Working Wednesday: The Big Sort

I’m going through  my kitchen and figuring out what to keep and what must go and what I need to get.  Yeah, there are some things I need.  Mollie’s doing the same thing, so we’re swapping ideas which is always tricky for us because we are complete opposites.  But there are some things we agree on, like tossing worn out cookie sheets (those things get used for everything) in favor of new, insulated ones, and–this one was surprising–heavy duty #20 cookie scoops.  And of course some things we probably wouldn’t agree on, like the cherry measuring spoons I needed because my measuring spoons have had it and because they”ll look so great hanging on the edge of my shelves.

Everything else, however, must go unless it is useful, beautiful, in good shape, and essential to my wellbeing.  Or on a really high shelf where it’s not going to get in my way.  There are some things like my NYC taxi and Betty Boop cookie jars that stay.  (My three-foot tall Betty Boop statue, however, is in the garage.)

So how did your work week go?  I got my lavender planted, so that was something.

33 thoughts on “Working Wednesday: The Big Sort

  1. JenniferNennifer says:

    I’ve been helping my sister sort things out at her house, which makes me want to come home and get rid of stuff. Of course, DH and I do not always agree about what should go, but it is still inspiring.

  2. Susanne says:

    Today I took everything out of the guest bedroom and really vacuumed and dusted well (including the windows and frames). Did a quick sort of clothes from the closet and filled two donation bags.

    Now to put the straggly stuff away. Energy is petering out…gotta act fast.

  3. This is a holiday week, although today was rather a wash-out. Hope it’s worked as a rest day to set me up for the drive to Yorkshire tomorrow for a long weekend with my two closest friends from university. Fingers crossed we don’t get onto Brexit: one of them is the only friend I have who voted for it, and the other’s planning to take part in a big anti-Brexit demo in a fortnight.

  4. Thea says:

    Jenny, what happens to your lavender during, you know, winter snow? I’ve been curious with every mention because seems late in the season for planting lavender.

      • It won’t freeze here for a couple of months (probably). It gets cold in December. I read somewhere that it’s too early to plant bulbs in my zone. Our winters get nasty in January-March.

        The lavender is just going to have to do the best it can. I’m a TERRIBLE gardener, but I made sure it’s got a deep bed and I mixed sand into the soil when I planted it. I watered it today because we’re not getting rain for a week or so, but it’s doing okay and it has time to settle in. I read somewhere I’m not supposed to mulch it, but I put pebbles in.

        • It’ll like a pebble mulch: will look like home. And sand sounds good. I know many plants can take really cold winters, as long as the drainage is good – we’re much more likely to lose things like echinacea in Britain because of our mild but wet winters.

        • Jessie says:

          Bulbs can go into the ground early. If you are like me and just leave them in the ground year-round, they are in the ground in full summer and it doesn’t seem to hurt them. Some years they don’t bloom as lushly as they could.

          If it cools off at night, it should keep the ground cool. And if you already have the bulbs and they are living in your garage or basement, they are at room temperature which is warmer than the ground temperature anyway.

    • LILinda says:

      There is a saying among landscapers in this north east area- Fall is for Planting. There is still enough time for plants to settle in, the cooling days help them adjust, less moisture evaporation. A bit of mulch, and they settle in for the winter. In spring, you have to really keep up with watering, and they get more stressed as it gets hotter. Fall plants have adjusted and get growing in the spring.

        • That’s me, so I still with easy stuff: You can’t kill marigolds with a stick. My plan is to get all my beds ready this fall, put garbage bags over them for mulch/protection for the winter, top them up with Rapid-Gro soil, and then plant. Next spring should be SO much easier, especially since I discovered raised beds.

          • Jessie says:

            Black plastic is actually a good idea. Once when I could not seem to get rid of weeds in one area, in October I covered the area in black plastic and weighed it down. Between not getting water for 5 or 6 months and the few sunny spells during the winter, it sterilized the soil except for a few pieces of crab grass which actually came out pretty easily. And my soil was ready to plant. The one area around a shrub that was not fully covered with plastic was a mess but the stuff that was covered was good to go.

  5. Jessie says:

    When we first started our remodel 3 years ago, I packed away non-essential items from my kitchen: e. g. @ 40 copper molds, the copper roasting pan than only gets used when I cook rib roast for 20 (it happened once 15 years ago), 3 different sizes and configuration of pate’ pans, my extra set of Denby to feed 20 people, my good china,weirdly configured spoons and spatulas for stirring, french whisks, roue’ whisks, etc. I actually did give away my angel food cake pan because I always buy it.

    Then last year when we actually got to the kitchen I pared it down to what I would actually be able to use on my hot plate, my griddle and my barbecue. Now I am ready to start loading my new kitchen and I find myself saying, do I really need all this stuff that is in boxes? What are the chances any of it is going to be used again?

    So I am starting to wade through kitchen detritus too. Still I used to use one of the pate’ pans to make a spectacular scallop and salmon mousseline with a tomato/wine reduction sauce that was fiddly but heaven to eat so I should think about keeping that one.

    • I think that’s the key: what is it that you use. I have more Pyrex than any woman needs but I use it constantly. I have two different cupcake makers and I use them all the time even though I could make cupcakes in the oven. On the other hand, I have cupcake pans I haven’t used in months. I have an electric tea kettle that I love. I have stove-top tea kettle that I also love because it’s so pretty, but I never use it. I just have to get out of the “of course you need cupcake pans and a tea kettle” mindset.

      • julianna says:

        Cupcake makers intrigue me. So far I have resisted buying one, but they must be pretty great if you’ve found space in your kitchen for two of them. Why do you have two different ones — what’s the difference between them? And why are they superior to the oven? Isn’t cleanup harder than a cupcake pan?

        • One is for regular cupcakes and one is for mini-cupcakes. If I could only do one, it’d be the regular.

          They’re superior to the oven because they don’t heat up the kitchen and because you don’t use a pan. The baking unit is some kind of non-stick stuff, so you dump the batter in (large cookie scoop), flip the top down, wait ten minutes, flip it up, and take perfectly formed cupcakes out. Or muffins. I am thinking about attempting mini-quiches.

          Drawbacks are that you can’t make too many at a time, and I think they probably draw a lot of power.

          Because of the non-stick, clean-up is exceptionally easy. I used spray oil the first time, but now I just put the batter in. Or you can use paper cupcake liners.

      • Jill says:

        I just bought a cupcake pan and a recipe book for making meals in cupcake pans. Not for me-for a bridal shower. But I might take a second look at the recipe book.

    • Susanne says:

      I feel for you Jessie. I don’t have as much kitchen stuff as you listed, but it’s hard to pass those things along. There’s something about kitchen and dining things that make my heart beat faster. When I saw Jenny’s cherry measuring spoons, my heart lurched.

      I have a sentimental attachment to linens from my grandmothers. I’ll never use them, but I can’t quite pass them along yet. And it’s kinda sad because someone should take them and love them (I hope), but that someone isn’t in my family. No one has room for those treasures. I did lovingly put them back in the closet, but there will come a time when I have to deal with them. Sigh.

      • Jessie says:

        Oh wow. My husband would be so envious of your grandmother’s linens. About 30 years ago we would go to estate sales and buy linen table cloths and napkins for peanuts. Then the prices went up and we stopped buying them (Old linen in good condition is very expensive where I live). And if we have company for dinner, he gets these huge old napkins out for us to use. I wash them, consisting to treating stains then tossing them in the washer and dryer, and he irons them, consisting of damping them down, chilling them, then ironing with a super hot iron. If I had to iron them, we would be using paper.

        It’s like the old joke. Hell to a Baptist is hell-fire and brimstone. Hell to a Methodist is eternal damnation. Hell to an Episcopalian is eating dinner with paper napkins.

        • Susanne says:

          Hah to the old joke, Jessie.

          My sister used to always buy a piece of fabric (often linen) whenever she travelled. She also used to (and probably still does) take a piece of linen to put on the hotel pillow.

          Love the image of someone ironing those napkins.

      • Jill says:

        I have some of my aunt’s linens-we shared the same last name initial P. My sister made pillows for us from some of the linens.

        I have more china than any 12 people could use. Mine that my parents bought from the Philippines(complete with ashtrays , cups and saucers, candlesticks, serving pieces, napkin rings, etc. My mother’s (a couple of things I replaced on replacements.com), paternal grandmother, maternal aunt’s, mother in laws, paternal aunt’s set my parents brought back from the Philippines . That is just the good stuff. Thing is the younger generation does not seem to cherish the heirlooms like we do.

        • Jessie says:

          When my mother-in-law died none of her grandchildren were willing to take any of the china unless it could be put in the microwave and the dishwasher. There was a set of great-great-grandmother’s luncheon plates that we finally found a home for with a second cousin – admittedly I spent most of my married life thinking “I don’t want those suckers. Ugly Victorian in mustard yellow”. Apparently I was not the only one. Yet my MIL cherished it.

          However, I did take the milkmaid pitcher that MIL would tell me that was a gift to her older sister from a neighbor who bought it at the St. Louis World Fair. MIL was only allowed to hold it if she was very careful. And she remembered her sister whenever she looked at it. To my knowledge it has never been used.

        • I have a ton of Susie Cooper demitasse (thank you, Fast Women) that I am considering turning into candles because I will never use demitasse. They’d be so pretty as candles. And I have a LOT of them.

    • RanchGirl says:

      We are being forced to have our kitchen redone – Tropical Storm Harvey flooded our house. Not anywhere near what many, many people here got. We had about 2 inches which of course ruined carpets and hard wood floors and damaged about two feet of sheetrock. It also flooded under our very old (house was built in the mid 60’s) kitchen cabinets. We are going to gut the kitchen and have a new one – sounds like fun, right? Well I am one of those that likes to have the right tool for the job and have a ton of gadgets, special pans, etc. So I am also going to be purging like crazy. Time to get simple!

      • Jessie says:

        One of the things to do right now is as you are cooking have a special place to put things you use on a weekly or daily basis. Then by the time the plans are drawn up and the bids are in, you will know what you absolutely need to have. And since your whole area was flooded everybody will need work done so it will take time to get a contractor.

        Have you thought of IKEA cabinets? An architect friend put them in his house then splurged on a good countertop. His reasoning was that they looked good, lasted well and that kitchens are upgraded so often that it made no sense in having expensive cabinetry. Since we do not upgrade all the time (we had 70 year old much painted cabinets that looked like they had leprosy), we had fir cabinets built which is in keeping with what this house would have had 90 years ago. Also marble counters because our first house which was the age of this one had marble counters – so, in period.

        • RanchGirl says:

          That’s a great idea. Maybe a basket on the counter to put those things i use all the time. Thought of Ikea but still needed a contractor for those. I think we are going with Lowe’s. After interviewing several contractors it was nice to sit down with a designer and a cabinet expert. I hate making design decisions. They also have a project manager to oversee jobs. With all the shady contractors coming out of the woodwork it is peace of mind to go with a known quantity.

      • Jill says:

        I am so sorry for all the victims of Harvey. You are as mush a victim as anyone else. I hate kitchen remodels. It messes up the whole house and seems to take forever. We did ours years ago so I do not remember how we survived.

  6. Kieran says:

    My daughter moved home from London last month, and my house is an entirely new place. She went through everything from top to bottom and literally stood over me for hours in my office, watching me decide what to keep or give away or trash. I gave away so many things that I think are beautiful and practical but I never use…tea trays come to mind. I’m obsessed with them. So all these friends and family love their new-old tea trays, and I felt happy sharing them. I feel lighter now somehow, and I don’t even miss anything.

    My last place to clean is the upstairs closet, where I keep all my clothes that don’t really fit but I love and want to wear again someday. That closet is brimming over, but I will try to confront it this week. Deep inside I think I’m going to have a do-over and will have the opportunity to be a svelte 30-year-old again. Hence that closet.

    • I know what you mean. I hate giving up stuff, but I love giving stuff away and making people happy. Which is why Krissie always takes a loaded car back home after she visits.

    • Office Wench Cherry says:

      I do that too. I accidentally put my favourite pair of black dress pants in the donate pile, only to have to buy new ones when Tall Boy told me we were going to his company Christmas party. I loved those pants – elastic waist, wide legs, flowy, they were perfect.

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