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A Womans View
On cleaning out the stuff
Judith Tabler clr

After writing last week’s article on “getting rid of stuff,” I inspired myself so much that I dug out a closet and now that closet is reserved for guests.
Getting rid of our discards can be a challenge!
Actually, I am not done. I am on a mission. I am going to pick on myself and you for one more week. We lose momentum if I don’t. Today is a continuation of learning to say no to too much stuff!
New list. Are you ready? Get your boxes out. And remember, once you fill them; carry them rapidly to the car. Don’t look inside.
Don’t be held hostage by all the many items you don’t need or want!
1. Expired sauces and spices. I don’t pay much attention to expiration dates, but I do notice mold. Spices age and lose their effectiveness as well.
2. Broken kitchen equipment. I will go a step further and say, get rid of things you never, never, never use. That’s three nevers. Got that?
3. Photographs. If you don’t want your kids to toss them all in the waste basket some day, then weed them out and put them in categorized, separate manila envelopes. Make a decision ahead of time what percentage is going in the trash. Give personal pictures to family who will enjoy them. Thank you Tilly!
4. Frayed towels. I remember showing off my new cabinet in the bathroom for towels, and I opened the door to give my guest a glimpse of my organized towels. “Oh my,” she remarked, “You need some new towels!” I hadn’t noticed they were worn out. She did.
5. Hand-me-downs that you are guilt-tripped into keeping. That goes for things that belonged to your deceased parents as well. Let’s see. I have cameras, a school pencil box, a memory book. Hard to do!
6. Pare down your tools, men! You can be the worst collectors of us all. Who needs 12 hammers, 6 shovels, 4 rakes, 22 different pliers, 16 cans of little bits of paint, and 4 ladders. Think of the space you gain!
7. Unused vases.
8. Unused or extra coffee cups. But, one says “San Diego” on it and only has a little chip on the lip, and the other says “Mother.” I can’t get rid of those, can I? Yes I can. We get to keep 4! Or...maybe 5?
9. Tupperware with warps and burn scars from the microwave. Into the garbage.
10. Random containers and jars. Old pickle jars, mayo jars. Pastic with no lids.
11. Plastic sacks. Most of us are good at recycling these.
12. Earrings and socks with no mates. Old, torn underwear (but what if I need them sometime?) Into file 13.
13. Recipe books. How many do you need? And what about that “some day” when you might make the recipe of your mother’s? Ain’t gonna happen! Your kids don’t even want these books. More shelf or drawer space coming!
14. Tablecloths, sheets, towels, and dresser scarves that just sit in the bottom of the drawer. They are not your first choice, ever! Many are outdated. Antiques now.
15. Unidentified frozen objects. Clean the freezer!
16. Duplicated kitchen utensils. Get a box. Throw your utensils in the box. When you need one, pull it out and use it. Now it has a place of honor in your drawer. After a month, give away everything remaining in the box. Seasonal utensils like basters and meat thermometers you will keep, of course.
17. Unread books. Those which you will never read and you have no intention of attacking. Donate them.
18. Toys. Teach your children to donate things they are no longer using. Clean out the broken toys. Find homes for the good ones. Keep the sentimental ones but cull out the non used objects.
Is this enough work for now? My writing this article inspires me. The first things I am attacking today are books I never will read. I will ask Fred of course. That will slow down the process, but Fred will be cleaning out his tools....
Both of us have an assignment. Which will you tackle first?

Judi Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and her views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. She can be reached at