I had a personal Tsunami of sorts, an overwhelming confluence of physical and emotional events that literally took up all the bandwidth in my life.
Parents passed away, houses had to be emptied, storage spaces filled with ancestral artifacts had to be sorted, finances got tight, the last child left for college, pets died and cancer reared its ugly head. Hundreds of WTF moments strung together, holding me hostage and stealing my joy.
So, what does a girl do when life gives her lemons? I made warm lemon water a daily habit, crafted beautiful lemon topiary displays, and squeezed lemon rinds for aromatherapy. I took those lemons and made them mine. In doing so, I learned how to find happiness in the organization and simplification of things within my control; by clearing my physical and mental spaces of unnecessary (and sometimes dangerous) clutter I was freeing my creative energies and tapping into life’s infinite possibilities. I was creating and curating life…on my own terms.
The funny thing is, big changes started with small actions. The activity of sorting through life’s detritus, drawer by drawer, was empowering and cathartic. Identifying and discarding what doesn’t serve, bring joy or have sentimental value, is purifying. Making decisions and thinking outside of the box is liberating and, to be honest, almost narcotic. Small creative projects fuel my soul, feed my eye and calm my chattering brain. Time expands and contracts in different ways and freeing space for new and exciting ideas is energizing.
The activity of cleaning a drawer isn’t just clearing a drawer, it is clearing clutter that takes up physical and mental space to free you for better things. The magic begins when, rather than thinking yourself out of doing something, you act on your thoughts and make something happen. The best part of reinvention and organization is that you can start right away, it’s absolutely free, and you benefit immediately.
When you look at the things in your life ask yourself:
Is it useful?
Is it beautiful?
Is it sentimental?
You will be absolutely amazed at how many things in your life are expired and, therefore, not useful.
So, given the broad implications of expiration dates, and starting with a simple example, a safe place to start would be with the condiments in your refrigerator.
Expired condiments in your refrigerator:
- The best-before date refers to the quality and taste of a product.
- The use-by date refers to the last safe date before it turns bad.
- Mayo, catsup & BBQ sauce keep for 4 months after opening, mustard for a year.
- Jams & jellies keep for one month after opening (I confess there were jellies and mustards of indeterminate age in my refrigerator ).