Staying indoors for the long haul

Life, even in a pandemic, goes on


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By Arlene Jones


After spending two weeks of doing nothing but sleeping, eating, and watching Netflix, I finally got some energy this past Saturday. There are tons of projects to be done when you own a home. There are even more housekeeping projects to be accomplished no matter where you live. After finally garnering the energy (aka chastising myself for being so darn lazy), I chose to take on the one that made the most sense for me. Reorganizing my messy spice cabinet.

Admittedly, I'm a foodie. Back in the day before the coronavirus made us all housebound, whenever I would go into stores like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls, I would immediately head for their housewares section and browse the food items. My weakness has always been different kinds of spice mixes, flavors of jellies, and unusual blends of teas. Bland food will never cross my plate or palate intentionally.

I also love the idea of shelf organizers. I try to buy a couple of them every year. In my household budget, they are an expensive "want" versus an absolute "need." My favorite is the 3-step shelf organizer. Over the years I have gone from plastic to metal to the ones made out of bamboo. Each upgrade has replaced the prior version, yet I didn't get rid of the old ones. This time that decision to keep the old versions helped out. But otherwise it has led to household clutter that I must constantly battle.

Bringing home so many different spices usually means I just throw them up on the shelf with the intention of trying them out at some point. The problem comes when I don't know what I have and end up buying duplicates. I know that's true because I found two different unopened containers of Turmeric, and Herbs de Provence, both unusual spices that I don't use often, so why would I have two? Plus most spices need to be replaced every couple of years. The longer they sit on your shelf, the less flavor they actually offer.

The last time I organized my cabinets was probably four years ago. At that time I found food and spices that had expiration dates of 2010. Worse was that for many of the things I threw away, I could remember buying them. This time I've done a lot better job of keeping track of those expiration dates. There were only a few old things in there with expiration dates of 2015.

It only took me a couple of hours to get everything cleaned out and re-shelved. It was also a good opportunity to take my mind off the reason I am housebound. It is important to be able to do some things to try to bring a sense of normalcy to our mental health during this very trying time. When I posted the pictures to Facebook, some of my friends took pictures of their spice cabinets. It was good to see spices that I have not tried and I look forward to trying them once this quarantine period is over.

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