I had no idea bringing up the notion of Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up was going to be such a firestorm a couple of weeks ago. How could I know? Who knew tidying would be such a hot button topic?
There are those of you who love Marie Kondo and her Zen militia type attitude towards getting your house in order and there are those of you who are quite annoyed by her. I’m still only halfway through the book so I haven’t formed a complete opinion on her or her methods, but I do think she’s got some stuff right. Like doing it all at once. Getting rid of all your STUFF in one fell swoop instead of little bits over the entire year.
Why? Because if you’re anything like me (and you probably are because we’re basically all the same person in different skin colours and hairstyles) then if you clear out one area of your house and make it tidy, what ends up happening is the overflow of other areas you haven’t tidied begin to infiltrate the tidy area. Because it’s so TIDY! So neat and organized and there’s so much space! So you just keep shifting stuff from room to room.
No room in the basement for the bread maker anymore? That’s O.K. you just tidied the bedroom. The bread maker will fit perfectly under your bed. As will your tax returns and car jack now that you think about it.
So that part of Kondo I like. Doing everything at once. Even though I also think that part is kind of insane. So I’m leaning towards both loving and shunning Kondo. Because I have a relatively tidy house so it’s not a HUGE job to go through everything but MAN, it would still take a month of full time going through stuff to do go through every article of clothing, shoes, knick knacks, kitchen gadgets and books. Who has an extra month laying around? Actually six months. Ms. Kondo says if you work really hard and FAST you might be able to make your way through her program and tidy your entire house in 6 months. If you’re fast.
And yet, this is exactly what the people who took my Summer of Doing Stuff Challenge this summer did. They devoted not just one but THREE entire months to doing stuff. They finished huge projects in June, relaxed a bit and redid their backyards in July and this month … they’re tidying.
Which is turning out to be pretty hilarious.
Why? The kitchen cupboards.
The very first day of the course one of the members tackled cleaning out her pantry because that’s the homework I assigned for the day. Clean out your pantry and get rid of the weird stuff you thought you’d love to cook with but never did. Like the bottle of sauce you picked up at the Chinese market that’s so authentic the label is in Chinese which you can’t read. And therefore have NO idea what it actually is. And being a Chinese ingredient you’re too afraid to taste a bit on your finger because what if it’s saucy, pulverized fish guts?
At the end of her pantry cleaning this particular member posted a photo of a box of Jello.
A box of Jello pudding that expired 6 years ago.
And then another reader posted a box of Curry Mix that expired 8 YEARS AGO. Ditto for a jar of fig chutney.
Imitation Coconut Extract that expired in 2008. Apparently 2008 was a good year for expired food.
That one went over well with the group but THEN there was this from Kate …
“Careful now, ladies- you’ve entered into my Thunderdome… I bring you unopened vanilla frosting, best by date: Apr. 6, 2006.”
Then there was the blackberry jam Sharron had been saving “for the right occasion” since 1992.
Over and over these photos and comments kept coming in of the hilariously expired foods. I checked my own cupboards but I didn’t have anything funnier than 2015. I think that’s based on the fact that I redid my kitchen a few years ago and it certainly isn’t a reflection of the comedic abilities of my food.
So now I’d like to propose a challenge to all of you. The keeper of the most expired food wins.
Go now to your pantries, to your cupboards and shelves, and find the can that screams Hey, what the HELL?
Then come right back here and tell us what it is and when it expired. And guess what?
You can attach photos to your comments! So take a picture of that 2001 bottle of no name ketchup and add it to your comment!
I. Cannot. Wait.
Have a good weekend! (and I pray my mother takes part in this)