Make a list of your favorite recipes for using up leftovers and add it to your recipe box so you can refer to it when you’re staring at a refrigerator full of food and wondering why there’s nothing to eat.
Do you have a simple recipe to share in the comments below?
Not forever, or even for the entire day if you can’t imagine a day without caffeine. But, try for one less caffeinated item than you’d normally consume (including chocolate).
A few years ago, I’d find myself dragging in the morning and so I’d have a second cup of coffee. When that became my new normal, well, that third cup didn’t seem so unusual. And, when I needed a pick me up, black coffee seemed a better option that eating something sugary.
One day, I realized that I was drinking eight cups of coffee a day (something easy to ignore because I could fit two cups into my large mug). I was tired and wired. I slowly weaned myself off all that caffeine so that I was drinking one, maybe two cups a day. This process made me very aware of my caffeine intake.
To make these simple items seem more giftable, companies package these consumable items in collectible tins that last long after the edible item is gone. These seem so useful and so we hold onto them. However, do you use the tins? Sometimes, we do, but once we put something inside one of these opaque containers, we can, too easily, forget about the item.
Although, I do have to say that I’ve seen these tins turned into organizing tools – usually involving multiple, similar tins and clear labels – if you aren’t going to do this, see if your city or town takes the tins with recycling.
Sort through your pantry for packages with the remnants you didn’t use when preparing a meal. (I had a bag with maybe a cup of split peas leftover from when I made split pea and ham soup – a meal that wasn’t a big hit, so the chance of me using those dried peas was nonexistent.)
Make plans to use these ingredients, if you can.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Check your refrigerator for any condiments that have overstayed their welcome.
November 30th's book giveaway is Niki Brantmark's Lagom (not to little, not too much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life. To enter, tell me in the comments below. I'll pull the winner's name 12/01/18.
(Today's book giveaway listed below.)
If you enjoy cooking, chances are you have a stack of recipes you’ve torn from magazines or printed from online. Even though earlier in A Year of Decluttering you worked through printed recipes, chances are that between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays you’ve acquired a new stack of “Hmm, I’d like to try this.” I know I have.
Flip through these recipes, weeding out the ones you know you won’t make and leave the other recipes someplace where you’ll see them and make plans to add something new to your repertoire.
Did you buy the ingredients for any of these recipes? Plan when you’ll make the dish; or, if the thought of preparing the dis is no longer appealing, donate the ingredients to your local food bank.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate five pieces of paper from your files.
Want to win a book? Today I'm giving away Miss Minimalist Francine Jay's book, The Joy of Less. In the comments below, tell me that you're interested. I'll pull the winner's name on 11/28.
I’m not suggesting that you give up dairy forever, or even for 30 days; but, just for today. You probably won’t feel any health benefits in a day, but it will make you aware of the foods you eat. I know that when I don’t plan a meal or have leftovers in the fridge, I resort to bread and cheese (grilled cheese sandwich, quesadilla).
(I once had a homeschool student in a weekly nature program that I taught who would complain of stomach pains in the afternoon and ask that I call her mother to pick her up. Both her mother and I thought that she was having issues socializing with the group, but that didn’t seem to be the problem.
On the third or fourth week, I noticed that she had a big hunk of cheese at lunch and realized that’s what she tended to have as a major component of her lunch. Again, stomach pains. This time, I commented to the mother about the cheese, which made the mom more aware of how her daughter was when she was at home and had consumed cheese. Cheese left the role of main dish and became a condiment. No more stomach aches.)
If you drink a variety of teas or flavored coffees, no problem, you use what you have. However, if you keep some items on hand for company, do the items get regular use? If you never drink black tea but feel obligated to keep a box on hand in case someone asks, does the tea really stay flavorful?
Are you investing money and space on items that you don’t use and that you offer to guests once or twice a year? Could you just offer what you have and explain that no one in your house drinks coffee (or herbal teas)? Talk up how delicious you find what you drink.
Are you being inhospitable if you don’t offer your guests the three-year-old jar of instant coffee tucked in the back of your pantry – or a dusty box of tea bags?
Just for the day, see if you can avoid any food (but whole, fresh fruit) that contains sugar. This will be a tough one for me; I love having something sweet every day – even if it’s dried fruit.
As you are closing in on the end of The Year of Decluttering, consider that physical objects aren’t the only thing that you can clear from your life.
Just for today, try to avoid eating bread (you can skip the pasta, rice, and cereal, if you choose). If you rely on toast at breakfast or a sandwich for lunch, does this challenge you to consider different options at mealtimes.
Do you have a picnic basket? Do you use it? Yes? Good for you! If you have a picnic basket that hasn’t been used for a couple of years (or, ever), it’s probably time to acknowledge that picnics aren’t a part of your lifestyle.
If you feel bad for not using it, plan a picnic for some time in the next two weeks – it can even be a picnic in the yard! If the thought doesn’t excite you, put the picnic basket in your to-be-donated pile.
If this doesn’t apply to you: Donate any basket in your home that isn’t serving a function or that you don’t care about.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.