Sunday, October 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home in the Slow Lane

As a rare October snowstorm raged outside this weekend, I was busy with my dusting cloth and steam cleaner inside.

Not long ago, I came home with a load of groceries and couldn't seem to make room to put them away. The table was covered with papers and the pantry was a hodgepodge jumble of miscellaneous stuff. Standing there with a roll of paper towel in each hand and no where to go with it, I realized the jumble wasn't just confined to the pantry.

There was a "like new" hamster cage and half a bag of kibble under the microwave in my kitchen. Next to it was a card board box full of painting rollers and old brushes.

A herd of vacuum cleaners with various dysfunctions had taken over a corner of my living room.

Three coffee pots of various ilks and numerous industrial sized stock pots were sucking up all the space in the back of the pantry.

I had enough canned goods and dry pasta stockpiled to feed our whole cul-de-sac for three months, maybe longer.

Was it any wonder I couldn't find a place to put the groceries? Then and there I decided it was time to get things under control once again.

I started with shredding this mountain of old documents:

The shredding took me two consecutive days and almost cost me my sanity, but I learned a valuable lesson about letting papers accumulate.

This weekend my project was to start pulling stuff out of the pantry and ruthlessly getting rid of whatever we didn't really need. I packed up two large boxes of non-perishables for the food pantry, gave away the hamster habitat and some of the small kitchen implements, and just plain threw out anything that was expired or missing a part.

For awhile, I admit, things looked like this:

But it was worth it because now, it looks like this:

After a weekend spent generally cleaning and tidying, the rest of the house is looking spruce, too:

Most of our furniture is a hand-me-down, a garage sale find or a freecycle score. I even found the red dresser in my kitchen by the side of the road! I realize HGTV might not be impressed (the slow lane lifestyle is generally the antithesis of all they stand for, after all). But small and unremarkable as it is, our apartment is cozy and comfortable and we like it. Best of all, now it is neat and tidy, too.

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