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gertrude

October 2017

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woman's magazine

What a waste!



Today, I had a long list of things to organise, each of which required a telephone call and then making an appointment of some kind. My heart sank and I realised I would actually prefer to clear out kitchen cupboards as part of my ongoing decluttering, tidying and cleaning mania. It turned out to be not so much tidying as throwing out. All those dead spices (‘use by 20.11.08’)! The baking ingredients part used and now useless (yellowing desiccated coconut, glacé cherries hopelessly glued together)! When recycling day comes around, I shall have trouble carrying out the bottle box. I now have spaces where before there was danger of a landslip of tins and packets every time I opened the cupboard door, but some restocking will be necessary. How lucky for Waitrose.

I was reminded of the famous comment by Mr Colman* (of mustard fame) that he made his fortune out of ‘what people leave on the side of the plate’. Perhaps the fortunes of Schwartz, Whitworth’s and other retailers of cooking ingredients are based on the good intentions of people who actually intend to cook with the things they pluck off the supermarket shelf because ‘you always need them’. Do you think Nigella actually uses every single item in those amazing store cupboards of hers, containing every ingredient necessary to make every possible dish? Perhaps I’m just a bad housekeeper.

*I found three tins of Colman’s mustard powder, all out of date. Moral: if you kept your cupboards tidier, you wouldn’t buy something you already had. Help, I haven't even started on the fridge.

Comments

Can't help thinking of this from the wonderful Victoria Wood: https://youtu.be/lPgogYcdd-g?t=4m55s
How we miss her.

(Anonymous)

Haha! I recently cleared out my spices -some of them outdated by three years! I went out and bought only the ones I knew I would use, and I began storing them right on the kitchen counter instead of on a shelf. They look beautiful and I'll be more inclined to use them if I see them every day.
Glad it's not just me!

Your plan is excellent. My problem is having very little worktop (counter) space.
I find that I've had items in the store cupboard for much longer than I think I have and then I'm surprised that some of them are 3 years out of date :)

I never seem to finish up anything so much of it goes to waste.
It's one of the problems of living alone, isn't it? Not much point buying things that won't freeze, frex.

(Anonymous)

Clearing the clutter

I did exactly the same yesterday - cleaned out the larder and chucked out things which had a 2014 use-by date. Things a bit closer I considered were still OK if the packet or tin had not been opened. But how come I had three, yes three, tins of baking powder when I seldom use baking powder?
Margaret P

Re: Clearing the clutter

Ha ha! We're obviously not good shoppers.
I use most of the things in my cupboard, though I have learned the hard way that it really does make more sense to buy little bags of nuts because though they cost more, they go off quickly when opened so it isn't worth buying the big ones.

That said, The jar of preserved ginger should probably be starting school this year...
I just wish more things were available in small quantities. As you say, more expense but less waste.

Hah! I've got one of those, too. I absolutely love it but i'm always 'saving it for Christmas' and then forgetting it.

(Anonymous)

Oh dear, this made me laugh. My cupboards need this. Last time I cleaned out the food cabinet I found something from another decade.
Glad it struck a chord with people!

It's a job that makes you feel better afterwards, so worth it.