wilt can be a problem, too.  Withered bits of nastiness, leftover grudges, unappetizing commitments and slowly hardening expectations can make any life feel like an overstuffed fridge.

And if inattention has allowed humor to turn to ridicule, disagreement to harden into contempt and belief to grow the nasty mold of judgementalism, it’s probably time to open the door, sort the good from the bad, and take out the trash. Not only will it provide a little space for fresh perspectives and delectable new ideas, it makes it far easier to reach in for one of those treats that’s been hidden away, just out of everyone’s sight.


 

 

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ahhh. I have spent most of my waking hours today sorting through my jumbled thoughts. My life feels out of control, and I feel anxious about being able to meet my commitments in the coming weeks. Your words here help me to identify and sort through the various layers of my unease, and often identifying the problem is all that’s needed to see the solution.

    Yes, I think I have spirit-wilt. Thanks for the words!

    NumberWise,

    There’s nothing worse than feeling like a bunch of over-the-hill romaine, is there? As for that out-of-control feeling, I always think about the playground merry-go-round we had at my grade school. It was a solid platform with U-shaped bars to hang on to. Under normal circumstances it was pleasant and fun, but if someone showed up who was able to really get that platform spinning, the centrifugal force could be tremendous, and you felt like you were going to get thrown off.

    At first, I didn’t think there was a way to combine spirit-wilt and out-of-control. Then I remembered those lettuce spinners meant to get water off the leaves ;-) Throw in some wilted greens, turn the handle and voila! The worst of both worlds!

    I know your work, especially, is chock-full of commitments to be met. Thanks for taking some time from them to stop by ~ it’s always a pleasure!

    Linda

  2. And I now know that the inside of a refrigerator can be a thing of beauty.

    I can’t put my finger on the reason why, but your words had me pulling one of my treasured books off the shelf — Kathleen Norris’ book — The Quotidian Mysteries (Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work”.) It’s been years since I’ve read this little jewel, but I opened it up to a well-underlined page. It reads:

    “Things exercise a certain tyranny over us. Whenever I’m checking bags at an airport, I recall St. Teresa of Avila’s wonderful prayer of praise, “Thank God for the things that I do not own.”

    The ‘shoe’ seems to fit.

    Janell

    ps When I pulled up your blog a few minutes ago, the first words out of my mouth were “Goody. A new post.” Your blog is a guilt-free pleasure. And in this way, much better than chocolate chips, however stored.

    Janell,

    Well, I’m just tickled. “Chicken Soup for the Soul” may be a fine title, but “Chocolate Chips for the Soul” seems even tastier!

    I’ve been dallying here thinking of everything from Janis Joplin (“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”) to particular experiences of life that have made clear just how little we need in terms of possessions in order to live comfortably. It’s a fact that “comfort” can be a relative term, since fewer possessions often means more effort is required to keep life ticking along, but after all… having to expend a little effort isn’t the worst thing in the world. Time spent at “the place” that also was Godot’s home, living aboard a 31′ sailboat for a year, life in up-country Liberia – all of those experiences were among the best in my life. The variety of “privations” they imposed – lack of electricity, an oven, storage space, a car – all could be overcome, and taught a few lessons along the way.

    St. Teresa’s prayer is wonderful. I suspect everyone who’s moved, evacuated, settled the estate of someone with a few decades behind them or been forced to downsize their own living quarters has breathed a variety of that prayer ;-)

    Linda

  3. Absolutely wonderful, Linda! I have a feeling most of us on this Planet Earth can identify with everything you’ve written here. When all else fails, move to a different country and see how you’re FORCED to clean up your act.

    Ginnie,

    Exactly so. Short of a transporter found only in science fiction, there’s no way to make those major moves in life – to another country, to a nursing home, to assisted living, to life-on-half-the-salary-because-of-job-loss, without dealing with the issue of “stuff”.

    Sometimes other kinds of moves – into a new relationship, a new community, a new profession – make it clear that interior clutter has become a problem, too. The beauty of old, moldy stuff in the fridge is that there’s no question it has to go. Sometimes it takes us a little longer to recognize over-the-hill for what it is in other realms of life ;-)

    Linda

  4. Our refrigerator certainly reflects our lives right now. It is neat but not over-organized, and it never stays full. Instead, it becomes very depleted throughout the week as we eat our way through that week’s budget. Being on a budget has put so many things in perspective, one being to enjoy our food and not let things go to waste. We used to end up throwing away lunch meat and sometimes leftovers because it was easier to just eat lunch out during work days than to make a lunch. Once you determine that money is not going to be thrown away at places like McDonald’s during the week, you find that it is actually quite a simple task to prepare a lunch. It is also much more gratifying to eat ‘real’ vs. ‘fast’ food.

    Like you I do not have to turn far to see many half-done projects. I keep my upstairs very clean, neat and orderly. That facade masks a basement filled with clutter and chaos. Half-finished art projects. Must-have books that remain unread. Things that have traveled with us on multiple moves and yet have obviously not been ‘needed’ all these years.

    We began decluttering several months ago, selling off many items at a garage sale. A large mess remains, however, and I have obviously abandoned that task, despite my desire to see it done. I have been thinking that the best way to overcome this general malaise is to dedicate 30 minutes each evening to basement detail. By tackling it in bite-sized chunks I can enjoy my evenings after work AND make some headway on this project.

    Carl,

    A friend whose house once was in total chaos (imagine news reports about hoarders) finally got control with a disciplined use of what she called “The Square Yard Line”. Every morning, she marked out one square yard of territory and cleaned up whatever was in it. Nothing more, but nothing less. If she found a buried book, she’d simply put it with other books, but never allowed herself to get distracted by straightening up the bookshelf. Anything she hadn’t used in a year got donated or tossed – immediately. Her new best friends were the folks at Goodwill. She’d stop there on her lunch hour with the morning’s loot, just to be sure she really got rid of it. There was no “I’ll deal with that later” business.

    It took her three months to get through her kitchen, but watching the clean surfaces emerge was quite the motivator! We bought her a tee-shirt with the Nike swoosh and the words “Just Do It!” on the front. It was her housecleaning tee ;-)

    I can’t keep myself from drawing the external/internal connections with this subject. There surely have been times in my life when an attractive, orderly facade has masked clutter and chaos underneath. Generally speaking a different set of skills is needed to deal with interior clutter, but not always. For example, a refusal to worry about what can’t be controlled is just another version of “when in doubt, throw it out”. The weather affects me directly in my work, on a daily basis, but I surely can’t do a thing about it. Eventually the day came when I said, “I’m just not going to worry about it any more.” And I don’t – that particularly obsessive worry just got thrown onto the trash heap and is gone. I still pay attention, but that’s the extent of it.

    It’s amazing to me that the simplest changes often have the more dramatic consequences for our lives.

    Linda

  5. Hi Linda,

    Nice to be here. Somehow you got lost in my messy Google Reader, but I just moved you to a higher place, easier to find in an instant.

    As for throwing out, it’s been a challenge for me as well. Thanks to Tuvia, I have gotten better, first with my refrigerator and then my desk and sometimes my closets. I feel better when I’m leaner both physically and environmentally.

    Thanks for nice move from the fridge to life…

    Bonnie

    Bonnie,

    Funny you should mention that “leanness”. While I was fixing breakfast this morning, it occurred to me that even the obesity so prevalent in this country can be seen through the same filter – as an expression of our unwillingness to live with less. Now and then I listen to a fitness program on the radio, and a nutritionist who was a guest one day said if Americans would go back to three more-or-less sensible meals a day instead of continually noshing, the problem would be well on its way to resolution. Interesting.

    Perhaps the dietary corollary of our little rule would be, “When in doubt, cut it out”!

    So nice to have you stop by – you’re always welcome!

    Linda

  6. What I have found fascinating lately is that as I’ve changed my spending habits, devoted more attention to my faith and to my relationships, the desire to actually clean up the physical clutter has gotten stronger. It is an interesting reversal to how I’ve generally approached these things in the past. As my interior is becoming decluttered, I have less need for exterior clutter and I also find myself with more time.

    Having more time makes me feel like spending time working on the basement or the yard isn’t robbing me of my ‘free time’. Instead I get the satisfaction of the work being done and still have time for myself. Now I just need to work on making positive choices, like your friend did, to tackle a bit of what is left in a systematic manner so that on days when I just ‘don’t feel like it’ I am still making progress, internally and externally.

    Carl,

    Sometimes I feel like my life is cluttered with odd bits of time – if only I could clean those up! Work, for example, is so weather-dependent there are many days when I don’t know from one hour to another what I’ll be able to do. Today I started working and then was forced to stop because of rain showers at least four times – even if I try to be productive by grocery shopping, etc. during the “down” hours, it often leaves me feeling disjointed.

    I do love your reference to the days when we “just don’t feel like” doing this or that. Learning to deal with those days, learning to make the choice to “keep on truckin’” is so important – and so hard!

    Linda

  7. Too true, and so glad you’re like me, what a relief.

    What’s interesting is your timing. I find that September (getting close) is the great month of reorganizing and getting the bits neatly back into calendar squares and cupboard drawers. All those stacks of magazines I meant to read. This is more like my New Year’s than January 1, because of starting back to school.

    There’s nothing like aging to help me accept that I will not likely ever be different than I am, but I am getting better at doing a quick clearing out and not waiting so long between.

    Wonderful post about a simple daily challenge!

    Hi, Ruth,

    Welcome back, and welcome to a brand new year!

    It’s been interesting to read the posts of several teachers I follow during the past month or so. Clearly, they’re on a different schedule than the rest of the world. As the new school year began to loom, you could just feel the rising tide of excitement and anxiety, and hear the expressed need to get things in order.

    We’re all like Ezekiel’s “wheel within a wheel” – rolling along with the conventional calendar, but spinning in our own annual cycle as well. I long for autumn the way some people lust after spring – it’s my time for new beginnings, reorganization and anticipation of the shorter days that give me less time for work, but more time for reading, writing and other such indoor pleasures. I love the plunge into midwinter darkness – though I might not love it so much were I in Michigan!

    Linda

  8. All right, who put you inside my refrigerator and how long did you stay there??? As for the limp pepper, the hoary baked potato,and unidentifiable fuzzy things in plastic containers, they are not mere clutter. They are Science Experiments. It’s all in how you look (or pretend not to look) at it ;)

    Still, the days when I can make my own Refrigerator Purges are filled with great satisfaction. Its equivalents– Closet Purges for the benefit of a local church; cupboard purges for the food pantry; recycling as much as possible; even the recent kitty items purge for the animal shelter–all give a boost to the confidence level. If I can’t do anything myself today (your spirit-wilt, at one level), at least I did something positive for someone else. Which is,in fact, better.

    There’s a sense of feng shui about all of this: how the reduction of stuff lifts an unrealized burden off one’s back. How cleaning up the outside can help to release the inside. I don’t know. I seem simultaneously to abhor clutter, and to thrive on it (this room, for example: disaster! books and papers everywhere, yet I know where most of it is. Woe to the person who shifts a page!)

    Now this comment is cluttered. However, the library kindly provided today the book of Thomas Merton’s that you quoted at the window not long ago. I expect he will be almost as illuminating as you on this subject!

    You said the chocolate chips were where? :)

    Hi, ds,

    Isn’t it just the truth? Refrigerator, closet, toy box, days, hours, garden, mind…. everything gets cluttered, overgrown or dragged down, and the only solution is a firm hand and firmer resolve. I swear I don’t understand how the “stuff” multiplies, and yet it does.

    I had a friend who was unable to throw away plant cuttings. Every time something got trimmed, the trimmings that could be rooted were put into another pot to grow. Her patio was awful – not to mention the side yard, back yard, neighbor’s yard, MIL’s yard… She just couldn’t bring herself to throw away a single bit of green-and-growing anything and her place looked like the Amazon. Finally she put her husband in charge of the cleaning out -she went off to Dallas for three days and left him with orders to deal with it. When she got back home, she was delighted – it looked wonderful. She just couldn’t do it herself!

    I do agree about that inside/outside connection – absolutely. And heaven knows my poor mind needs all the help it can get.

    Oh – and that would be the next-to-the-bottom shelf, left side, at the back….. :-)

    Linda

  9. Linda,

    This is a timely post for me in a number of ways. I’ll have you know that my fridge is the cleanest, leanest and most orderly it has ever been. My life isn’t quite there, but things are beginning to fall into balance.

    We spent weeks cleaning out and tossing stuff at Dad’s, and now we’re walking down the same path here. My husband spent part of today cleaning the garage, and we both worked on the kitchen yesterday. I may move on to the closets tomorrow. It feels good.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

    Bella,

    I love fresh starts, and you have a wonderful one in front of you. Given all you’ve dealt with recently – and will deal with in the future, no doubt about that – it’s just such a pleasure to imagine you strolling around, planning how the tidying-up will progress. Are you sure you want to trim those huge crepe myrtles? Do you really want to look into those backyards? ;-) Whether the answer’s yes or no, it can be your answer – and that’s part of the fun.

    I thought of you when I wrote this – thought it might be apropos. I can’t wait for more bulletins from the cul-de-sac.

    Linda

  10. And mine’s ‘Mad Magazine’… and there’s method in this madness. I know where the ketchup is… not in the freezer. Household clutter control has never been my forte. A major factor is also that I don’t want to be responsible for cleaning out other people’s stuff.

    But I’ve appreciated your analogy. Toss out the expired and replace with the fresh. I think the tough part is knowing what to throw out, and what to keep. Opinions and ideas certainly are not as easy to deal with than material goods. But thanks for the reminder, de-cluttering our shelves and opening more space for new perspectives is most important.

    Arti,

    Oh, my. There’s the heart of my mother’s difficulty – knowing what to keep and what to throw out – or sell, or give away. For whatever reason, she’s reluctant to get rid of anything – not because she enjoys the clutter, but because she can’t make the decisions. I’m sure part of it is being a child of the depression, and part is wanting to hold on to the past, but I also believe some people are keepers by nature, and some are throwers. When you put a keeper and a thrower together – well. You can only imagine.

    Of course, the funny thing is that I have different standards for “things” than I do for thoughts. You should see my draft files! Titles, half-formed thoughts, little paragraphs, quotations – they’re all there, just waiting to be formed into a full entry “when the time is right”. I’ve never deleted a draft of any sort from my files since I started blogging. After all – I might need it some day!

    Linda

  11. Well, well, well, there’s rather a lot to mull on here. First of all, is there some blog-wide thing on cleaning/organizing/purging I missed out on? Seems like I’m seeing a theme on a lot of sites lately, which not only makes me feel woefully inadequate but terribly out of touch!

    My fridge — consider a cooler in a science lab. Lots of experiments there. What happens to veggies left beyond their time? Liquifying can be fun! Cheese — how many colors can we find? Milk seems to self-select. And someday I will eat that leftover soup. Or maybe not.

    When I had my surgery and was at my lowest, Dear Rick decided he would “help” me and clean my fridge. You don’t want someone who is basically clean on that front to go into the science lab when you aren’t physically able to defend yourself. So, I took some vicadin and slept. But it was ugly. Very ugly indeed! And when he was done, it looked so darned nice, I thought “I’ll never let it get that way again.” Which means that seeing your post is a serendipitous occurrence that will remind me to go home, carefully evaluate the jars and bottles and all those mysterious tin foil packages and bits and bobs in cling wrap!

    Well, you make me laugh and smile! And I applaud your marvelous derring do in getting into the fridge and doing it — and well, I might add. (As for your friend, well, I’m a little worried about her…!)

    jeanie,

    I suspect all this cleaning/organizing talk is related to two things – the beginning of the school year, and a sudden realization that summer’s over, and before we know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here with all of the demands that those seasons make. I must confess that it was the general snarkiness of recent political discourse that got me going – I started with a longing for folks to clean up their acts in that arena and ended up with the fridge as a metaphor – but it did seem to strike a chord!

    I love the science lab reference. I still remember the day I learned I could use the “I’m growing penicillin” line. It never got me very far, but as a kid I enjoyed it.

    I keep trying to play Rick with my mom. She puddles and putzes and says, “I’ve got to get this place cleaned up.” But she knows who I am, and won’t let me near it. I’d never wish another hospital stay for her, but I must say… the few times her place has gotten that good cleaning were while she was lying defenseless in a hospital bed. And when she came home, she said, “This is wonderful! Why didn’t you do this sooner?!?” I just shake my head.

    As for my friend – well, some of us are just born organized, and some of us have to learn to cope. One of my favorite scenes in Julie and Julia was when Julia and Paul had moved into their Cambridge home, and Paul was shown drawing the outline of each pan onto the pegboard so Julia would be sure and get it back in the right place. We do what we have to do!

    Linda

  12. This is a fantastic post, and a great one to read on the “eve” of my own big cleaning binge! I definitely need to remove some detritus in order to make room for the future!

    Courtney,

    Glad you enjoyed it – have fun with your own project! Making room for the future is a great way to look at it. So often all those piles of stuff (or piles of worry and guilt!) are just leftovers that could stand a good toss.

    I’m going to try and take some of my own good advice this weekend.

    Linda

  13. this was so good…i love how you compared the refrigerator chaos to general life chaos. and i felt like you were exactly describing MY refrigerator. i swear sometimes there are new life forms incubating in there and i will open it one day and they will rush out and attack me.

    we definitely need a general clean-up around here and since we’re thinking of moving, i always think a move is a good occasion for that. i hope that this time, we don’t just throw it all in boxes and rush it onto the truck, but that we take the time really sort and cull, because that stuff really drags your life down.

    thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment so that i discovered yours.

    :-)
    /julie

    julie,

    Moving and hurricane season share that one benefit – they’re great opportunities to evaluate, cull and clean out. I’ve never minded moving – I like the feeling of starting fresh in a new place. I suppose the trick is to capture that feeling in an old place!

    Glad you enjoyed the read. I certainly enjoyed those shipyard photos. There’s nothing like ships and boats to make my heart to pitty-pat!

    Linda

  14. Lovely post…I feel so grateful that both my life and my refrigerator seem to be under control at the moment.

    damyantig ~

    You do understand that you’re the envy of half the world now? My own fridge is happy as can be – but life? A little disjointed, disorganized and in need of de-cluttering!

    I just read your entry on craftsmanship in writing and am smiling away. That wonderful quotation about craftsmanship and the unconscious points directly to a truth we all hate to admit – sometimes writing needs to be de-cluttered, too!

    Many thanks for the visit, and the kind words.

    Linda

  15. Linda, You continue to give me gifts. Thank you for this post. As I anticipate even more change in life (my house has probably sold), I remember this wisdom and pare down. I will also remember it when I, again, have to clean out the veggie bin because everything is swimming in brown liquid. Gross but true, huh?

    Andi,

    Good luck on closing the sale ~ that’s exciting news. I think paring down prior to a move can be the most difficult – there’s a tendency to want to hang on to the past to one degree or another, and “things” help us to do that. If I’d been blogging during my mom’s house sale and move some years ago – let’s just say it could have been humorous ;-)

    As for that fridge itself… we’ve all gone through it. When I was trying to transition to more-fruits-and-veggies from every-carbohydrate-in-sight, it was particularly bad. Over-the-hill comes pretty quickly for lettuce.

    So nice to see you – hope all goes smoothly!

    Linda

  16. Ah, the American fridge! Always fascinates me, watching US sitcoms and movies, how often the fridge features – the hero glows in the dim light as he grabs a beer, the chick-flick heroine delving in the freezer for ice cream. Somehow, the packed fridge has become a symbol for the abundant American life.

    The fridge cleaning trend spotted by another reader might just be a reflection of changing times. Or it could just be easy access to choc-chip cookies!

    Jeannine,

    You know, I meant to ask Ian about those chocolate chips stuffed into his bag for his return to Germany. Is it possible that chocolate chips aren’t a staple in every part of the world? As for ice-cream delving – no chick-flick heroine here. I’ve never had to delve for ice cream in my life. It’s always right there, ready to fall into my bowl as soon as I open the door.

    An economic analysis could be interesting. I know that my mom, child of the Depression that she is, still gets a good bit of security from looking into a full fridge. And many of my friends are being much more careful about what they buy and keep, because of economic conditions. Waste isn’t so easily tolerated when constant replacement puts a strain on the budget.

    I can just see it – a totem pole made up of assorted American home appliances!

    Linda

  17. What good timing as I go through my stuff (and most of it really is just stuff) to sell or throw away things I don’t use. I’ve discovered I’m more of a pack rat than I thought and I’m not sure why or what it is exactly that I’m hanging on to.

    And you would recognize my fridge, which I’m cleaning right now. I’ve discovered if a bit of Egg Beaters spills onto a glass shelf and is allowed to dry, it turns to yellow powder. There’s a cheerful thought, huh?

    ella,

    Well! So we can count you as part of our refrigerator-as-science-lab crew, huh? And did you know that an apple left to languish for – well, an indeterminate time – will shrivel up to half its size? I wonder if anyone makes dolls with dried-apple heads these days?

    As I mentioned above, I love moving not for its work, but for the clean-sweep it allows. I’ve got a little clean-sweeping scheduled for this weekend. Holidays are supposed to be fun, and I can’t think of anything more enjoyable just now ;-)

    Good luck with your multiple projects!

    Linda

  18. I don’t know if I can find the words to tell you how much reading your post has helped me. I have been carrying around a lot of anger and uncertainty from recent events and changes in our life and also from an incident at a family wedding last summer. As I was reading I realized I don’t have to keep it. I can let it all go and be much happier. So I have and I feel great. I can now focus on the things I need and want to do instead of being lost and overwhelmed.

    Now all I need is a t-shirt with ‘have you cleaned your metaphorical fridge lately’ on it. ;)

    Thank you so much Linda.

    Kit,

    I’ve had to do that internal cleaning-out a few times myself. Sometimes I have to make two or three runs at it, but when it works, doesn’t it feel good? I know a couple of folks who still spend time brooding about imagined slights or wrong decisions from, say, 1952! That’s a long time ago, and a lot of energy used up that could have been devoted to other things.

    We’ll see what we can do about that t-shirt ;-)

    Linda

  19. I need to clean and purge. Refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, closets, the storage room, my mind….

    Hi, Cheryl,

    Isn’t it just the truth? Half-finished projects, moldy ideas, dried up intentions – and then all those piles of just “stuff”.

    I fear the day is very near when I’ll be helping my mom do her own cleaning and purging in preparation for a move to a different way of life. I suspect there will be plenty of material for a follow-up piece, although it may or may not get posted ;-)

    Linda


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