Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cleaning House

Laura and I spent Sunday cleaning the basement. It started with grocery shopping. A few years ago, ketchup was our stockpile item. Every time we'd go to the grocery store, we wouldn't remember if we had any ketchup at home, so we'd buy a bottle just in case. Of course, we already had seven or eight bottles at home, because we could never remember if we already had any. Our ketchup hoard has since diminished, replaced by a stockpile of canned black beans. We couldn't remember if we already had any, so we bought more. It turns out, we don't actually have room on the pantry shelves in the basement to store all of the black beans we now own, so we had to reorganize the pantry. First, I organized the spare light bulb collection into a milk crate and stored them elsewhere in the basement to make room for the beans. Then the cleaning frenzy spread. We dug through the boxes of books we've had stored, and we're actually getting rid of the books we aren't ever going to read or look at again. We dug through old paperwork and burned all of our old tax paperwork we've been saving (we're assuming we have to save it for seven years, so we felt comfortable getting rid of Laura's 1991 tax documentation). Laura's going through her twenty-year collection of Gourmet magazines and clipping her favorite recipes. I think she realized that it's nice to have the recipes she likes, but having them somewhere in the middle of 250 issues of a magazine is less useful. Next I'll go through my old collection of Men's Health magazine. Not much to clip in them; I might even toss them all in bulk, without flipping through them first.

My biggest irritation in the basement has been the huge pile of empty boxes. They come in handy around Christmastime, but I don't think we need quite so many of them; I estimate we've got over a hundred boxes and gift bags of different sizes taking up space in the basement. And we're finally throwing a bunch of them out. It's nice to have a few around for impromptu gifts and storage, but we've definitely got some packaging overkill downstairs. And now they're mostly gone, yay!

We also found some fun stuff. In the pile of Laura's tax paperwork we found her old day planner pages. And I found the page with our first date penciled in. Awww! And we found a pile of old journals, cards, notes, and letters. It's fun digging through all that; it's an interesting snapshot of our lives at a moment in the past.

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