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Summer Cleaning Inspiration

August 26, 2011

At the end of the summer, I do a simultaneous mad dash to both finish projects and relax. I feel myself being pulled between having achieved my summer goals and making sure I get enough rest in to be rejuvenated for the busy school year. Once faculty meetings start next week, I will be working like crazy, so there will be no projects or rest until at least December. With the move, we have really accomplished more things this summer than anything we did in our former home, which we lived in for five years. However, with the impending Labor Day deadline, I am feeling anxious about getting a few things done that will have to go on pause until the winter holiday.

Both goals, to complete projects and restore myself through rest, seem to work at odds with each other, so I try to pick projects that are not too taxing. It took awhile for me to realize that house projects don’t have to overwhelm you if you break it into manageable pieces. I don’t even want to mention the time we repainted our bedroom the night before school started or the hole in our laundry room that lasted several months, both old house procrastinations. This summer, I have found that if you break a project up, the stages are ideal for a lazy person who wants to relax. For example, we are going to paint some old furniture black. To make it manageable, I will sand one day, tape another, and paint the final day. Each step takes an hour or so, and I will accomplish something, but I can squeeze in a siesta as well.

Yesterday, influenced by a pantry clean performed my sister-in-law when we were in Maine, I cleaned and organized our pantry. This is a perfect project for anyone wanting to feel productive, but also doesn’t want to exhaust themself. After a quick trip to the Container Store for an over-the-door spice rack   and  sealed glass jars, I cleaned out and set up our small pantry. The glass containers are perfect for helping pantry goods last longer, and they don’t have any of the questionable health problems that plastics raise.The over the door rack is a quick install, and instantly adds space and organization to a closet. Visually, the spice rack allows me to see all of our spices, which helps sprout new recipe ideas, but I can close the door and not have to think about it. I also sorted through my spices, and realized that almost all of them were really old. Spices are supposed to last only 6 months, and although I think it is unrealistic to buy all new spices every six months, most of ours were much, much older. Maybe it is the hidden Yankee in me, I just hate to throw out spices that I haven’t finished using. However, 5 years is a bit of a stretch. To start fresh, I ran over to Penzey’s Spices and picked up a few basics (Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Paprika, Ginger, Taco Seasoning, and oh, Cinnamon Sugar), and re-set up our spice rack. Since it is about a mile away, I plan on taking a walk with Serafina once in awhile to slowly fill up our spice rack. This is a really affordable way to freshen up your pantry. It looks organized, improves the quality of your meals, and costs $2-$3 a pop.

The entire project took an hour, but I felt a sense of accomplishment for tackling it. So much so, that I had to follow it with a serious nap. So, as the summer wanes to an end, I encourage you to pick a small project. Something you have been thinking is an exhaustive effort, break it into sizeable parts, and enjoy your result. Oh, and take a generous nap afterwards.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    August 26, 2011 4:11 pm

    I am so jealous of all your pantry space–it’s beautiful!!!;)

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