Every January I get a little bit manic, making lists, resolving to do things. Nothing big like lose weight, just lots and lots of little things, life stuff.
I'm one of those people who is never caught up, never guilt free. It's always past time to go to the dentist, the dog is always overdue for his shots, the coupons I clipped to use expired last week, the car is always dinging for me to change the oil, and so on. I always feel like I'm under the pile, never on top of it. I sometimes feel inadequate, and other times defensive. I don't know that any of the other members of my family would do any better organizing four lives, five if you count the dog. Sometimes I tell myself that I could be doing a lot worse. I get most things done, eventually.
Every New Year I think I'm going to get that To-Do list under control, get caught up. Sadly, nothing is easy in my world. I came out of the gate quickly, but I'm falling behind fast. There's just too much stuff to do, and too much stuff period. My son told me that his first semester at college taught him that the best place for most stuff is in the garbage can. That really made me laugh. He's probably right.
I started with the refrigerator. It's amazing what can get lost in a normal refrigerator, how a couple of yogurts can hide for almost a year in the back, just wasting space. It's also amazing how nobody likes to eat leftovers. I have to learn to cook exactly the right amount or throw the leftovers away.
I got all the old eyeglasses that were laying around the house - 4 people's worth - finally in the drop box at Costco. Funny thing is my eyes are changing so fast I need new glasses again already. The cycle never ends. I also dealt with those annoying but important rebates for my son's contacts, just under the wire for the deadline.
I got the batteries changed in the carbon monoxide detector that had been on the top of the dryer for two months, because I could never find the batteries, because as soon as I buy them they are gone. Kids love those double A's. Then I bagged up the pounds of old batteries to recycle that were all over the shelves in my laundry room, wondering why there isn't a better way to power things.
I finally, for the third or fourth time, refound my warranty for the washing machine so I could call for repair on a leaky gasket I've had for months, maybe a year. Miraculously, I accomplished this before the warranty expired. This required that I empty the laundry room out for the repair guy. It turns out I'm a hoarder in training. I have issues with bottles, containers and especially bags. I found so many bags - shopping bags, plastic bags, lunch bags, dog poop bags, giant delivery bags, every freaking kind of bag I've ever had, it was crazy. What exactly it is I'm planning on bagging in the future is a mystery. It took a while to sort through all those bags and get them organized into one spot. A normal person might have thrown it all out, but I am not normal. Apparently, I have issues with compartmentalization. I like to put things in things. And if anyone ever needs a bag, I'm ready.
The cleaning out of the laundry room resulted in piles of stuff in the den: dog stuff, kid stuff, shoes, clothes, towels. I haven't finished sorting all that yet. In addition to my bag fetish, I have a thing for towels. I have towels stashed everywhere. Just in case. Usually the case is a wet or muddy dog, but this Winter's weather has been kind and dozens of towels were not required daily. I'll be rethinking my towel collection once the nice repairman comes back with the new gasket and I have to put all that stuff somewhere. I've already got two bags full for Goodwill, and I have plenty more bags to fill once I figure out what can go.
Being forced to empty my tiny, cluttered utility/mud/laundry room, really made me look at the stuff that needs to be dealt with. So much of the clutter and mess is just stuff I didn't know how to or didn't want to deal with. Decisions deferred. For years. Since yesterday, the only thing in my laundry room is the washer and dryer. I'm infatuated with that empty room, and I won't let anyone go in there, let alone put something in there. I keep wandering in though, enjoying the empty while it lasts.
So that's how yesterday went. Today, at almost noon, I decided it was time for breakfast. I opened the pantry and really looked at it. Really, really looked. It was awful. I started pulling crap out and two hours later the entire kitchen was a wreck. But I took stock, took inventory, organized, and of course, found a lot more bags. It was hilarious. What was not hilarious was how disorganized I have gotten, how many things I've bought twice, how much food was too old or expired to eat. I felt like a worthless, wasteful American. For shame.
I soothed my guilt by cooking lentils in the crock pot, making a pot of wild rice mix and baking a loaf of healthy bread. It was a weird but nutritious dinner that included some leftovers. I'll be baking a lot in the next few weeks, trying to beat the expiration date on a bag of flour I hid from myself.
I may always be behind on things, always playing catch up, but I swear, this year is the year I will always remember to take my shopping bags with me when I go to the store, and I will only go to the store when I have really checked to see what I need, and I will not save another bag, even if it has a pretty design, and I will not waste food. I promise myself. This much I can do.
I'll try to get all that other stuff done in a timely manner too, the appointments, the oil changes. But I'm serious with myself this year about the food. And especially the bags. This is the year.